* Prices may differ from that shown
I am fussy about my hot drinks and I find most hot chocolate powders too weak for me. The only one that I really liked was the Tesco own label one because of it's high cocoa content compared to the branded versions, but as they have changed the recipe I decided to go back to plain old cocoa. Now I wonder why I ever relegated it just to baking in the first place! I buy Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa powder because it is the easiest to get hold of for me, as well as fair trade. A 125g tub most recently cost me £2.20.
The cocoa comes in a smart looking tub with a firmly shutting lid so I don't bother to transfer it to another container. I am confident that it will stay fresh as it is, so the last spoon full tastes as good as the first. This is important to me because it isn't a drink I make everyday. As the recommended use is a teaspoon full of powder per cup, the tub lasts a good while and makes the initial higher price not so bad as it seems. I keep a separate tub for baking with which goes down faster but the intense chocolate taste it brings to the like of cakes and brownies means it is still worth the purchase price to me. The cocoa contains only one other ingredient - potassium carbonate which has apparently been used by chocolate makers for 180 years to bring out the richest chocolate flavours, as well as to take the edge of the acidity. I am happy for it to be there and the lack of any other filler ingredients makes the drink seem higher quality to me.
The aroma is absolutely delicious - it seems creamier and sweeter than the drink actually tastes, but the undertone is that characteristic slightly bitter, almost earthy cocoa smell.. It is mouth watering, and the drink is just as good on the taste buds. It takes a bit more time and effort to make than a similar hot chocolate drink with instant powder as you need to make it up with hot milk, but some things are worth the effort! With a bit of careful stirring it dissolves well and doesn't leave you with any unpleasant lumps. Sometimes a bit of cocoa powder stays at the bottom of the cup but this is tasty to scrape out - yes, I am that much of a chocoholic..
The drink tastes pleasantly milky whilst still being chocolatey if you use a teaspoonful of cocoa per cup, but I prefer to use an extra to one teaspoon for a deeper, richer taste. Either way, it tastes lovely and is a supremely comforting a hot drink, especially before bed. I don't think this powder has the same bitterness that some do, it is more subtle but there's enough there to appeal to those in my family that lacks my sweet tooth. This is nevertheless one of the few hot drinks that I can not only bear to drink without sugar, but actually enjoy that way. I occasionally add a bit, or a stevia sweetener but I always add less than I am tempted to with other drinks.
As a baking ingredient this is excellent. The intense but smooth flavour means a little goes a long way as a flavouring. The fine good quality powder is also easy to blend in with other ingredients after a minimum of sieving. I think it combines well with hazelnut and almond flavours in particular but anything that would go with chocolate goes with cocoa in my opinion.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this cocoa whether you want to bake with it or drink it. It is a high quality product as well as being organic and fair trade. I worked out the supermarket equivalents didn't work out much cheaper per gram when I last checked, and the other problem is they seem to disappear off the shelves for months on end, presumably due to some supply problem. I have nearly always been able to find the Green & Blacks on offer somewhere, which also helps - it is currently on sale for £1.76 in Tesco's for example. I like the intense choc taste and will definitely be stocking up on a tub or two.
I've never been too particular about what kind of cocoa powder I buy, when it comes to baking, since I like to melt some good quality chocolate in with the mix anyway, and cocoa powder is expensive stuff. Instead of cocoa powder when I am making a chocolatey drink, I tend to stick to instant hot chocolate powder because a) it is the economical choice for me, b) it is easier to make and c) you do not have to spend all that time trying to get the cocoa-sugar balance just right. So whenever a recipe called for cocoa powder I used to think I was being clever by scrimping and saving and buying the cheapest brand (or whichever one was on promotion) I could find. I really did not think that there would be that much difference.
It wasn't until a friend made for me some delicious hot Green and Black's hot cocoa that I finally noticed the difference and it occurred to me that I should start investing in some cocoa powder that was actually good quality. This cocoa tasted of quality and lovely chocolatey bitterness. I have loved the dark richness of Green and Black's chocolate, which is really quality stuff so I thought I would go out and buy some for myself.
Price wise, this is not the cheapest cocoa powder to be found. From Tesco, it is currently £2.20 for a 125g tub. Now bear in mind that this is not a huge tub, it is quite small in fact and seemed to me at first to be a little bit of a rip off on the part of Green and Black's. However, after tasting it, the price is easily understood. After all, you do have to pay for quality, and quality is what you will get with this organic cocoa powder. After all, it is 'made with the finest organic fair trade cocoa beans'.
