Cocoa powder doesn't need an introduction. It is one of the prime ingredients in chocolates, brownies, and chocolate cakes. Who doesn't love an indulging chewy chocolate dessert in the evening or after a heavy meal? But do you know that not all cocoa powders are the same? The way they are processed and the region they come from decides their nutritional content, flavor, and many more.
In this article, we will introduce you to the characteristics of various types of cocoa powders, so you don't have to look blank when a recipe calls for a specific type. This knowledge will definitely help you predict the outcome of your culinary endeavor. Let's start with the seven best cocoa powders you can buy online in India from top brands like Hershey's, Looms & Weaves, KETO CULTURE, and more. This article is reviewed by nutritionist Ruchi Wadhwa, keep reading as she explains every heading.
Ruchi Wadhwa is a certified Nutritionist with a keen interest in Ayurvedic science. She has a wholesome, holistic, and sustainable approach to nutrition.
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Ruchi Wadhwa is a certified Nutritionist with a keen interest in Ayurvedic sciences. She has a wholesome, holistic, and sustainable approach to nutrition. Check out our Food and drinks section as more articles are reviewed by expert Ruchi Wadhwa.
Keep reading to learn the difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder, how alkalization changes the flavor and nutritional content of cocoa powder, the significance of the amount of fat in cocoa powders, and many more from the sections below. This buying guide is reviewed by nutritionist Ruchi Wadhwa, so keep reading!
You can classify cocoa powders depending on the type of process it goes through. Find out the difference between natural, dutch-processed, and dark cocoa powder from the sections below.
Natural cocoa powder. a comparatively higher amount of antioxidants and flavonoids compared to the varieties. And because of its acidic nature, the cocoa powder will react with baking soda in your recipe, making your cake or cookies rise. The resulting baked goods will be drier with an airy texture.
This type is bitter, has a more intense flavor, and is best suited for recipes with cocoa powder as the main ingredient. Natural cocoa powder is also called non-alkalized cocoa powder since it doesn't go through the alkalization process. If you want more of the nutritious benefits of cocoa to be present in your baked goods or chocolate drinks, we recommend going for natural cocoa powder.
After the cocoa beans are sun-dried and ground, it is treated with an alkaline solution that neutralizes its acidity to an extent. This is how dutch-processed cocoa is made. It is less bitter and has a more "chocolatey" flavor compared to natural cocoa powder. The process also makes the cocoa powder darker or reddish-brown.
If your recipe requires cocoa powder just to enhance the taste of the dish and not to overpower other flavors, you can use dutch-processed cocoa powder. Also, since there is very little acidity left in the cocoa powder, it won't react much with baking soda, resulting in less rise and fudgier pastries and cookies.
The dutch processed cocoa involves washing cacao beans with a potassium solution to neutralize the acid, resulting in a product with an almost neutral pH and a slightly improved taste. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is perfect for recipes that don't need leavening or baking soda like brownies or cookies.
Whereas, the natural cocoa powder does not undergo the process of dutching, making it both bitter and acidic. Due to its naturally acidic nature, natural cocoa powder is used to activate the leavening effect of baking soda. Leavening is a process by which cakes and bread are made to rise. Therefore, natural cocoa powder cannot be replaced in recipes that use baking soda.
Ultra-dutched, dark, or black cocoa powder is made by treating ground cocoa beans with an alkaline solution until all the acidity is gone. This heavily dutched cocoa powder is almost black with very less nutritional value and completely non-bitter. You can use it as a coloring agent for brownies and cakes.
Sometimes you will not find black cocoa to have any cocoa or chocolate taste at all. But manufacturers have found a way to overcome this drawback of the ultra-dutching process—by manipulating the fat content of the final product. Find out the significance of fat content in the cocoa powder from the next section.
Black cocoa is ultra-processed cocoa, dutched to a point it becomes completely neutral and loses most of its antioxidants resulting in a powder that is neither nutritious nor chocolatey, due to which it is mainly used as a colouring agent in cakes and cookies like oreo.
