Originally posted by alex_h
Hi all, I know this is slightly off-topic, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else to post this.
I have a cocoa-butter-related question. I’d like to replace the (regular) butter in a recipe for brownies with cocoa butter. Is there anything I need to pay attention to?
The recipe calls for cocoa powder and not the usual chocolate bars and, I think, 250g of butter.
Can I simply use 250g of cocoa butter instead? How might results differ from those when using butter?
Think of what this will do. If it calls for cocoa powder, the results will be very similar simply to using an unsweetened chocolate. It depends on how much cocoa powder there is, though. Unsweetened chocolate is in the range of 50-55% cocoa butter, usually.
The results will be very dry and quite crumbly. Paradoxically, it will have *less* chocolate flavour, not more. My experience is invarying: butter in baked goods powerfully enhances the chocolate flavour. I suspect this is because the fat better emulsifies the chocolate, giving better delivery in the mouth.
Butter has a very specific melting point while cocoa butter melts over a range of temperatures. So in the oven, the dough or batter won’t liquefy quickly. This will trap sugars and thus you are unlikely to get a nice glossy sheen or crust (which happens because the sugars fall out of suspension when the butter liquefies and migrate to the surface where they caramelise). This is one reason why butter also has a decided advantage over margarine or solid vegetable fats, which also have a broader melting range, for brownies.
Flour also absorbs the moisture in butter, which makes the resulting brownies not only moister, but also thicker, denser, and softer. Your brownies are likely to be somewhat hard, getting closer to a biscuitty texture.
If you want to add moisture I’d use a liquid sugar with some water content. Treacle would be my first choice. The only problem is that again this is likely to interfere with surface caramelisation, so you’ll need to adjust the ratios carefully. Don’t use too much treacle or the net result will be mushy and gummy.