When it comes to cocoa powder, it is produced by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fat or cocoa butter. Today, cocoa has become the number one ingredient in dark chocolate production. Dark chocolate contains almost 70% to 100% cocoa powder. The more the cocoa powder in dark chocolate the best they are considered.
Cocoa can also be used in baking brownies and cakes.
Studies show that cocoa powder offers a range of health-related benefits such as it lowers blood pressure, relaxes veins, reduces inflammation and helps in reducing blockage of blood vessels. Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants called flavonoids.
It is said that cocoa was first used by the Maya civilization of North America and soon become popular all over the world.
There are basically two major types of cocoa powder. 1) Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder and 2) Natural Processed Cocoa Powder. Both of them are easily available in any superstore.
So what’s the difference?
Dutch-processed cocoa powder is a type of cocoa powder which is produced by washing the cocoa beans in an alkaline solution so that the resulting cocoa powder is dark brown and less acidic with a pH of between 6.8 or 8.1 which is considered chemically neutral. This process is sometimes called Dutching. The Dutching process also reduces the antioxidants properties of cocoa and making it dissolve easily in recipes especially chocolate drink and ice cream.
Natural processed cocoa powder is pure ground cocoa beans that have undergone no processing to alter their pH levels. In its purest or natural form, it has a pH level between 5.3 or 5.8 which is considered more acidic. It’s the acidity which affects its flavor. It’s a light reddish-brown color.