This comes packaged in a classy Green and Black's tub, a nice dark brown colour to match the cocoa powder. It has nice 'embossed' golden writing on it making it look super fancy, and definitely looks good in your kitchen cupboard. The lid (also dark brown) can easily be pulled open (with a helpful 'lift here' printed on the lid) and replaced in order to keep the cocoa fresh. The BBE can be found on the bottom of the tub.
Tastes delicious in cocoa (for drinking) and baked goods also. I recently made some brownie cookies with this in and they were so delicious, deep, dark and chocolatey. They definitely tasted better than they had done with the cheap cocoa powder I used to use. They were so indulgent; you could taste the quality with every bite. Sometimes, when I am feeling super classy, I put half a spoonful inside my coffee as my little something extra. Also, if you are looking to spice up your morning porridge, I would recommend swirling some of this cocoa powder in- a small bit goes a long way- along with a bit of sugar for a chocolatey treat.
As a little extra, Green and Black's is a fair trade and organic chocolate brand.
To be honest, after trying this, I don't think I'll be needing any other cocoa powder, ever! Unfortunately, because of the price I may have to compromise, but if I use this as a treat and upon occasion, then a pot should last me quite some time and actually be good value for money. Yes it is expensive, but yes it is delicious and completely worth it also. I would highly recommend this to you and your friends and your friends' friends with 5 out of 5 stars.
I've been looking forward to reviewing Green & Black's cocoa powder, to have a reason to stop for a while and consider it fully is a real pleasure. I adore the taste of Green & Black's chocolate products, in my view the best on the market. The company started in London 1991 making the world's first organic chocolate, the now famous 70% dark chocolate bar. I love the original values of the company which are there in the name 'Green' represents the chocolate being organic and fairtrade and 'Black' the rich and distinctive flavour of the cocoa beans. Cadbury bought Green & Black's in 2005 and disappointingly the American multinational company Kraft Foods now own Cadbury, however we are assured the quality and ethos of Green & Black's will remain the same.
The cocoa powder comes in a matt chocolate coloured strong cardboard and foil lined tub with a black plastic lid, the Green & Black's famous logo on the front in gold lettering. The packaging represents quality straight away. On the back a description begins with (quote) "Our organic cocoa is made with the finest cocoa beans, grown in the shade of rainforest trees" I may be totally taken in here but I get such a wonderful image in my mind from reading this!
As you open the lid you are met with an intense yet mellow cocoa aroma, the powder is dark, velvety and fine, not as dusty as other cocoa powders I have used. The taste of the pure cocoa is a deliciously deep Green & Black's flavour (like the 80% dark chocolate bar) and somewhat bitter but not as much as I expected.
The cocoa powder in recipes produces rich and delicious results. I find less cocoa powder is required otherwise additional sugar is needed. I think this is to do with the intense flavour, the Green & Black's 70% chocolate bar has more sugar in it than the Green & Black's milk chocolate bar, although it is less sweet by far. So although Green & Black's cocoa powder costs a little more than other well known brands it can work out to be reasonably comparable in price as less is needed.
I have used the cocoa in many chocolate recipes; cakes, cookies, tarts, puddings and sauces. It is especially good for dusting chocolate truffles, the velvety powder gives a perfect coating. When my daughter eats one of these she literally closes her eyes. The recipe Pear and Chocolate Tatin included in the latest Green & Black's cookbook ' Ultimate Chocolate Recipes: The New Collection' by Micah Carr-Hill, lists cocoa powder as an ingredient in the pastry base and this I thought worked extremely well. Cakes or desserts baking in the oven create the most heavenly chocolate aroma I have ever known. Green & Black's cocoa with hot milk for a chocolate drink it is also delicious and it is equally good for milkshakes.
I feel pleased to purchase a product with the ethos of Green & Black's, once again impressed by the quality of their products and delighted with the results from this organic cocoa powder. Highly recommend. If you love the unique flavour of Green & Black's this cocoa powder is a must have.
Thank you for reading this review x
© Lunaria 2012
Well it might be a sign of my age, but I do like a hot, milky drink before bedtime. If I can persuade my other half to make it for me while he makes his tea, even better! Now I should clarify that's about all he does in the culinary department. But I digress. I used to have a mug of Horlicks instant mix or Green & Black's drinking chocolate, but to be honest I don't have a very sweet tooth and I realised I was not really enjoying either of these because they were a bit too sweet for me. I'm one of those people who prefers my chocolate with 70% cocoa solids or more - I don't like Galaxy, for instance, as I find it a bit sickly - so you can see where I'm coming from.
