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How to Identify Good Cocoa Powder (and Not So Good)

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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich is going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: When a recipe calls for premium quality cocoa powder, what does that even mean? And how do you find it? Alice tells all.

How to Identify Good Cocoa Powder (And Not So Good) from Food52

To get the best flavor from any cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process), buy the good stuff. Premium cocoa powder is 22% to 24% fat, twice the amount of regular cocoa powder. Since we use so little cocoa in recipes, the fat difference is negligible in the scheme of things and it is worth buying the higher fat cocoa for its quality. The fat percentage is not found on cocoa labels, but you can find it yourself by looking at the nutritional panel: look for cocoa with 1 gram (instead of .5 gram) of fat per 5 to 6 gram serving.

More: Now go bake genius chocolate cake with the best stuff you can find.

How to Identify Good Cocoa Powder (And Not So Good) from Food52

Alice's new book Seriously Bitter Sweet is a complete revision of her IACP award-winning Bittersweet, updated for the 54%, 61%, and 72% (and beyond) bars available today. It's packed with tricks, techniques, and answers to every chocolate question, plus 150 seriously delicious recipes -- both savory and sweet.


Photos by James Ransom

Tags: baking, everyday cooking, how-to & diy, cake, cocoa powder, chocolate

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