Scharffen Berger, maker of premium chocolate, now makes cocoa powder using the same blend of beans as its chocolate. The deep flavor is apparent even when you taste the cocoa by itself.
While Scharffen Berger cocoa isn’t “Dutched” (alkalized to reduce harshness for a more mellow result), it still has the sophistication of an alkalized cocoa, while packing the big chocolate flavor of nonalkalized (“natural”) cocoa. Scharffen Berger uses fermented beans to make the cocoa powder, which not only seems to make alkalizing unnecessary, but also lets the cocoa retain more of the beans’ original character.
I tried Scharffen Berger cocoa alongside supermarket brands in brownie and cookie recipes; those made with Scharffen Berger had a rounder, more intense flavor.
But this cocoa really shines in simple recipes where cocoa is the star and there’s minimal cooking required. That’s when you’ll really taste the difference: in chocolate sauce (the recipe in the package is one of the best chocolate things I’ve ever tasted, and it doubles as a frosting), in hot cocoa, in frozen drinks, and for dusting truffles. A 6-oz. tin is about $9.50. To order, visit www.scharffenberger.com.