I can't remember for sure when I changed, but I do recall doing my weekly shopping in the local supermarket, being down the beverages aisle and having a bit of a light bulb moment. I was fancying a change, and suddenly thought: 'I used to enjoy a cup of cocoa; why not try it again?' Seeing the Green and Black product, and knowing I liked and trusted their products, I decided to indulge myself and give it a try. More pricey than comparable brands, perhaps, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't be wasted.
Another thing that influenced my choice was its ethical credentials. I try to buy fairly traded products when I can, having seen first hand the poverty in Kenya and having read about some of the reported issues around child labour in the cocoa trade. I wish there were more such products.
I looked forward to my first mug of cocoa when I got home. I think other reviewers have commented that it's not that easy to remove the gold seal and care is needed. I would agree, but it does at least mean that you can be sure that the product is truly sealed. The aroma of chocolate wafted up straight away and I was pretty sure I'd made a good choice even at this stage. The directions suggest that you mix one teaspoon of cocoa powder with a little cold milk, then top up your mug with hot milk. To keep the calorie count down, I will often use half milk and half water. I find the taste still very pleasant. As I said, I don't have a very sweet tooth so I don't add sugar, but to be honest I think you could make it any way you wanted and it would still have a good chocolaty flavour. I found it to be rich and mellow in flavour.
Now for some product details
It comes in a cylindrical tub, coloured an appropriate shade of brown, containing 125g or 4.4 oz. The FAIRTRADE and Soil Association Organic symbols are displayed on the front, either side of the brand details. There is a lot of information in smaller print on the reverse. It's not terribly easy to read in some lights as they have used gold lettering on a brown background. There are the standard potential allergy notices; the product is suitable for vegetarians, and an explanation is given about the addition of potassium carbonate to 'to balance out the acidity and bring out the rich chocolaty aroma.' This is called Dutching, apparently, a technique used for making hot chocolate for close on 200 years so it must be OK! I would have been interested to know where the cocoa was sourced from, but couldn't find the information on the label. Green and Black's website, given later in the review, indicates that their beans come from Belize and the Dominican Republic. I aid £1.89 for it this week at my local Tesco store.
The usual nutritional information is given. The calorie count is probably most important, at 345 per 100g. The website tells me that a 3.5g serving is 12 kcals. A mug made with skimmed milk would be 29 kcals and under 2g fat. You could make a drink of 45 kcals if you mixed the powder with cold milk, as usual, and topped up with hot water. I can't say I've tried this, but if I start that diet I made need to! It reads to me as though both sugar and salt levels are relatively low, though not the fat. I am no nutritional expert but that seems. Of course these levels will change significantly if you're adding sugar and milk, which might be worth thinking about if you're watching your diet.
The thing I haven't said, because it wasn't the main reason I bought the product, is tha cocoa is a versatile product that can be used in a range of ways in cooking. If you make cakes you will probably have used it to make chocolate cakes. You might also use it to make or coat chocolate truffles, ice cream, mousses or biscuits. I don't have the Green and Black recipe book, but if you go to the website, www.greenandblacks.com/uk you will find a good selection of recipes, many accompanied by short videos.
May I give you one of my favourite recipes for a simple chocolate cake? It's a variation of a quick Victoria Sandwich and uses only cocoa powder rather than melting chocolate.
1 tablespoon of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of hot water, blended together in a large bowl & left to slightly cool.
100 g soft margarine or butter if you're feeling indulgent!
100g caster sugar
100g Self-Raising flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
Heat the oven to 180˚C, 350˚F, Gas mark 4.
Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Add the remainder of the cake ingredients to the cocoa and water. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. You can do this mechanically or manually.
Turn it into your unturned tin, place in the centre of the oven and cook for abot 40 minutes until the cake is coming away slightly from the sides & springs back when pressed.
Let it cool in the tin for several minutes, then turn on to a cooling rack, remove any paper, and leave to cool completely before icing.
For the Chocolate Fudge Icing:
40g butter - and butter is really good here!
25g sieved cocoa powder - sieveing makes the icing much smoother and easier to mix
2-3 tablespoons milk
Approx 100g icing sugar, ideally sieved but I don't always!
You melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the cocoa. Over a low heat, cook for about a minute. Take it off the heat, add the milk and icing sugar and beat well. I sometimes find I need to adjust the quantity of icing sugar. Cool it to a spreading consistency but beware! It will set a bit like fudge if you leave it too long! Spread over the top of the cake and decorate as liked. [You can make the topping for other recipes, like for decorating biscuits, too; it's yummy but naughty!] Enjoy! Sorry, no calorie count!
Yes, I did eventually train him to make a decent mug of cocoa! Thank you for reading this.
This review can also be found on the Ciao website under the username Viborg
So, I love chocolate; well, who doesn't? I also love baking, so it goes to figure that I might just need to make chocolate cakes. Darn, there goes the diet again! I already have a bit of a crush on Green and Blacks chocolate so I was pretty chuffed to discover they have brought out a new baking range, which includes cocoa powder. In addition there is also a recipe book (which I need to get my hands on!) and a 'baking' chocolate, 72% cocoa solids.
The cocoa powder is organic and is importantly fair trade certified. This is actually 100% cocoa powder; no unrequited extras here.
You can use it to bake with or it makes good hot chocolate made with milk (and for me a decent spoon of sugar and some fluffy marshmallows on top!).
The cocoa powder comes in one size, 125g. It comes in a classy round black container and is foil sealed for freshness. I loved the smell when I cracked the foil, heavenly! When I used this for baking I sifted it as it does clump a little and can go poof and cover you when you start to whisk it with your other ingredients. I made the mistake of tasting my batter, lets just say I was back to being a kid wanting to lick the bowl out!
The results of my labours in the kitchen were a great success and a huge hit with my family. They did not stick around for long. I have made the same recipe with an own brand cocoa and whilst nice it didn't have that rich, luxury taste of the real thing.
I made chocolate fairy cakes (cup cakes) today and they were mighty divine, so here is the recipe in case you are looking for some choccie inspiration:
+Chocolate Cupcakes+ (as from Hummingbird Bakery - to be reviewed soon)
*Preheat oven to 1700C (Gas mark 3) and put paper cases in a 12 hole baking tray
*Put plain flour (100g), cocoa powder (20g), caster sugar (140g), baking powder (1.5 tsp) and salt (pinch) in a bowl and beat on a slow setting until combined.
*Whisk whole milk (120ml), an egg and vanilla extract (0.25 tsp) together in a jug and then pour half into the flour mixture. Mix until smooth, then slowly add the remaining milk mixture until smooth again.
*Spoon into the paper cases and cook for 20-25 minutes
*Allow to cool and then decorate (try butter icing with touch more of the cocoa!)
***Where to buy***
I bought mine from Tesco for £1.59. From checking 'My Supermarket' it is available at Sainsburys and Ocado at the same price but isn't sold by Asda.
Don't take my word for it; go and get some and give it a go. You won't look back I promise!
One thing I always save enough Weight Watchers points for is a decent mug of hot chocolate at the end of the evening, especially in this cold weather we're having. One I adore is Green & Blacks Cocoa which is made in the traditional way with hot milk and perhaps a spoon of sugar to really round off a delicious mug of hot chocolate.
I use it mainly for my nightly hot chocolate, but have successfully baked with it and made chocolate sauce or added it to icing sugar to create a quick chocolate icing to top digestive biscuits or fairy cakes.
The powder has a rich and rounded chocolate flavour, somewhat bitter because it has such a high cocoa content but with an aroma and flavour of extremely good quality cocoa. It's a fine powder which clumps into small balls, but I find these easy enough to disperses with a hard bang of the container on the work surface. It's not a hot chocolate powder that you can eat from the container with a spoon, it's too bitter for that, but when you slosh the hot milk onto it this seems to sweeten it and the creaminess of the milk adds a wonderful depth to the hot chocolate.
The easiest way to make this cocoa up is to microwave a mug of milk for 2 minutes, while this is warming mix a heaped teaspoon of cocoa with a drop of cold milk to make a thick paste. Stir for the whole 2 minutes that the milk is warming to ensure there are no bits and that all of the powder is dissolved into the milk. As soon as the microwave pings pour the hot milk over the cold paste, stirring thoroughly for a minute to create a lovely frothy mug of chocolate. You can also heat the milk on the hob but this takes longer and leaves you with a pan to wash, use the microwave for jobs like this to save time and energy.
The hot chocolate you end up with is worth making that little extra effort of heating milk rather than just putting the kettle on. It's rich, creamy and full of the flavour of good quality chocolate. It's nicely bitter-sweet, I don't tend to add sugar but will occasionally float a few mini marshmallows on the top which help to sweeten it even more. I'm a fan of these bitter cocoas but my daughter has to add two spoons of sugar before it's sweet enough for her to drink, although in my opinion this overwhelms the flavour of the chocolate somewhat.
