I don't have baking chocolate for my recipe, I only have cocoa. Can I use it?
Like CulinaryLore on Facebook

Posted on 09 Oct 2012 17:26

You can substitute cocoa for baking chocolate with a simple formula. But only do this in a pinch.

The major difference between baking chocolate and cocoa is that baking chocolate has a lot more cocoa butter.

In order to substitute cocoa, you have to replace this missing fat.

You probably do not have any raw cocoa butter sitting around so the fat you use will have to be something different, which obviously will yield a slightly different result, depending on the recipe.

Remember that chocolate contains both solids, which is the cacao or dark chocolate solids, and fats, which is the cocoa butter.

Different chocolate products will have different proportions of solids and fats, so while most of them are interchangeable in recipes, the end result will be slightly affected in texture, structure, and taste by the differences in solids to fats.

The starting point for making baking chocolate and cocoa is similar.

First cacao nibs (cocoa nibs), with the outer hull removed are roasted.

Then the roasted nibs are crushed, generating heat, which melts the cocoa butter (fat) in the nibs, while crushing and grinding the solids (cacao, or dark chocolate solids).

The melted fat coats the solids, forming a paste known as a chocolate liquor.

cocoa powder on spoon

Coco Powder
image by Jakob Richter

cocoa powder on spoon

Coco Powder
image by Jakob Richter

Unsweetened cocoa is a chocolate liquor that is treated to a nice pressing in a hydraulic press to squeeze out most all of the cocoa butter, which looks a bit like cream. The remaining solids, now separated from the liquor, are pulverized into a powder.

Dutch process cocoa, in case you're wondering, has been treated with alkali to remove some of the acidity. It will tend to be darker and some products will have a slightly reddish color. It is milder and less acidic tasting (less bitter).

The familiar Hershey's cocoa in the brown can is regular cocoa powder.

Making "Baking Chocolate" Substitute from Cocoa Powder

The formula is very easy. To make one square (1 ounce) of baking chocolate, mix 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa with one tablespoon of butter.

You can also use margarine if you still use it. The unsweetened part is important. Don't try to use hot cocoa mix! Use this product according to your recipe's instructions.

This article contains one or more Amazon affiliate links. See full disclosure.

© 2018 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.