Brownies cooling on a baking tray
The Difference Between
Using Chocolate Vs Cocoa In Brownies
While there are plenty of choices when making brownies that will affect the final taste and texture, the most important is the choice between chocolate and cocoa powder.
Unlike cocoa, chocolate contains both cocoa solids and butter and plenty of fat by itself, which results in a less concentrated flavor. This produces very different brownies.
Cocoa butter tends to firm up harder than other fats, which is why brownies made with chocolate will be denser and fudgier than those made with cocoa.
The flavor of chocolate brownies will also be noticeably less chocolate-forward than with cocoa. Being cut by the butter, its taste is less intense than concentrated cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder is pure, unadulterated ground cocoa, so it has no fat whatsoever. These naturally softer properties result in more cake-like brownies.
Not only is cocoa powder more concentrated than chocolate, but since it has less moisture, you need fewer additives to balance it out, compounding the cocoa flavor even more.