What you need to know before cooking with cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is made from fermented and roasted cocoa beans that are pressed to extract their cocoa butter, which is used to make chocolate bars, crisps and candies, as well as in other products, including cosmetics. The dry solids that remain after the cocoa butter is expelled are finely ground and packaged as cocoa powder, baking cocoa, or unsweetened cocoa (we’ll discuss cocoa powder processed in the Netherlands in a moment) .

While the process of making cocoa powder naturally removes most of the fat, some is left behind. However, the specific percentage varies widely between brands, from just 10% to 26% (per Handle the Heat). The lower the fat percentage in cocoa powder, the less flavorful anything you make with it will be. High-fat cocoa powder also has a stronger chocolate flavor. That said, most products don’t advertise their higher fat content, so how do you know how much is in your cocoa powder? Check the nutrition label and choose cocoa powder with at least 1 gram of fat per serving. A low-fat cocoa powder like Hershey’s will contain about 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

In an article for Food52, chocolate pastry chef extraordinaire Alice Medrich echoes that advice and points out that since most recipes call for such a small amount of cocoa powder overall, there’s no reason to fear. a higher fat percentage. In addition, you cook; a little indulgence is the whole point.