10 best Cocoa Powder

Raina Bhatia

July 26, 2021

10 best Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder: The Best of the Best

Be it coffee, cakes, brownies, cookies or even smoothies, cocoa powder is a very widely used ingredient. After all, one can simply not refuse the temptation of chocolate! 

To all the chocoholics out there (like me), this article is just for you. 

Ever since its discovery in the 1820s, the use of cocoa powder has done nothing more than increase and spread across the world. An increasing number of varieties and options have spruced up for people to choose from. Now, although this can be viewed as an advantage, it certainly is no easy task to choose from the countless brands while there are new ones coming up each day. 

Stick with us till the end for an answer to this dilemma! Further on in this article, we will be talking about normal as well as Dutch cocoa powder, how to identify one of good quality, and of course, the best brands you can use for your baking.

Normal and Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder

Although both serve the same purpose, these 2 types do affect the overall result. The texture, dryness and rise of the baked item in addition to the fudginess deeply depend on the kind of cocoa powder you use. Let us catch a glimpse of how they individually affect your baked products.

If your recipe uses baking powder, then we recommend that you use the Dutch-processed type instead of the natural one. The reason for this has been elaborated upon in the upcoming sections. 

  1. Natural Cocoa Powder

It is easy to understand from the name itself that this cocoa powder is unprocessed. The only processing that this type goes through is the separation from cocoa butter and the actual process of grinding it into a powder. 

Natural cocoa powders work best in the cake as well as brownie recipes.

Its pH is on the acidic side of the scale, and this is exactly what affects the outcome (among other things). 

  • If you use this type of cocoa powder, then its acidic nature will cause your goods to rise more. This leads to a dry texture.
  • If your recipe demands the use of baking soda, it will react with the acid to produce carbon dioxide. This leads to an airy texture.
  • On the plus side, the flavour is quite intense and has a bitter tinge to it. 

 

  1. Dutch – Processed Cocoa Powder

Through a process called Dutching, the cocoa beans are soaked in an alkaline solution to neutralize them. Thus, making them less acidic. On top of that, the Dutching process reduces some of the original bitterness. 

  • The more heavily or strongly ‘Dutched’ your cocoa is, the darker colour you will get.
  • Makes your baked goods fudgier in texture.
  • Due to less acid, your batter will not rise as much. On the other hand, it will have a richer flavour/taste.

 

Fat and Starch Content

Another aspect of cocoa powder that makes an impact is the fat and starch content. Although it does not have MUCH effect on the taste, it does have a huge impact on not only the consistency and richness but also the texture.

  • Goods made with low–fat powders tend to be dry and a bit crumbly. 
  • Low fat = More starch
  • Starch absorbs moisture which makes the goods drier and therefore, crumbly
  • Goods made with high–fat powders are tender, moist and have a lovely fudginess. 
  • High fat = Less starch
  • Makes the goods fudgier, richer, creamier, and of course, chewier (in a good way though!)

How to Choose Which Cocoa Powder to Use?

You see, the baking fandom has always had a fierce debate going on regarding the two types of cocoa powders. 

After much testing and experimentation, the baking industry concluded that it is not just about using either Dutch-processed powder or natural powder. Factors such as the starch and fat content, the pH, etc. also play a major role. 

As a result, the answer to this question mainly depends on what result you desire for your yummy baked delicacies.  

For dry, light, fluffy items: low-fat, natural cocoa powder 

For chewiness, fudginess and rich/thick texture: Dutch-process cocoa powder with high-fat, less starch content

If your recipe requires baking soda: Natural cocoa powder

If your recipe requires baking powder / a mix: Dutch-process cocoa powder

 

Now, coming on to the most awaited portion of our article, let’s take a look at the best companies/brands you can purchase each type of cocoa powder from! 

On an additional note, most natural cocoa powders can be found around you in local markets, grocery stores, etc. 

Top 5 Natural Cocoa Powders

  1. Hershey’s Cocoa 

This was probably not a cause of surprise to you. Hershey’s natural unsweetened cocoa powder is 100% un – alkalized and loved by users worldwide.

Rich with antioxidants and dietary fibre, this product goes extremely well with desserts and chocolaty frostings. 

Not only can you use it for baking, but you can also use it to make hot chocolate / hot cocoa. Many people are quite fond of sprinkling it over milk, coffee, and cookies.

