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Cocoa Powder Reviews

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was browsing cocoa powder reviews and found this. It's quite informative on the differences between Dutch-processed and natural unsweetened cocoa powders.

http://thelunacafe.com/the-wonderful-world-of-unsweetened-cocoa-powder/

D.
post #2 of 19
Thanks for the link.

I used Hershey's for years but now use Penzy's, both natural and dutch process. I have a local store. It's more expensive than Hershey's but not super expensive. The difference is pretty noticeable in my favorite brownie recipe.

I recently bought some Black Onyx cocoa powder. I was visiting a friend and he made icing for a cake with this mixed with some regular cocoa, it was BLACK, just like he had added black food coloring but he hadn't. The flavor was very intense, but really smooth and not at all bitter, because it was super alkalized.
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post #3 of 19
I, too, am a big fan of Penzy's. I shopped their catalog for years until moving to Missouri where there is a store a couple of hours away. Whenever I have to go in to the city I love to stop in and stock up. Their chocolate is wonderful, and their cinnamon is beyond words. The minute you open the door you are caught up in a world of exotic fragrances. Ah, but I digress. Fine chocolate really puts Hershey to shame.
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post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
We have a local Penzey's here in MN too. It's a drive for me but we LOVE their spices! We use their taco seasonings, sandwich sprinkle, paprika..just to name a few. The California Pepper Blend is sooo good. I love to go there and smell the cinnamon collection. I have both the Vietnamese and the China ones. Their double vanilla extract is also great. I'm going to pick up some cocoa powder next trip. I have my favorite Dutch processed, but have been looking for a good natural cocoa.

D.
post #5 of 19
Thanks for the link.
post #6 of 19
I'm a huge fan of their cinnamon! Right now I'm working on the Penzy's blend cinnamon, the grocery store stuff will no longer do for me. I pretty much use their cocoa powder exclusively, I can get it for $10 a pound and it is very good. I love their "Pacific fine sea salt" the grind is fine enough to stick to popcorn and works well to dissolve in any recipe that I've tried.

I love that I can buy taco seasoning in bulk, and that it is all natural, my other half is sensitive to MSG.

Even though I make my own, I love to smell their vanilla. I bought a bottle of Mexican vanilla for my niece and she's hooked, she won't buy the cheap stuff anymore. If I was going to buy vanilla instead of making it, I would buy it there.
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post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
I wonder if anyone here uses the Trader Joes and what their opinion is of it. I bought some of it yesterday while I was there but haven't used it yet. I'm thinking of doing a side by side taste test with chocolate cake this evening. I have a can of Scharfenberger as well. I opened the TJ's one and wasnt impressed by the smell and appearance. Reminded me of Hershey's. It will be interesting to see how it holds up.
post #8 of 19
Penzeys natural cocoa is as good as their Dutch

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyscocoapowder.html
post #9 of 19
for a dutched cocoa, i really do like the e.guittard Cocoa Rouge. it has such a great depth of flavor. For a natural cocoa i have used and liked the scharffen berger. I bought such big tubs of the cocoa rouge, that i have substituted it in recipes calling for natural cocoa by adding an appropriate amount of vinegar back into the recipe to make up for the difference.

i'm on my own cocoa tasting journey, too. Tomorrow I am getting a box of Valrhona and Cacao Barry extra brute that I tagged onto a friend's import supplier's order.
post #10 of 19
I also use Guittard and Scharffen Berger. My problem is that I hate chocolate. I just finished an order for my Choolate Chambord cake. I used Scharffen Berger. I tried a few crumbs and stil do not like chocolate, although this would be my chocolate cake of choice.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I also use Guittard and Scharffen Berger. My problem is that I hate chocolate. I just finished an order for my Choolate Chambord cake. I used Scharffen Berger. I tried a few crumbs and stil do not like chocolate, although this would be my chocolate cake of choice.



Okay, I'm so sad you live so far away. I would happily test taste all of your chocolate confections. I would even taste them keg-stand style, hook a hose to my mouth stand on my head and I will be happier that a fat hog in a bog on a hot day icon_wink.gif I love love love chocolate!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann

for a dutched cocoa, i really do like the e.guittard Cocoa Rouge. it has such a great depth of flavor. For a natural cocoa i have used and liked the scharffen berger. I bought such big tubs of the cocoa rouge, that i have substituted it in recipes calling for natural cocoa by adding an appropriate amount of vinegar back into the recipe to make up for the difference.

i'm on my own cocoa tasting journey, too. Tomorrow I am getting a box of Valrhona and Cacao Barry extra brute that I tagged onto a friend's import supplier's order.



Im thinking of trying to substitute the natural for the Dutch in my eggless chocolate cake. It calls for 1/3 cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 TBSP vinegar. Any suggestions?

D.
post #13 of 19
Thanks for posting this! I went and searched for Penzey's near me and there's one in Colorado Springs near the Michael's I often go to. I'll have to check them out next time I'm up there and get some of their cocoa.

I'm curious, I see that their website says it makes good hot cocoa. I've seen, in the grocery store, dutched process cocoa powder but it has always said for use in making hot chocolate. Is this basically the same stuff? I don't drink much hot cocoa so I've never tried it.

Thanks!

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post #14 of 19
Unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder can be used in a hot chocolate recipe just like regular cocoa. As long as it is unsweetened, it will be like the Penzy's stuff. The Droste is a common brand found in grocery and gourmet markets.
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post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Last night I made two batches of cupcakes using the same exact recipe except I used a different cocoa powder in them.
The first batch was made with Trader Joe's cocoa. At $2.49 for 9oz, it seemed a steal! The package boasts, "Trader Joe's Cocoa Powder has a pedigree unlike any other you will find....yadayda.." I was really hoping that it would live up to it's claim. Cutting my ingredients costs while still producing a quality cake would be awesome! Sadly, while many products fromTJ's are great, their cocoa powder is not. I found it to be pasty and lacking in chocolate flavor.
The other batch of cupcakes was made with Scharfenberger Cocoa Powder. I thought by comparing the cheaper cocoa (TJ's) powder to a premium one, that I would be able to better assess the quality difference. After I finished the experiment I kind of felt silly. It was wishful thinking in hoping that a cheap cocoa powder would stand up to the likes of Scharfenberger! Those cupcakes were so rich in flavor compared to the TJ's ones!
Today I made two separate batches of buttercream frosting to go with the cupcakes, of course with the corresponding cocoas to match the cakes. I frosted them all up, plated them, sliced them into fours, and had a blind taste testing with my kids, husband, MIL, and a few of my foodie neighbors. Hands down, every single one of them chose the Scharfenberger Cocoa cupcakes over the Trader Joe's Cocoa cupcakes. Even the kids.
This goes to show ya, you usually get what you pay for (Sometimes you CAN get quality for less, like the Trader Joe's Pound Plus Bars!)
My next experiment will be with the Penzey's Unsweetened Cocoa. Id like to see how it holds up to the Scharfenberger.
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