Cocoa powder is in many baking recipes, including plant-based treats and vegan desserts. So, what exactly is cocoa powder and what makes it so essential to some of our favorite baked goods? Let our TCHO pros break down the facts on this popular type of baking chocolate, including its benefits and top uses. We will also explain the difference between alkalized and non-alkalized cocoa powder like our TCHO Super Powder so you can bake successfully and make the best choice for your recipes.
Cocoa Powder 101
Cocoa powder is a type of unsweetened baking chocolate. You may also hear it called cocoa solids. When cocoa butter is removed from cacao beans during processing, the leftover solids are ground into rich, chocolatey powder. Cocoa powder is mainly made up of cocoa solids but also contains some cocoa butter.
High-quality cocoa powder like our TCHO Super Powder contains a higher amount of cocoa butter than others. There are different kinds of products, including alkalized and non-alkalized cocoa powder. You may also see them called dutch cocoa or natural cocoa powder.
Basic Types of Cocoa Powder
So, what’s the difference between alkalized and non-alkalized cocoa powder for baking? Once you understand their basic distinctions, you can decide which one to use in your baked goods. You’ll also have a good idea of the flavor you’ll get for your recipe.
Natural or Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Natural or non-alkalized cocoa powder like Super Powder is made of pure roasted cacao. It is also known as unsweetened cocoa powder. Once the cocoa butter is removed from the cacao beans and ground into a powder, all that is left is the pure cacao without the extra fat. Since it’s a concentrated form of chocolate, natural cocoa powder has a bold and bitter flavor and a beautiful red-brown color.
Its pure form and acidic nature make it easy to recognize the tasting notes of quality chocolate like the plant-based baking chocolate we make here at TCHO. If you taste our Super Powder, you’ll notice a rich and chocolatey flavor finely ground into the perfect consistency for cooking and baking any recipe. If you’re shopping for non-alkalized cocoa powder, the label will usually read unsweetened cocoa powder or simply, “cocoa.”
Dutch Process Cocoa or Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Sometimes cocoa beans are bathed in an alkaline solution known as a dutch process. The alkaline bath reduces the natural cocoa’s acidity, giving it less of a strong, bitter flavor. Dutch process cocoa is designed to look and taste more chocolatey than non-alkalized cocoa powder. If you’re curious about whether your cocoa powder is alkalized, look at the product labels on the package. If it doesn’t say dutch process cocoa or alkalized cocoa, it may instead read “cocoa processed with alkali.”
Best Cocoa Powder Uses
Cocoa powder is a versatile baking ingredient that adds rich chocolate flavor to traditional recipes and modern chocolate desserts. If you’re looking for an ingredient that you can use every day in your kitchen, Super Powder cocoa powder is it! Browse the internet or scour classic cookbooks to find a recipe that tantalizes your tastebuds. Then, check out some of our best ideas and favorite recipes using cocoa powder. Super Powder is that special ingredient in our favorite vegan chocolate donuts and chocolate fudge brownies. You’ll also find plenty of it in the best chocolate layer cakes and chocolate tarts.
Classic Cocoa Powder Recipes
Cocoa powder is why you love homemade chocolate brownies or fudgy chocolate frosting. You can use unsweetened cocoa powder and chopped chocolate or chocolate discs to make creamy chocolate pudding or a cozy mug of hot cocoa. The non-alkalized cocoa powder creates decadent fudge and chocolate pie with a smooth, rich flavor.
Non-alkalized cocoa powder makes shareable chocolate cupcakes and muffins. With Super Powder, you can bake delicious chocolate chunk cookies or satisfying chocolate peanut butter bars. Flavor your cheesecake with chocolate using bold and delicious cocoa. These are just a small sample of the recipes that come to life with cacao powder!
Creative Uses for TCHO Super Powder
If you can’t get enough TCHO Super Powder, there are plenty of creative and delicious ways to use it in your kitchen. Make cocoa pancakes for breakfast or boost your baking skills by trying a recipe for a chocolate cake roll. Enhance your protein-rich smoothie or add it to your oatmeal. It’s even a nice ingredient in coffee!
Benefits of Using Cocoa Powder in Your Recipes
Cocoa powder infuses plenty of recipes with delicious chocolate flavor, but there are even more benefits to using it in your snacks and treats. Here we explore some of the nutrients in cocoa powder, as well as the possible health advantages of consuming quality cacao. With so many reasons to use natural cocoa, you’ll be even more inspired to use it.
Cocoa Powder Contains Wellness-Boosting Compounds
Unsweetened and non-alkalized cocoa contains flavonoids that have been shown to have various health benefits. Research has shown that the flavonoids found in cocoa powder and dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure and aid in preventing blood clots.
The flavonoids found in natural cocoa powder have also been shown to help decrease the risk of developing heart disease. According to research, flavonoids can help to reduce inflammation in the body. They can even help to reduce the chemical markers of stress so you can indulge and relax.
Nutrients Found in Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Natural cocoa contains essential nutrients and minerals like protein and iron. It’s also a source of magnesium and potassium. If you consume cocoa powder, you’re adding some fiber to your diet.
As with all baking ingredients, be sure to consume them in moderation for the most wellness benefits. Non-alkalized cocoa powder does contain fat and sugar, although it does have much less than dutch process cocoa or other comparable chocolate baking products.