If you are on a tight budget, then Hershey’s is the way to go!

  1. Barry Cocoa Powder

With unparalleled chocolatiness and rich flavour, the Barry cocoa powder really does deserve to be on this list. 

Its high–fat content ensures that goods baked with this cocoa powder are fudgy and chewy along with thick, creaming texture and consistency. It can be used for a vast assortment of recipes.

If your taste buds detest crumbly and dry goods, then Barry cocoa powder is meant for you!

  1. Cadbury Bournville Cocoa

Unsweetened, natural and un – alkalized, this cocoa powder works wonders for both baking and drinking!

Best known for its heavenly chocolaty flavour, Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa is a match made in heaven for you if you have a sweet tooth. 

Many add this to almond milk, smoothies, shakes and a wide array of recipes. Like Hershey’s, if you are on a budget, this cocoa powder will do quite a lot to ensure that you stay well within it and save some money!

  1. Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder

Natural as well as an unsweetened cocoa powder made by sticking to a strict selection process, Ghirardelli leaves no stone unturned to provide its clients with the best quality of cocoa powder possible. 

With a fat content of about 20 to 22%, your goods will have the most amazing texture and lovely fudginess if you use this item. 

  1. Chatfield’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Used for both baking and drinking processes, it has an intense chocolaty flavour with a deep, brown colour. 

Since this is a low – fat product, goods that will be baked using this will rise more. They will be light, fluffy, and airy. 

If you have a thing for dry and airy cakes, then Chatfield’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is the best fit for you. 

 

Top 5 Dutch – Process Cocoa Powders

  1. Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder

Valrhona is one of the most renowned producers of chocolate in the entire world. Their cocoa powder is also on the top of worldwide lists. 

Although it can be used in a wide array of recipes, this works the best with truffles, mousses, and hot chocolate! 

It is a 100% Dutch-processed cocoa powder that provides a deep, rich taste without the intense bitterness usually associated with cocoa powder. 

  1. Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa

Rodelle is again a Dutch-processed cocoa powder with a rich, deep chocolate–brown colour. As the colour suggests, it has a marvellous chocolate flavour that is certainly beloved by all. 

Like the other cocoa powders we mentioned, Rodelle can be used for both beverages and baking.

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa may have a slight packaging issue. However, the rich chocolate flavour it gives to brownies, hot chocolate fudges and much more practically annihilate this tiny flaw. 

  1. Cacao Barry Extra Brute

With fat content ranging between 22 to 24%, you can certainly imagine the rich and aromatic goods this cocoa powder must produce. 

The source of its ingredients heavily influences its quality. So, the beans used to make Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powders are brought in from West Africa and are handpicked along the lines of strict guidelines and requirements. 

If you bake your goods using this product, your goods will have a slight bitterish pang along with a chewy, chocolaty fudginess. 

Bakers and top chefs have found this cocoa powder to be the perfect match for making hot chocolate as well as brownies!

  1. Rodelle Organic Baking Cocoa Powder

Rodelle really does like to speak up and make a place for herself. This notable product of Rodelle’s is highly suitable if you want all your recipes to have consistently fabulous outcomes. 

The USDA has even certified it as being of the highest quality! Sure, it may turn out to be on the slightly expensive side. At the same time, the quality and exquisiteness of the taste live up to people’s expectations along with the price. 

  1. Wild Food Raw Organic Cocoa Powder

This cocoa powder can be used in baking, shakes, smoothies, hot chocolate among other things. Adding this to your morning coffee will not only provide you with a punch of rich chocolate but will also give you a dose of vitamins. 

That’s right! Wild Food Raw Organic Cocoa Powder is one of the healthiest cocoa powders you could possibly find. Even though it is packed with vitamins, minerals, along with natural antioxidants, none of these things influences its taste. 

Worried about gaining weight from all the chocolate? Well, this cocoa powder solves your problem! It is a healthy addition to your food intake, power-packed with nutrition. So, NO MORE GUILT! 

This article has now, adequately armed you with all the knowledge you may require on your tour with cocoa powder. As a summary, we have provided you with details regarding:

  • The top 10 natural plus Dutch-process cocoa powders along with the difference between the two
  • What kind of results do you receive from the two types of cocoa powders
  • What factors influence the result of your baked goods