New study shows that cocoa flavanols can be preserved during cooking and baking

Aug 13, 2009

In a study published this month in the Journal of Food Science, scientists from The Hershey Company and Brunswick Laboratories (Norton, MA) showed that over 85% of the cocoa flavanols were preserved in recipes for chocolate frosting, hot cocoa drink and chocolate cookies. In chocolate cakes, antioxidant activity and cocoa flavanols could be largely retained by using a combination of baking powder and baking soda.

The scientists initially saw that 50 to 95% of the flavanols were lost in making chocolate cakes. After further investigation, they found that the use of baking soda in the chocolate cake recipe was associated with increased pH of the cake, darker color, and a loss of flavanols and antioxidant activity during the baking process. Use of only baking powder in the cake recipes allowed complete retention of the antioxidant activity and cocoa flavanols, but resulted in a flat cake. By partially substituting baking powder for the baking soda, the cake pH was moderated and almost all of the flavanols were retained while still resulting in a cake with acceptable color and height.

According to the published report, numerous studies have reported on the fate of naturally occurring flavanols during cocoa bean fermentation and roasting, but there's been little investigation into what happens during cooking with cocoa powder. In this study, researchers selected recipes from cookbooks for a variety of cocoa-containing foods such as chocolate frosting, hot cocoa drinks, chocolate cookies and chocolate cakes. The recipes were prepared using Hershey's Natural Cocoa Powder and then measured for antioxidant activity, total polyphenols, and flavanols.

"According to our estimates, approximately one third of cocoa ingredients used in the United States is cocoa powder, which is used in a diverse array of chocolate-flavored foods including beverages, cookies, cakes, snack bars and ice cream. Natural cocoa powder, like most dark chocolates, is a concentrated source of naturally occurring flavanols and can be a significant dietary source of flavanols" says David Stuart, Ph.D., Director of the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition.

Although previous studies have reported on the effect of fermentation and roasting on cocoa flavanols, this is the first paper to report on the effect of common cooking processes on cocoa flavanols in a wide variety of products ranging from a hot cocoa drink to chocolate frosting and chocolate cake. This study showed that the choice of leavening agent and its effect on pH during baking is a key factor in the levels of antioxidant activity and flavanols in a baked product.

Source: The Hershey Company

Explore further: Funding review casting shadow over Portuguese research could cloud other countries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Boosting brain power -- with chocolate

Feb 21, 2007

Eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills, a University of Nottingham expert has found.

Flavanols in cocoa may offer benefits to the brain

Feb 18, 2007

A special cocoa made to retain naturally occurring compounds called flavanols may have the potential to help maintain healthy brain function and chart the course for future research that could lead to new solutions for preventing ...

Cocoa could be a healthy treat for diabetic patients

May 26, 2008

For people with diabetes, sipping a mug of steaming, flavorful cocoa may seem a guilty pleasure. But new research suggests that indulging a craving for cocoa can actually help blood vessels to function better and might soon ...

Recommended for you

How to win a Tour de France sprint

Jul 22, 2014

The final dash to the line in a Tour de France sprint finish may appear to the bystander to be a mess of bodies trying to cram into the width of a road, but there is a high degree of strategy involved. It ...

Bible museum planned for US capital

Jul 18, 2014

The devout Christian family that upended a part of President Barack Obama's health care law aims to open a Bible museum in Washington in 2017, a spokesperson for the project said Friday.

User comments : 0