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You already know about collagen, but is alkalized cocoa – the ingredient used in Vital Proteins® Chocolate Collagen Peptides ($25; shop now) that makes that chocolate boost to your scoop a reality – also part of your VP vocabulary? Also known as Dutch cocoa or European-style cocoa, this form of cocoa powder is not only palatable but convenient in that it more easily dissolves in liquids (perfect if you find yourself saving every chocolate recipe you come across) than other forms of cocoa.
Raise your chocolate IQ with this crash course on alkalized cocoa powder.
So, What Is Alkalized Cocoa Powder?
Simply put, alkalized cocoa is cocoa that's treated with an alkali solution, like potassium carbonate. This reduces the acidity and darkens the color of the cocoa powder. It's a process that's been used for centuries, according to John Newell, Cocoa & Chocolate Expert at Nestlé.
"The alkalization process was developed in the nineteenth century in the Netherlands to improve the solubility of cocoa in milk or water-based beverages," Newell tells Lively.
A few benefits of using alkalized cocoa powder include improved solubility (aka it dissolves more easily in liquids), and reduced acidity and bitterness, which in turn delivers a milder, more balanced cocoa flavor.
What Is The Difference Between Alkalized & Non-Alkalized Cocoa?
It’s important to note that alkalized cocoa and non-alkalized cocoa are not interchangeable. In the case of baking, for example, using natural cocoa will result in a sharp chocolate flavor and light brown color. Alkalized cocoa is known for its reddish-brown hue because of the Dutch process it undergoes. Another difference? Natural cocoa boasts a pH that falls between 5 and 6 (as a reminder, the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14), making it slightly acidic when compared to alkalized cocoa, which sits at a 7.
Additionally, not all forms of natural cocoa are created equal; some may be slightly bitter than others. In the end, it really comes down to how it's manufactured.
As previously stated, alkalized cocoa powder can be found in our new Chocolate Collagen Peptides, a decadent twist on your favorite unflavored collagen. Ready to scoop up this flavored collagen powder? Shop now, then head over to our full list of collagen recipes that will satisfy every chocolate lover's sweet tooth.