Weird Cocoa Powder Nutritional Information
Posted: 27 June 2010 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In a couple of weeks, I’m making the Double Whammy Grooms Cake for a friend’s birthday, but I thought I’d pick up the chocolate for it ahead of time along with the chocolate for something I’m making today.

Usually, i get Green & Blacks, but they didn’t have it.  They did have Ghiradelli, so I snagged it and figured I’d compare it, when I got home, to my current G&B container.

Now, get this.

Green & Blacks says in 1 tsp there is 5 g.  This 5g has 1g fat and 20 calories.
Ghiradelli says in 1 Tbsp there is 6g.  This 6g has 1.5g fat and 15 calories. 

The Ghiradelli also has 1 more g carbs, but otherwise, the figures are the same.

I know weight:weight—5g:6g—things should be relatively the same, but it seems to me impossible that it would take 1T of ne product to weight the same as 1t of another essentially identical product. 

Plus, how can the heavier one with more fat and more carbs have less calories?

According to nutritiondata.com, 1T of cocoa powder should weight 5g, have 1g fat and approx 12 calories (I know fat content can vary, but this is just for comparison), so I think the G&B is labeled incorrectly.  Even their web site sticks to the story: 1tsp = 5g.

Could this be possible??? 

p.s.  As a side note, I note the Ghiradelli is not alkalized, but that’s just FYI to anyone who would want to know.

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Posted: 27 June 2010 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Okay, sports fans, I got the brilliant idea of weiging some G&B.  1 tsp, dip and sweep and scrape, weights about 1g.  1 tsp, dip and sweep and slightly pack while scraping, weights about 2g.

So it is mislabeled.  No biggie I guess for weighing, but if someone were calculating nutritional information based on volume, it would be way off.

I still find it weird that the one with more fat and carbs has less calories.  I suppose it’s a matter of rounding.  They ought to use larger amounts if they can’t get decent figures for small quantities.  It makes it difficult to compare, and I wanted to see which had a higher cocoa butter content.

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Posted: 27 June 2010 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Anne, you have opened the proverbial can of worms!  I have struggled with cocoa powder issues for years, and these are my findings:

1. Some cocoa powders have the naturally occurring, full cocoa butter content of the cocoa bean (generally european dutch-processed brands), while others (generally American brands) have had some of the cocoa butter removed and so are lower in fat.

2. Nutritional labels are better than nothing, but often the serving size is so small that they are inaccurate when trying to figure out what the fat content is.

3. In Rose’s recipes, you really need to seek out and use a full-fat (20-24% by weight) dutched cocoa powder or the cake might be dry and /or might not rise well.  This is partly due to the fat content but also due to the fact that a lower-fat cocoa weighs differently than a higher-fat one.

4. If you absolutely must use a lower-fat cocoa, the best fix is to raise the cocoa butter content by substituting chopped unsweetened chocolate (around 55% cocoa butter) for a portion of the cocoa powder.  For example, the dutched cocoa available to me locally is low-fat according to the nutrition label (only 10%).  In order to have it work well in Rose’s recipes, I need to use about 73% cocoa powder and 27% unsweetened chocolate (this gives me a total cocoa butter content of 22%).  But this works best for recipes where the cocoa is dissolved in hot water, which also melts the unsweetened chopped chocolate.  (I think the stadium cake doesn’t call for the hot water treatment, is that right?)

5. The dutched issue- I have used Ghiradelli in the Cake Bible’s devil’s food cake, which is designed for non-dutched cocoa, and I didn’t much care for it.  I loved it heated with a little half/half and added to coffee, which is how I eventually used up most of the container.  There could be some issues resulting from acidity of the batter if you use the more acidic natual Ghiradelli cocoa.

All that said, your ghiradelli looks like it is full fat, 1.5/6 = 25%, so it may just be the issue of acidity.  Just a thought… do you have it in you to bake a couple of small test cakes from the base batter (Domingo, is that right? I don’t have my book right now), one with G&B and one with Ghiradelli?

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Posted: 27 June 2010 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Anne in NC - 27 June 2010 11:43 AM

I know weight:weight?5g:6g?things should be relatively the same, but it seems to me impossible that it would take 1T of ne product to weight the same as 1t of another essentially identical product.

This exact issue with cocoa powder is emphasized in “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread”.  However, that book draws what I consider to be a bizarre conclusion:  for cocoa powder, always use volume measurements rather than weight.  Needless to say, I think their conclusion is the exact opposite of what it should be.

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Posted: 27 June 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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This points to exactly what I love about Rose’s recipes!  It can be frustrating when it is difficult to get the ideal product to use in a recipe, but it ensures success!  I’ve found chocolate cakes difficult—likely due to this problem.  In Saskatchewan, specialty cocoas are impossible to find and there is generally one kind of cocoa avialable, Fry’s.  Any clue on how this one fairs?

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Posted: 27 June 2010 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Cocoa powder!  Who knew it was such a hot topic?  I have been wondea ring, is color indicative of quality or flavor?  I recently discovered two new stores that specialize in baking products and that also sell alkalized cocoa powder packed from bulk.  I bought one container, simply labelled Guittard (a Bay Area brand) dutch processed cocoa from the first store.  It was sort of a light brown color, similar to the color of Hershey’s cocoa powder. At the second store, they had a much wider variety, a Guittard “cocoa rouge” and also Vahlrona.  These two had a very dark, rich looking chocolate color and I believe were labelled as having 30%+ cacao.  So now, I’m kind of wary of using the first batch I bought.  I’ve been mixing it in with the other darker colored chocolate.  But does color matter?  Is it any indicator of freshness or flavor?

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Posted: 27 June 2010 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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CharlesT - 27 June 2010 04:32 PM

This exact issue with cocoa powder is emphasized in “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread”.  However, that book draws what I consider to be a bizarre conclusion:  for cocoa powder, always use volume measurements rather than weight.  Needless to say, I think their conclusion is the exact opposite of what it should be.

Actually, this conclusion isn’t so bad.  A cocoa with 10% fat will weigh differently than one with 25% fat. I prefer to correct the cocoa butter content, but measuring by volume will at least keep you from getting too much of a low-fat cocoa.

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Posted: 27 June 2010 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Julie - 27 June 2010 08:42 PM

A cocoa with 10% fat will weigh differently than one with 25% fat.

I don’t think they had any particular rationale behind their recommendation other than they saw that the weight varied a great deal between brands.  My complaint is the way in which they derived their recommendation, rather than the recommendation itself.  A difference in grain size might also be the cause of weight differences.

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Posted: 27 June 2010 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks Julie, and everyone, for your thoughtful replies.  I’m definitely sticking with the Green & Black’s.  I’ve used it, it’s great, and I’m taking the Ghiradelli back!!!  If I have to cross a non-Dutch process bridge, I will do so when I come to it! 

I think the volume thing is a bit problematic, too, in that, with almost no effort, I was able to make 1tsp of Green & Black’s go from 1 to 2 grams on my scale.  My guess is that measuring it would be like measuring flour by volume.  You hardly have to try at all to get probably 25% variations in quantity.

I looked up the Fry’s, and, aside from the fact that everyone who uses it loves it, it appears to be “normal” in its proportions of things.  I saw it at Fitday.com or something like that—1.2 g fat / 5g / 1T.

I’m calling Green & Black’s, though, tomorrow and letting them know about the packaging error—unless it’s not an error and there’s some other explanation.

Thanks again!!!  Will report back!

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