Chocolate and vanilla are the two most common flavors in sweet baked foods. Chocolate provides a desirable richness, while vanilla offers a white canvas for one or more colorful, flavorful extras.

Chocolate baked foods rely on cocoa for both color and flavor. The cocoa solids also influence body and texture, rendering it a highly functional ingredient. It also can be a significant contributor to cost and, at times, a fluctuating expense.

Some powdered caramel colors have color and flavor profiles similar to cocoa powder. They may be used as an extender but not as a total replacement in cocoa applications.

“Traditionally caramel colors have been used as a food color additive to impart a desired appearance to a range of baked goods,” said Brian Sethness, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, Sethness Roquette. “Caramel color, however, can do much more than just color finished products. It can serve as a major component in cost-saving alternatives for cocoa powder.”

Prova offers a line of organic-compliant and organic-certified cocoa extracts to enhance the chocolate flavor in any baked product. They allow the baker to reduce cocoa powder up to 40% and attain a moister product, often extending shelf life. When less cocoa powder is used, theoretically one can also reduce sugar in the formula, further cutting costs.

The company also has a line of low-cost alternatives to vanilla extract that are available in natural and combined natural and artificial forms. The company’s unique encapsulation technology allows bakers to use a select line of vanilla flavors that are made to hold up under high-heat baking temperatures.

Flavorchem Corp. offers natural vanilla extract enhancers that contain vanilla and may be used to simulate, replace or enhance the performance of pure vanilla extract. They provide an authentic taste, supply stability and consistent quality, said Jim Hamernik, director of research and development.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on flavors and colors, click here.