Dutch-processed cocoa powder (also known as Dutched chocolate, European-style cocoa, or alkalized cocoa) is an ingredient that may be called for in chocolate desserts, homemade ice cream, and hot chocolate recipes. It is unsweetened cocoa that has been treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral. This gives it a milder, less acidic flavor, and a darker color.
If you shop in a well-stocked grocery store, you should be able to find it tucked alongside the unsweetened cocoa powder. But if a recipe calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder and you are without it, there are substitutions you can make from basic pantry ingredients, such as unsweetened cocoa powder (natural cocoa powder), baking soda, and unsweetened baking chocolate.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and Baking Soda
Replace the Dutch-processed cocoa powder called for in your recipe with an equal amount of unsweetened cocoa powder. Then, knock back the acidity by adding 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder used.
By adding baking soda to unsweetened cocoa, you are neutralizing the acid in the cocoa, so it doesn't interact unfavorably with the other ingredients in the recipe. With that small tweak, unsweetened cocoa powder should perform much like Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the recipe, though the finished recipe may be a bit lighter in color.
Alternatively, you can replace the baking powder called for in the recipe with half as much baking soda. Add the same amount of unsweetened cocoa powder as Dutch-processed cocoa powder that the recipe calls for.
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate and Baking Soda
If you don't have cocoa powder, you can use unsweetened baking chocolate. Replace 3 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder with 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate, plus 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder called for. This will increase the fat in the recipe, so it's best to only use this substitute if you'll be replacing less than 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder (the equivalent of 2 ounces of baking chocolate). If you alter the fat content in the recipe too much, it could affect how the ingredients work together and change the final product in ways that you can't predict and may not be happy with.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
If you're working on a recipe that doesn't include any baking powder or baking soda, like ice cream or pudding, Dutch-processed and unsweetened cocoa powder are much more interchangeable. Use an equal amount of unsweetened cocoa in place of the Dutch-processed, and you'll find that your dish is still quite delicious, although not quite as dark in color or as rich as intended.
Where to Find Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
This ingredient may be more difficult to find in small grocery stores and local markets. If you are having no luck, Dutch-processed cocoa powder is readily available online. Once purchased, be sure to store it in an air-tight container to preserve its quality.