Sharon's Country Store

Located in the beautiful Kootenai Valley of Idaho! Just north of Bonners Ferry and only 30 minutes from Canada.

Sharon's Country Store  -

Natural , Dutch or Dark Black Cocoa Powder

 

Ah , there is nothing like a piece of chocolate cake , or chocolate cheesecake or chocolate candy or… do you get the picture?? I love chocolate!!!  And of course chocolate loves me so I’m set :)

Tho’ its  one of the ingredients  I wouldn’t sample while I’m baking, without that yummy powder called baking cocoa, desserts wouldn’t be the same!  The most common name it is called  is baking cocoa,(or natural cocoa) but when you do some online searching , there are quite a few cocoa’s out there.  There is Special Dark, Dutch , Sweet Ground, Black and on and on….Now which to choose ?

 

Cocoa Powder, what are the differences ..

I carry natural cocoa, dutch and the rich looking black cocoa powder here at the store, and get questions about the differences , so i did some research.

 

Here is a pretty simple explanation of the process that a cocoa bean goes through, direct from the King of Chocolate, the  Hershey Company.

Natural & Alkalized

Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is the end product from a pressing or extraction process that removes a significant portion of the fat or cocoa butter from the cocoa bean.  The starting cocoa bean material that is pressed is usually in the form of chocolate liquor.  This liquor contains no alcohol but is simply the roasted cocoa bean material (either whole beans or ground beans referred to as nibs) that is finely ground and refined into a paste that becomes fluid at temperatures above 40°C.  This fluid paste or chocolate liquor is then subjected to a pressing process at 6000-12,000 psi., removing most of the fat or cocoa butter from the liquor.  The resulting material is called “cocoa press cake” and typically contains from 10-12% residual cocoa butter, reduced from approximately 54% cocoa butter.  This press cake is then mechanically broken into smaller pieces and subsequently ground into a fine powder which is commonly known as “cocoa powder”.

Natural Cocoa Powder
Natural cocoa powder comes from pressing cocoa beans with no additional modifications.  The resulting natural cocoa powder is usually a light brown color.

Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Alkalized cocoa powders, sometimes referred to as Dutched, come from cocoa nibs and/or chocolate liquor that have been treated with mild alkali solutions in order to raise the pH.  This alkalizing or dutching process is a safe and approved process for cocoa that is used to modify the color, taste, and functionality of cocoa powder in food products.  Alkalization can be used to create a range of dark brown and red-brown colors that add desirable appearances to some food products that contain cocoa powders.  Alkalization can improve taste by reducing some of the sourness and bitterness associated with natural cocoa powders.  The alkalization of cocoa powder can also improve the solubility of cocoa powder in certain beverage applications.

I found this interesting: 

Color
The color of food products is a factor of critical importance to consumers and thus to food manufacturers. Color is one of the first messages the brain receives in making a sensory judgment on a consumer product. It carries a whole range of conscious and subconscious associations that affect sensory perception and thus appreciation.

Because most consumers can detect very slight differences in color in the red-brown sector of the visible spectrum, differences in the color of cocoa-flavored and chocolate products can be easily detected. Dark colors suggest a strong flavor. Light colors suggest a mellow or bland flavor. Cocoa powder is one of the primary colorants used in the food industry today.

 

Hmm, can you guess which cocoa they use for OREOS!!

 

  And I can’t forget this : 

Many people crave chocolate and avoid it because they are under the impression that it is fattening and unhealthy. Although a lot of chocolate products are unhealthy and calories dense, it is due to the addition of substances such as sugar and not to the cocoa itself. In fact, cocoa powder, which comes from the cocoa bean, is highly nutritious, and it can provide numerous health benefits.

 

Cocoa Nutritional Facts

A 2 tbsp. serving of cocoa contains just 25 calories and 1.5 g of fat. It also provides you with 3.6 g of fiber, which is 14 percent of the daily value, and 8 percent of the daily value of iron and 14 percent of the daily value of magnesium.

 So , go and enjoy some CHOCOLATE! Just go easy on the sugar :)