This Decadent Cocoa Powder Is the Secret to Better Brownies

Updated: Nov. 06, 2023

Valrhona cocoa powder just became a pantry staple.

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As an avid baker, I’m always on the hunt for gourmet ingredients that take my recipes to the next level. I’ve fallen head over heels for flavor-packed vanilla bean paste, sweet Luxardo cherries, creamy Irish butter—you name it.

So, when our Test Kitchen pros couldn’t stop raving about Valrhona cocoa powder, I knew I needed to add it to my Amazon cart ASAP. But at $18 a container—more than three times what I’m used to paying for a carton of cocoa—could it really live up to they hype? Here’s what I found out.

What is Valrhona cocoa powder?

Valrhona cocoa powder container, cocoa powder in a bowl, and a few browniesKatie Bandurski/Taste of Home

Marketed as “the partner of chefs,” Valrhona cocoa powder is made in France. It features a deep, reddish brown hue and is suitable for baked goods, chocolate confections and hot cocoa. The flavor is rich and nuanced, yet not bitter. Each 8.8-ounce carton contains 36 servings and, thanks to the cocoa’s intense flavor, a little bit goes a long way.

Product Specs

  • Dutch-processed
  • Made in France
  • 8.8-ounce container
  • Sugar-free
  • Easy to dissolve
  • Luxurious taste

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Why I Love It

grocery store cocoa powder in a bowl and the brownies made with it next to the valrhona cocoa powder in a bowl with the brownies made with itKatie Bandurski/Taste of Home

In the name of my sweet tooth (and science), I whipped up two batches of Taste of Home’s Best Fudgy Brownies. One batch featured run-of-the-mill grocery store cocoa and the other used Valrhona. 

Right away, I noticed a distinct difference in color. The grocery store cocoa yielded a pale, milk chocolate-covered batter while the Valrhona created a much darker batter. The latter also had a rich, chocolaty smell that made it hard to resist digging into the raw dough. 

Once baked and (let’s be honest, slightly) cooled, it was time for a taste test. I started with the control batch made with grocery store cocoa powder. Don’t get me wrong, they were good. After all, they’re still brownies!

But the Valrhona batch made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about baking with cocoa powder. These were intensely chocolatyrich and deep with a luxurious flavor. They were definitely on the darker side, but without a hint of bitterness. The Valrhona brownies reminded me of the flavor profile you get when adding espresso powder or brewed coffee to chocolate desserts, but without the extra step!

It should come as no surprise that I’m officially a Valrhona cocoa powder convert. I’m eager to whip up some other treats, including Ina Garten’s chocolate cake and homemade hot cocoa. A carton would also make a lovely gift for bakers.

But Don’t Take My Word for It!

I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of Valrhona’s rich, complex flavor. 

“This cocoa is the best cocoa I have ever tasted,” shares 5-star Amazon reviewer, Larry. “It is rich, deliciously smooth and worth the wait…You will not be disappointed in the quality and taste of this dark, rich, delectable chocolate.”

As previously mentioned, our Test Kitchen pros are smitten. They gave Valrhona the title of “best splurge” in their best cocoa powder tests. “This cocoa is velvety and has a nearly creamy mouthfeel when stirred into hot chocolate,” they say. “This deep-hued cocoa also has a terrific complexity of flavor; it’s not just plain ol’ chocolate, it’s chocolate that has subtle dark cocoa notes and some brightness that makes your tastebuds take notice.”

Where to Buy Valrhona Cocoa Powder

Valrhona cocoa powder containerKatie Bandurski/Taste of Home

You can pick up Valrhona cocoa powder on Amazon for $18, and it’s also available at Sur La Table for $14.50. After one chocolaty taste, you’ll be hooked!

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