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Cocoa is similar to unsweetened chocolate, only it's in powdered form and has less cocoa butter. Cooks like it because it allows them to make low-fat goodies, or to use fats other than cocoa butter. Cocoa's also used to dust candies and cakes. Dutched cocoa = Dutch process cocoa = European process cocoa is treated with an alkali, making it milder yet richer-tasting. It's the preferred cocoa for beverages and frozen desserts, and for dusting baked goods. Recipes for baked goods usually intend for you to use natural cocoa = American cocoa = regular cocoa = nonalkalized cocoa, which is more acidic than Dutched cocoa. You can often substitute one type of cocoa for the other, but if the recipe includes baking soda, it may be counting on the acid in natural cocoa in order to react. Don't confuse cocoa powder, which is bitter, with instant cocoa mixes, which are sweetened.

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Also known as

  • Cocoa powder
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dutched cocoa
  • Dutch process cocoa
  • European process cocoa
  • Natural cocoa
  • American cocoa
  • Regular cocoa
  • Nonalkalized cocoa


1/4 cup cocoa powder = 1 ounce


carob powder (Most cookbooks call for carob to be substituted for cocoa measure for measure, but since carob has a milder flavor, you might want to use more. Carob powder tends to lump, so mix it into a paste first with a bit of liquid. It also burns more easily than cocoa powder, so reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.) OR unsweetened baking chocolate (One ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or oil.)
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