Another way of classifying cocoa powders is based on the amount of fat present in them. Low-fat cocoa powders have fat content between 10% - 12%, while high-fat cocoa powders have 21% - 24%. Fat carries flavor too. You will find high-fat cocoa powders to have significantly more flavor than low-fat cocoa powders.
We found that brands rarely mention whether their product is high-fat or low-fat, so check the nutrition information to determine the fat content. Cookies and cakes made with high-fat cocoa powder will be moister and darker. Yes, the fat content is also responsible for the color of the cocoa powder.
As you already know, the alkalization process destroys the cocoa flavor. So manufacturers reduce the amount of cocoa butter they press out of the ground and treated cocoa beans. Compared to low-fat, dutch-processed cocoa powder, high-fat cocoa powder will have a more intense cocoa flavor. Following a keto diet for weight loss? Go for cookies and brownies made with high-fat cocoa powder.
The amount of fat in the cocoa powder will determine the flavour, colour, and palatability of the product to which it is added. Cocoa powders with high-fat content will result in a product that has a dark and intense chocolate flavour. Conversely, heavily processed cocoa powder results in a product that is crumby and dry.
Here is another classification for cocoa powders—sweetened and unsweetened. If the ingredients list says 100% cocoa powder, it means the cocoa powder is unsweetened. Those who have tried and loved real cocoa should go for unsweetened cocoa powder. You will have more control over the amount of sweetening agent you decide to add to your recipe.
Sweetened cocoa powders are mostly chocolate drink mixes. You can add them to hot milk or water, stir and drink it directly. Most recipes on the internet usually require the use of unsweetened cocoa powder, but if you have the expertise or enjoy experimenting, go ahead and use it in your milkshakes, brownies, pies, tiramisu, and tarts.
If you want to experience the actual taste of cocoa, it's best to go for unsweetened or natural cocoa powder. Sugar as an additive can affect the underlying chocolate flavor to a point where all you might taste is sugar. So, it's better to choose 100% cocoa.
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Minimally Processed With 22.4% Fat and 32G per 100G Fiber
Single Origin Cocoa Powder
Doesn't Contain Sugar
looms & weaves
Pure & Natural Cocoa Powder
With a Fiber Content Of 34%
Gives a Deep Brown Color to Your Dishes
100 % High Fat Cocoa Powder
Has a High Fat Content Of 24%
looms & weaves
Special Dark Cocoa Powder
Ultra Dutched Dark Cocoa Powder
Chocolate Drink Mix With Added Vitamins and Minerals
Traditionally cacao nibs (crumbled dry cacao beans) don't go through the heating process that changes the flavor if the manufacturer intends to make cacao powder. But nowadays, manufacturers subject cacao nibs to minimal heat to bring out the flavor. Cacao powder by Sattvic Foods is one such product.
You can expect almost all naturally present antioxidants and flavonoids in this cacao powder. It also has a high-fat content of 22.4% and a fiber content of 32 grams per 100 grams. Many customers have vouched for its authenticity, so buy Sattvic Foods Cacao Powder if you want to taste real cacao. We recommend this product to people who want moist brownies and fudgy cookies.
Peru is popular for producing some of the best cocoa in the world. Essence Nutrition cocoa powder is single-origin, so you can expect the aroma and flavor of authentic Peruvian cocoa powder. Since it is natural, the nutrition profile is remarkable, and you can expect your baked dishes to have a good lift.
The fat content is 11% which is on the low side, so don't expect your cookies and brownies to be fudgy. There are no preservatives or sweeteners added. Customer reviews show that the product is better than the cocoa powders by some of the top brands in the market. Essence Nutrition cocoa powder is 100% pure with no added sugar.
Looms & Weaves natural cocoa powder is sourced from one of the top cocoa-producing regions in India—Kerala. With a low fat content of 11%, your chocolate cookies and cakes will be more dry and crumbly. You can expect this cocoa powder to impart intense flavor to any dish you prepare.
