For years I’ve been reading about Dutch-processed chocolate vs. cocoa powder. Finally last week I bought some Ghirardelli Dutch-process powder to settle the question. Using the same recipe I’ve been using forever, I made two batches, identical in every way except for the Dutched powder in one and regular Hershey’s cocoa in the other. This is not a family heirloom recipe, passed down through generations of chocoholics. Actually it might even be the recipe that used to be on the back of the Hershey’s can. I honestly don’t remember, but because it has only a little baking powder and no baking soda, it suits my purpose here. If you’re curious about the difference in the two head over to Serious Eats and read all about it. Basically it’s a matter of alkalinity vs. acidity and that’s the reason to be concerned about baking soda and baking powder. The two are NOT interchangeable. If your recipe doesn’t call for either of those chemical leavening agents you can use either kind of chocolate. If it calls for just a little baking powder, like this one, you can use either kind of chocolate.
Lately I’ve been toasting walnuts whenever I use them. Even though they are a favorite of mine they have always posed a problem. My mouth gets sore after just three or four. Toasting eliminates that. It also improves the flavor and makes them crunchier, both pluses in my opinion. Not a fan of nuts in your brownies? No problem, just leave them out.
In the pictures the darker brownies on the right are the ones with Dutched cocoa. The verdict? Dutched chocolate definitely gives these brownies a different flavor, though my preference is still Hershey’s cocoa. They’re fudgy and delicious either way. Rest assured that none of these will be wasted no matter how you make them.
— Joan, 10 August 2018
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat 350°F. Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment (just line the bottom and 2 ends so you can pick it up and pull them out of the pan). Mix the melted and cooled butter with sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat in the cocoa powder, then the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly in pan and bake for 25 minutes. Careful not to bake too long or they’ll lose that fudginess! Cool completely and cut into 2″ squares. Cover tightly to store.