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Wednesday, January 6, 2016
It Does Matter
I tend to think of myself as a pretty practical gal. When it comes to generic brands, for instance, all other things being equal, I find no reason to pay a premium price for an ingredient. Occasionally, I find there are exceptions where all things are not, in fact, equal. For example, take domestic pre-grated Parmesan cheese; the stuff in the green can is always better than the store brand version.
Recently, since I started doing a lot of baking for hire, I've been going through tubs of cocoa powder. It seems like such a basic ingredient I thought, surely it's all the same, right? Wrong!!! I made the mistake once. I will not make it again. I made my classic chocolate cake and all I changed was using store brand cocoa powder instead of Hershey's classic cocoa. The cake was horrible! The lack of chocolaty flavor was so obvious and overwhelming, I could hardly believe it.
But upon close inspection of the powders, it became obvious. The store brand powder's aroma was so weak in comparison and so was it's color! Take a close look a the picture above. Which is which? Depending on the type of screen you are using, you might have to move your head around to get a good look at the difference, but it is clearly there. Look how much richer the color of the powder on the left is (Hershey's). Lesson learned... some things are worth the premium price. Now, what do I do with the rest of that container of store brand cocoa? It feels wrong throwing it away, but I sure don't want to use it!