Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cocoa Powder

I like Cocoa Powder. I use it to make hot cocoas and mochas and other chocolatey baked goods at home. I'm also one of those wannabe chocolate snobs, so I like to get new brands of cocoa powder to compare and contrast against one another. My goal is to find The Best Cocoa Powder Ever.

I am posting this now because I have just tried a new cocoa powder: Van Houten dutched cocoa. I got a box on a whim at Pittsburgh's The Chocolate Mousse chocolate boutique.

My cocoa/mocha recipe looks much like this: Put 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa into a cup. Add a tablespoon or two of sugar. Add from half to a whole teaspoon of corn starch. Add a tablespoon or so of milk. Stir that up until it's fairly smooth, and then microwave it until it's a little warm, and then stir it again until it's very smooth. Then add (a cup?) more milk, stir, and microwave until it's piping hot.

After having the cocoa base, you can doctor it as you desire --- add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of a mild mexican chili powder, add a cup of coffee, add vanilla, add cinnamon, etc.

Back to my main point. This Van Houten cocoa is simply AMAZING. It's the cleanest, most pleasant cocoa powder I've injested yet --- much better than Hershey's, Droste, Lake Champlain, etc. I have yet to try some brands, such as Callebaut and Valrhona, and Hershey's new Special Dark cocoa, but this Van Houten is in the middle price-range, and simply amazing. There is no reason not to have a box of it at home.

On a historical side note, apparently Van Houten is the founder of the cocoa Dutching process, which he originated back in 1828 or so. It's the same year that Andrew Jackson was elected to the presidency, a year which I remember due to my impressive high-school social studies teacher. That, and the fact that the year is encoded twice in the irrational base of the natural logarithm, 2.718281828459...I have to respect a universe that gives homage to the creation of Dutched cocoa in its fundamental, underlying mathematical constants.

unfortunately vanhouten is now owned by phillip morris.
Actually, though the history can be confusing, Van Houten is owned by Barry Callebaut. see
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