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How Much Chocolate is Too Much Chocolate?

She was a delightful lady. They had a booth at the state fair and wanted to serve red velvet tunnel cakes. But shewanted them more chocolaty. I asked about her recipe, how much flour and how much cocoa, and quickly calculated the ratio for her—3% chocolate. I pulled up our formula for our Mayan Chocolate pancakes—17% chocolate.

“It’s hard to have too much chocolate,” I explained. Of course you have to have enough sugar to make it sweet.

The Story of the Ultimate Brownies

One day in the test kitchen, we started adding the chocolate to brownie recipes–mostly cocoa–to see how much was too much. We doubled and tripled. We took a couple batches to a cooking class that night.

“How many think these are too chocolaty?” Three hands came up

“How many not chocolaty enough?” For or five came up. The rest of the class thought they were just right.

See the recipe for the ultimate chocolate brownies.

What about double chocolate cookies?

I surveyed reputable double chocolate cookie recipes to see how much cocoa they were using as a percentage of flour, a ratio. This is what I found:

Food Network17%
Martha Stewart38%
Betty Crocker28%
Real Simple13%
Hershey’s11%

Notice that Martha Stewart’s recipe has far more cocoa but she called out the brand, a top quality cocoa. Lesser quality, store cocoas, would never do in that concentration.

These are the percentages of cocoa to flour in our double chocolate cookie mixes:

Chocolate Breakfast Cookies 18%

Double Chocolate Cookies 25%

Quality Matters

The more cocoa butter in the cocoa, the richer it tastes. It’s not the only indicator of quality, but a good one. Those two mixes above, they are 24-26%. Most store cocoa is 8-10%.

How to add more cocoa to your baking

Because cocoa contains starch, it absorbs moisture.Consequently, when you add cocoa to a recipe, you must reduce the flour.Reduce the amount of flour by 1/3 cup for each 1/2 cup of cocoa.

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