The chocolate cupcakes I made with these came out wonderfully, using this cocoa rather than the cheaper variety gave a more grown up feeling to the cakes and added a real depth of flavour which everyone commented on. These were also dressed with a butter cream I'd made using this cocoa and a chocolate icing, also made with my Green & Blacks Cocoa. They were almost too good to serve to the children, but I made sure I kept me and my daughter a few on the side.
I pay £1 a tub from my local cash and carry, who seems to have had unlimited supplied of these for the past 12 months. The last time I bought it in Tesco it was priced at around £1.69 although I have no idea of the current price, this is worth a couple of quid of anyones money though. If you like a quality hot chocolate, one made with milk not water, that will satisfy your chocolate craving AND warm your cockles then this is certainly one to try. The best I've come across anyway.
I quite enjoy the odd bit of baking at home, and nowadays Harry likes to help me stir the cake mixtures as well! I've been making fairy cakes since I was little with my mum, and I've recently experimented with making some chocolate fairy cakes. I tried a Tesco cocoa powder which was disgusting, so I moved onto my mum's old favourite cocoa powder, and they were absolutely delicious!
The cocoa powder that I tried was Green & Black's Organic Cocoa Powder. The company is probably best known for their Organic chocolate which can be found in most shops these days, but they have been branching out producing some cooking products, easter eggs and various other food items. It is a litte more expensive than some cocoa powders in the shops, but for me, those extra pennies are very much worth it!
The cocoa powder comes in a little brown pot with a good sealable lid, so that it stays airtight and keeps your cocoa powder at its best. When you buy it, it does have a foil top so you know it is fresh, and when you peel this back for the first time, the rich aroma of the cocoa hits your nose immediately, and it really is delicious. It isn't overly sweet, but just incredibly rich smelling. Yum!
The powder itself is a medium brown colour, probably more the colour of milk chocolate than of dark chocolate. I did expect that the powder was going to be dark but there you go! It is a very fine powder, with a few lumps in it, which is why it is best for you to sieve the product before using it for any baking purposes. I find if I spill a little it goes everywhere like a chocolate cloud, and even when I'm sieving, it makes a mess, but I guess that's the same for any fine powder when you're cooking!
Obviously I haven't eaten the cocoa powder on it's own because that would just be disgusting, but I have used it in 4 different recipes; a chocolate sponge cake, chocolate fairy cakes, chocolate chip muffins and to make chocolate icing as well. For each of these things, the cocoa powder has created a wonderful sweet yet rich chocolate taste, and never fails me! It isn't too strong of a taste, it's not bitter and it certainly isn't too over-powering but it just a rich gorgeous taste. When I am cooking with this, my house smells gorgeous, the smell from the cocoa powder is just divine.
I think what I like best about this powder is the ingredients. 100% Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Powder. There is no rubbish in this powder, no additives or E numbers, so is completely natural! I make my own cakes because I like knowing what I am putting into them and what is going into Harry as well, so to know it is just completely natural is superb. Also, for a chocolate product, it isn't to unhealthy either. 1 teaspoon, or 3.5 grams of the powder is just 12 calories / 0.8 grams of fat.
So would I recommend this? I really would! There is nothing worse than going to the effort of making a chocolate cake, and then not being able to taste any chocolate in it at all! But with this powder, you can't go wrong because it gives you a great chocolate taste every time. The taste is rich, the smell is so divine and it is just a great little cooking product. Apparently it can also be used to make a cocoa drink too, although I haven't tried this yet!
I get my pot of Cocoa Powder from Tesco, as I can't seem to buy it in my local Sainsburys. For a 125 gram pot, I paid 95 pence today, although I remember last year I did pay over £1.30 so I'm not sure why the price has dropped so much (shouldn't complain really should I?!). I'm making Harry's birthday cake tomorrow (his party is tomorrow, his birthday is Monday 17th!) which is why I bought this one, I just know I will get a great cake from it! Super value for a super little product! A must try for any bakers out there!
For more information on the Green & Blacks company, and their products, visit their website at www.greenandblacks.com/uk
Thank you for reading!
And although Dooyoo have listed this under drink, obviously it can be used as a food as well, so both categories would technically be correct!
Ideal for enjoying with hot milk as a soothing night time drink.