Chocolate might be one of the most love flavors on the planet. It is not just a candy, a flavoring. Chocolate is a substance that has a power over people. It can turn a bad mood, soothe tempers, and encourage romance. Although a native to the Central and South Americas, the Cocoa tree is now found all around the equator. It is a fruit of the tree that has a whitish flesh and purple hued seeds which, when dried, become what we know commonly as the coco bean.
There are three main varieties of the cocoa tree, the Forastero, the Criollo, and the Trinitario. If you are eating a chocolate bar today, the bean for that bar probably came from a Forastero Cocoa tree. Ninety percent of the chocolate production in the world today does. The finest chocolates however come from the Criollo tree beans. Now there’s a bit of trivia to impress your chocolate loving friends with. Here is another. Chocolate was an American invention and in the 1500’s it was, literally, as good as gold and was used by native Americans as currency. Although most believe that the Aztecs were the first to use chocolate, there is evidence that it was used by the ancient Maya as early as 500a.d.
Enough of the trivia lesson, you came for chocolate substitutions. Here you go.
Yes, you can, usually, successfully interchange a powdered form of coco with a bar form. There are a few things to consider however.
All forms of bar chocolate are a mixture of coco powder,fat, and unless you are using unsweetened baking chocolate, sugar. Many varieties also contain a quantity of milk.. If you have ever left a bar of chocolate on the counter and then put it in the fridge to harden back up, you may have noticed that there appears to be a gray-white film on it. that is the fat that has come to the surface. The bar is still perfectly good to eat or use in cooking. The practice of substituting coco powder for bar forms of chocolate, therefore, is not only perfectly acceptable, it is often desirable.
Coco powder is often a better choice for certain applications. Making hot cocoa for example, in cakes without butter like angel food,or often when making a chocolate variety of cookie. Bar varieties like bakers chocolate are better suited to use in butter based cakes, sauces and puddings like a chocolate mouse.
TO SUBSTITUTE COCO POWDER FOR BAKING CHOCOLATE in a recipe, for every one ounce of bar chocolate called for in the recipe substitute
3 Tablespoons of coco powder and 1 Tablespoon of fat. This fat is usually butter for the best flavor, but margarine and vegetable shortening also produce good results. So for a recipe calling for 3 ounces of bakers chocolate you can safely substitute 9 tablespoons of coco powder and 3 tablespoons of butter or other fat. You can sift the coco powder with the other dry ingredients and add the fat with the other fats in the recipe. You don’t have to melt the fat and mix them unless the recipe calls for melted chocolate, like a brownie. The only reason for this is that it helps make the mixture more moist where straight coco tends to make a mix that is a little more dry.
TO SUBSTITUTE BAKING CHOCOLATE FOR COCO POWDER
For every three tablespoons of coco powder called for, use one ounce baking chocolate and eliminate one tablespoon of fat from the recipe. If you are baking a cake, for example that calls for 1 cup of cocoa powder and 2 sticks of butter, you can use 5 1/3 ounces of baking chocolate, melted, and leave out 5 /13 tablespoons of the butter which is a little over 1/2 of a stick.
Chocolate has earned a bad rep over the years, being blamed for everything from acne to tooth decay, but the good news is that recent studies are proving that chocolate is not to blame for many of these problems. In fact, new studies show that eating chocolate may actually be good for you as long as you don’t over do it. It can possible lower your risks of heart disease, coat your teeth and help prevent plaque buildup, and help your system fight infection with its high levels of antioxidants.
Chocolate in the forms we know it today would not have been possible before about the mid 1800s.While it is the Dutch and the Swiss who have earned a reputation for the finest chocolates and are primarily responsible for enabling us to be able to use both coco in the powdered form and baking chocolate because of the processes they mastered, it is the Americans that gave chocolate to the world. For me, that is just one more reason to love America.
Life with Barbara