Sunday, June 26, 2011

Helpful Sundays - Cocoa Powder

Not all of the time, but some of the time the quality of the ingredients that you buy really does make a difference in the final product. Cocoa powder is one ingredient I recommend not cutting corners. I have noticed a big difference between the store brands to Hershey’s to Ghirardelli’s. I am all about saving money and when I first started baking I did buy the store brand cocoa powder but noticed my cakes/cupcakes/icing did not have a very chocolate flavor and were very light brown colored – which was okay when I first started baking but I was on a search for something better and easily available.

I started buying Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and Hershey’s Special Dark and noticed a dramatic change in the flavor, color and overall quality of my baked goods. This brand is available at the grocery stores near me so it’s easier for me to get than Ghirardelli’s cocoa powder. I think the price difference between the store and Hershey’s is maybe $1.00-$1.50. Ghirardelli’s is better and of course more expensive than Hershey’s. I can only find it at the Farmer’s Market in my area so it’s not something I always have on hand. The price difference between Hershey’s and Ghirardelli’s is about $2.00-$3.00. These are just the brands that are usually available to the general consumer. You can get even fancier (more expensive) and buy Valrhona or Scharffen Berger cocoa powder but that is a little out of my price range and not available in my area but from what I have read, if you want to splurge, these are worth it.

Next time you need cocoa powder I recommend spending a little more. It will be worth it.

The chocolate cupcakes below were made with store brand cocoa powder. It is hard to tell but the cupcakes are a light brown. The Oreo Cupcakes were made with Hershey's cocoa powder and the cupcakes are very dark, almost black and have a rich, chocolate taste.

Keep on the lookout every Sunday for new tips, advice and product recommendations from Sugarmonkey Sweets.


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