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I have a recipe that I'd like to make that calls for 3oz of 72% cacao chocolate. I have plenty of 60% cacao chocolate, and I have Hershey's cocoa powder. The recipe is just for brownies, so absolute precision and supreme quality isn't required, but I would like to get the right level of "chocolatyness". 3oz = 85g. Going from 72% cocao to 60% cacao would leave me with a deficit of just over 10g of cacao. If cocoa is basically 100% cacao (is it?), then it would seem that just adding 10g of cocoa would be close enough to "right".

Since I'm dealing with chocolate, not anthrax, I'm disinclined to worry about the 10g (or whatever) surplus total chocolate weight. Would the semi-substitution work?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sure, you can add cocoa - but think of it as adding it to the brownies, not to the chocolate. And the thing to worry about isn't extra weight, but rather whether you're adding enough dry cocoa to upset the dry/water balance in the recipe. With only 10g and something flexible like brownies, it should be fine, but you'd have to be more careful with larger amounts or more sensitive baked goods like cookies.

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The meaning you imply for percentage of cacao is not quite accurate: it is the combined cocoa butter and cocoa solids in the chocolate, not just the percentage of flavorful solids. So the chocolate intensity of different brands labelled with the same percentage can vary.

Cocoa powder varies in the amount of cocoa butter remaining, from about 4% in supermarket brands to over 20% in some premium or specialty brands, but either way, they are 100% cocao.

Cocoa powder is also not conched, so it is much rougher in mouth feel than a true chocolate, and so not a perfect substitute for chocolate or part of chocolate. The cacao will also be selected from different cacao sources, and have a different flavor.

All said, once baked in a recipe, no one is going to know the difference between 60 and 70% chocolate. This is not something worth worrying about. Just bake with what you have.


If you are inclined to proceed anyway, you would use 2.24 ounces of chocolate, and 0.76 ounces of cocoa, for 3 total ounces with a cocao percentage of 70.1%.

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