Buying Cocoa...


Here are a couple of great little cookbooks with most of your mom's cocoa recipes in it!  The blue one belonged to our grandmother, and was published in 1932.  The gold one is Myrna's from 1979.

Cocoa is pure chocolate with most of the cocoa butter removed:  it has a more concentrated chocolate flavor because the cocoa butter doesn’t have the flavor in chocolate.  It is convenient, and can be stored almost indefinitely even after it’s been opened.  It doesn’t need melting to be added to most recipes, saving a step.
There are basically two kinds of Cocoa powder, Dutch-process and Natural.  Cooks Illustrated tried brands of both, and liked Droste for Dutch process and Hershey’s for natural cocoa.  Myrna and I agree.  Myrna also likes Saco cocoa, a blend of natural and dutched cocoa for making cocoa to drink.
The next question then is can you use either one in any recipe?  An article on MyRecipes.com explains is this way: 
“Not easily. If you’re baking, because the alkali used in Dutch-process cocoa alters it chemically, if you see it called for in a recipe and you decide to use non-Dutched cocoa powder, you might also need to swap out the baking powder for baking soda.  If you’re making a frosting, however—something that’s not baked, you shouldn’t be in too much trouble, but anticipate a different texture, taste, and sweetness level depending on which type of powder you use.”
I think the easy answer for this is to use the kind called for in your recipe.  Because I’m very happy with Hershey’s and usually use older recipes, that’s what I keep on hand.  If you use recipes from any “gourmet” sources, you may want to keep both kinds on hand. 
I like cooking with cocoa because it’s easy to store; I don’t have to melt it to use it, and many of my favorite recipes call for it!
And Myrna may never get back the little Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook she gave me or Grandma's treasure either.

Here are free pdf downloads from Michigan State University Library’s culinary collection  for both Myrna’s 1979 cookbook and Grandma's 1932 gem.

 Hershey's Cocoa Cookbook 1979
            Download

Baker's Best Chocolate Recipes  1932
            Download

Some recipes from the books:


(Myrna has a half recipe here of the identical recipe in the Hershey's book)

6 comments:

  1. my hubby puts a scoop in our coffee every morning
    Thanks for the download links

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  2. I like to use the Hersheys too, and the dark chocolate version. It makes very good brownies. I don't think I've ever used the Dutch process one, in fact I don't recall ever seeing it. I stick with the old reliable...Hershey.

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  3. I have used Ghirardelli's unsweetened cocoa (the natural, not the Dutch-process) and frankly I don't think it is nearly as good as Hershey's. My daughter bought it thinking that "more expensive" = "better". Not in this case!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you. Hershey's is what I buy also. Tried some others and didn't like them near as well.

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  4. I often wondered how dutched cocoa was different than Hershey's regular cocoa, so thanks for posting the answer. I have never seen dutched cocoa in stores around here, and I think I have only seen Hershey's on the shelves, but I haven't needed to buy any for a long time so will need to check things out. I have seen collector's old Droste cocoa cans around here since I live in a Dutch county. There is a really good bakery in a neighboring town that has a lot of Dutch foods as well as Dutch gift items. They might sell Droste so will have to check it out sometime. I have made the mayonnaise cake many times and is one of my favorites. Also, thank you for posting the cookbook links. I have downloaded them and will spend some time reading them. I noticed the old book has recipes that call for Baker's Breakfast cocoa? Is that the dutched kind?

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    Replies
    1. I have never actually seen or used the Bakers cocoa...it may have gone out of production before I started cooking. But, most American brands at the time the Baker's book was printed were natural cocoa; only European brands were dutched. I have used the Baker's chocolate squares, however.

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