Researchers are still studying the health benefits of cacao and cocoa powder to learn more about how they can benefit our wellness. For now, we are encouraged by just how beneficial it can be to choose natural cocoa for baking recipes. One of our favorite parts of using Super Powder is that it contains less sugar and fat than some other cocoa products.
The Flavor Profile of TCHO Super Powder
If you taste a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder, you’ll notice its tasty yet intense flavor. Some say that non-alkalized cocoa is strong and bitter. Its sharp dark chocolate notes are perfect for adding unmistakable chocolate flavor to cookies and chocolate tarts. Some bakers comment that cocoa powder tastes like an ultra-dark chocolate bar but without a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Others notice its tartness and astringent flavor.
Our TCHO Super Powder offers baking recipes with a true chocolate flavor. Take a moment to notice its delightfully fruity notes and how it adds a rich, silky texture to your brownies and chocolate cake.
When to Use Cocoa Powder
There are many instances in the kitchen when it helps to use cocoa powder in your recipes. If you’re using a recipe with alkaline baking soda, acidic natural cocoa powder will react with the baking soda and help to give your baked goods an impressive rise. Non-alkalized cocoa powder isn’t as temperature sensitive as some other forms of chocolate, so using it can help you bake moist and decadent cupcakes and brownies.
You can use cocoa powder to add a more concentrated dark chocolate flavor to desserts and baked goods. Some recipes like fudge brownies or chocolate quick bread impart a richer, more satisfying flavor when they include natural cocoa.
If you want to flavor drinks like hot cocoa or chocolate mochas in minutes, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder. Substitute natural cocoa for unsweetened baking chocolate and fat like shortening. Non-alkalized cocoa powder is a brilliant ingredient to use in recipes like red velvet cakes that feature a beautiful color and rich chocolate flavor.
Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder Recipe Ideas
We bet you’re eager to use Super Powder in your chocolate desserts and baked goods. Our 100% plant-based cocoa powder is perfect for many recipes that will impress you or a group of guests. From breakfast to dessert, recipes designed by our TCHO pros and favorite bakers showcase just how much you can do with natural and non-alkalized cocoa. Check out a few of our favorites and be sure to browse our chocolate recipes if you need more inspiration.
Vegan Double Chocolate Donuts
These vegan chocolate donuts by Michelle Cehn will be your new favorite recipe. While they taste better than your average chocolate donut, they are easy to make and take only 35 minutes from start to finish. Best of all, they only require your pantry staples.
Combine all-purpose flour with TCHO’s Super Powder cocoa powder and baking powder. Next, you’ll need baking soda and unsweetened non-dairy milk at room temperature. Sugar and vegan butter help round out the delicious donut flavor. Finish with a splash of vanilla extract. To make the chocolate glaze, you’ll need some of our Sweet & Sassy Baking Chocolate and quality coconut oil.
Make the donuts in your oven, and then melt the baking chocolate and coconut oil to create the chocolate glaze. When the donuts are fully cooled, dip them in the melted chocolate and place on a cooling rack. Let them chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. When they’re cool and set, it’s time to enjoy!
Chocolate Truffles Rolled in Cocoa Powder
This recipe for bite-sized chocolate truffles created by our TCHO pros makes for the perfect shareable snack. Their decadent, rich flavor is made possible by tasty ingredients like TCHO Choco Charms with coconut milk rolled in Super Powder. It takes only 30 minutes to make these delicious treats, but they’re sure to impress everyone who tries them.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring your coconut milk to a simmer. Then, place your Choco Charms in a bowl along with two tablespoons of corn syrup. Whisk to combine the coconut milk and dark chocolate together until the liquid has fully combined with the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, you’ll scrape the mixture into a baking dish and freeze for 15 minutes.
Once the mixture is frozen, you’ll remove it from the freezer and scoop out the small truffles. Then, roll each truffle into a bowl filled with Super Powder and set them on a parchment-lined tray. Add toppings like nuts or cocoa nibs for extra flavor. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to a month.
These soft and fudgy mochi brownies are so unique and delicious that you must try them for yourself! The recipe by our TCHO pros calls for Super Powder and our TCHO Hella Dark 81%. Rice flour and Maldon sea salt help to create complex and decadent flavors.
Crush This makes the perfect garnish, while the recipe only takes 45 minutes from start to finish. You’ll bake the brownies like a typical chocolate brownie recipe, and then you can enjoy them plain or topped with whipped cream. We love to top these brownies with roasted matcha whipped cream with heavy cream and cane sugar. Roasted matcha or Hojicha powder and a pinch of sea salt help to create a topping you won’t soon forget.
Baking with Rich and Chocolatey Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Whether you’re new to baking or you want to find a versatile ingredient you can use in many recipes, TCHO can help with all the questions you have about chocolate. Whether you want to know when chocolate was invented or how to use an ingredient in your recipes, our experts will help you understand the basics so you can have a better command of chocolate bars and baking chocolate.
We’re proud to explain more about Super Powder, as it is an excellent product to pick up for your pantry. We know you’ll love the rich dark chocolate taste of our cocoa, but you’ll also appreciate how it enhances your desserts and baked goods. Cocoa powder is in so many treats and snacks that it’s always a good idea to find a quality product. With plant-based ingredients and the benefits of pure cacao, you’ll feel confident that you’re using the best cocoa powder in your kitchen.