Kitchen & Pantry

Brownies baked with cocoa powder and oil: dry and spongy rather than moist and fudgy Brownies baked with cocoa powder and oil

In the various chocolate-based recipes in the archive, one question that has been repeatedly asked is about substituting cocoa powder for melted chocolate. Most of these questions come from people who intend to sell their baked products so they prefer to use cocoa powder which is less expensive and has a longer shelf life than chocolate. But there are also those who ask because of the mere convenience of cocoa powder over chocolate. Just measure and dump into the mixing bowl, no melting, no double boilers, less utensils to wash. But the worse questions come from people who are merely too lazy to look for good baking chocolate.

So, the time came when I ran out of chocolate but had this huge craving for brownies. I went ahead and baked brownies using cocoa powder. This post should answer all the questions about the wisdom of substituting cocoa powder for melted chocolate. brownies1

Note that I have done this experiment twice already using two different recipes. The first experiment yielded brownies that were slightly chewy but not exactly fudgy. They still had that cake-like texture which, for me, isn’t a good thing. I understand that some people prefer “cake-like” brownies which I find to be a misunderstanding of what a brownie is. A brownie is essentially a cookie. So, if it is “cake-like” (not to be confused with brownie cake) then, there’s something terribly off about it.

Considering the slightly chewy texture of the brownies in the first batch, I thought there was hope. No need to run to the baking supply store for chocolate just yet. I just had to find a better recipe. And I baked brownies a second time again using cocoa powder and oil.

The second batch which you see in the three photos in this post was even worse than the first. It wasn’t even slightly chewy but downright dry and spongy. Brownies baked with cocoa powder and oil

In conclusion, no more brownies with cocoa powder and oil for me. I will stick with:

The tried-and-tested chocolate fudge brownie recipe in the archive; and
The secret to chewy, fudgy brownies

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