You don't have to look for any containers to store this cocoa powder as it comes in a tin can. Looms & Weaves natural cocoa powder has a dietary fiber content of 34 grams per 100 grams, promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria. We recommend this product to people who are accustomed to using Indian cocoa in their dishes.
If you are looking for a quality dutch-processed cocoa powder for a fudgier darker chocolate cake, go for HealthyHive 100% PURE DUTCHED cocoa powder. It is unsweetened and has a fat content of 14%, which is slightly higher than the regular 10 to 12% fat seen in low-fat cocoa powders.
Since it is less acidic, your baked goods will not have the rise you can see when using natural cocoa powder. The taste of dutch processed cocoa is nuttier compared to natural cocoa and less bitter. The product comes in a plastic resealable bag and has a shelf life of 18 months.
As you already know, cocoa powder with high fat content will make your baked goods fudgy and chewier. KETO CULTURE 100% High Fat Cocoa Powder comes with a fat content of 24%. It hasn't gone through any alkalization process, and since fat also carries flavor, you can expect a more intense cacao taste compared to low-fat cocoa powder.
The nutrition profile of this cocoa powder is also impressive. It has a protein content of 19 grams, fiber content of 31 grams, and a very low natural sugar content of 1 gram, in every100 grams of this cocoa powder. The cocoa is sourced from Kerala, and the product has a shelf life of 6 months.
As you already know, when cocoa is ultra-dutched, you get dark cocoa or black cocoa, which is almost black. This reduces the nutritional content of the cocoa and leaves the cocoa non-bitter. What's special about Looms & Weaves Special Dark Cocoa Powder is that it has a high-fat content of 21%, which is rarely seen in dark cocoa powders.
This fat content can result in chewy cookies and pastries. Since there is almost zero acidity, don't expect your baked dishes to rise as they won't react with the baking soda. Customer reviews show that the product tastes like dark chocolate with a rich flavor.
Go for Hershey's Hot Chocolate if you want a premixed chocolate drink powder. It has 29% cocoa, 70% sugar, and added immunity supporting vitamins and minerals like A, B, C, D, E, Zinc, and Iron. Although the low fat (3%) and cocoa content and high sugar content make it suitable only for making cocoa drinks, there is no harm in experimenting with it.
But make sure that you adjust the sugar quantity mentioned in the recipe. This 250 grams pack can make 12 cups of hot chocolate and has a shelf life of 12 months. We could see from the customer reviews that the product tastes more like Bournvita, probably because of the high sugar content.
You don't have to go through any tedious process to prepare some confectionery desserts when you get chocolate cravings. Here is a simple recipe that uses just two ingredients—cocoa powder and condensed milk to prepare a decadent chocolate truffle. Nino, the chef in this video, breaks down the cooking process into four:
How about some healthy, energizing, and immunity-boosting drinks to freshen you up? Click on the links below to find out our ten recommendations and buying guides for the best summer drinks, coffee brands, and giloy juice brands available to buy online in India. Remember to consume these in moderation, so you get the maximum benefits without any side effects.
Now you are well-versed in the types of cocoa powders and their health benefits. Here is everything in a nutshell. Cacao powder is different from cocoa powder since it is not subjected to high heat processing. Thus cacao powder contains more nutrients than cocoa powder. But roasting changes the flavor profile and makes cocoa powder more chocolatey.
Go for a natural cocoa powder since it has flavor as well as a better nutrition profile. But it is bitter and may require you to use sugar, honey, or other sweetening agents. Alkalization reduces the bitterness and makes the cocoa powder darker. Black cocoa powder is heavily dutched, so it is not at all bitter, while regular dutch processed cocoa powder is slightly bitter with a more intense chocolate flavor.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1: Sattvic Foods｜Cacao Powder
No. 2: Essence Nutrition｜Single Origin Cocoa Powder
No. 3: looms & weaves｜Pure & Natural Cocoa Powder
No. 4: HealthyHive｜Cocoa Powder
No. 5: KETO CULTURE｜100 % High Fat Cocoa Powder
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