Cocoa

Cocoa

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Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

A product of the cacao bean which, when fermented, roasted, hulled and ground, produces a rich, reddish-brown liquid which contains about 50% of the fat called cocoa butter. It is at this stage that cocoa and chocolate undergo their separate processes. To make cocoa a proportion of the cocoa butter is removed; the remaining liquid sets rock hard and is then pulverised. This needs to be sweetened before it becomes palatable. Unlike cocoa, chocolate retains all the natural cocoa butter found in the liquid extracted from the beans, so is a richer product than cocoa.

When using cocoa to make a hot drink, it should be mixed to a paste with a little cold milk or water before being added to the hot milk; otherwise, it will be lumpy. To improve the flavour of drinking cocoa, let it simmer for a minute or two, then whisk it to a froth before serving.

Instant cocoa, known as drinking chocolate, is pre-cooked cocoa to which sugar and flavourings have been added. It mixes into hot milk easily and does not require cooking. Cocoa powder is used in flavouring cakes, biscuits and desserts; indeed, some people prefer cocoa to chocolate for a chocolate cake or sauce.

See also Chocolate.

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