Cocoa is the primary ingredient to create flavor and color in indulgent products.
But the key to applications excellence is to look at the entire recipe. How do all of the ingredients interact to create the best flavor, texture, and color? How are these processed and packaged to assure the ultimate freshness of the product?
Flavor trends show an increased preference for more outspoken flavors. Has your product perfected a smooth chocolate flavor profile? Then the time may be right to extend your product line and develop a similar product with a bolder cocoa flavor. But the process is not as simple as exchanging one cocoa powder for another. In a dairy application, for example, it’s possible that the stability will change as well, due to the interaction between the cocoa and proteins. Cocoa from different origins also cater to unique flavors and an origin claim on packaging. But the impact must be evaluated in a recipe and process. How are these special flavors best transferred in a product? This comes down to a lot of testing and tasting.
For recipes where chocolate is used, partly replacing the chocolate with cocoa powder can create new flavor dimensions due to the bolder, stronger cocoa notes stemming from alkalization. In a chocolate mousse, it’s possible to have 6-8% chocolate and 3-4% cocoa powder. Depending on the type of powder used, it will boost the cocoa note of the mousse to the desired flavor profile.
Looking at the full spectrum of powders also helps to maintain the volume of your end product, such as a cake. It’s possible to have a better balance between the cocoa powder used and the leavening agents, getting more out of your recipe. For example, if combining baking salts and a dark cocoa powder, like our Black Satin (RB), the volume is less and the end product more dense than the effects of a lighter cocoa, such as Saandam (DP), in a similar recipe.
The next generation of cocoa requires a full spectrum view from the growing and harvesting of cocoa, to the processing of cocoa products, to the support in end product creation. It requires testing, tasting and evaluation to develop more unique products, where the specialty lies in the finessense. My colleagues and I are continuously testing these theories in our application centers, pushing the boundaries of cocoa to get the most out of the bean for your application.
Roy Smith, Cocoa Applications Leader, Global Cocoa R&D