Chocolate making at home is really the story of Raw Cacao, not cocoa, although Cacao does originate from the wonderful fruit called the Cocoa Pod. My homemade chocolate is a very different product to the chocolate we are used to buying from the supermarket with many more health benefits and is a dark chocolate. Cacao is one of the richest sources of Magnesium available which is great for our heart and energy levels and it is full of other valuable antioxidants as well. As we don't temper the chocolate we make at home or add emulsifiers to ensure longevity on supermarket shelves, the health benefits of the cacao aren't removed in the chocolate making process.
Mr. HRK and I have been experimenting with making chocolate during the past few weeks and now I feel confident in passing on this recipe with some of the tips we have learned along the way. We can now make a batch of chocolate in around 15 minutes, set it in the freezer for 40 minutes and voila it is ready to eat in an hour from start to finish. This recipe makes about 20-30 chocolates depending on your mold size.
So prepare to relax. Making chocolate should be an enjoyable activity and is the perfect time to remember to enjoy life. Chocolate should make you feel good, and not guilty about eating it. This recipe is Lactose free (no dairy is used) and sugar free ( the natural sweetener Agave is used.) We like to turn on our favourite music, and make some chocolate. Because it is a dark chocolate, we don't feel the need to eat more than two chocolates at once. One with a coffee is perfect for me.
Vanilla powder for flavouring is used in this recipe and we have found it difficult to source locally. So we have been substituting with scraping the seeds from two Vanilla Beans, and crushing them, which works well. We have ordered Vanilla powder online which should arrive shortly.
Equipment you will need:
A pyrex heatproof bowl and a pyrex jug (Don't use metal)
A smallish saucepan (slightly smaller in diameter than the bowl so that the bowl can sit in it without touching the bottom or the 2cm of water simmering in the bottom of the saucepan)
Silicon Chocolate molds (or 2 ice cube trays will work)
1 small whisk
A sieve or flour sifter
Knife, chopping board & measuring spoons/cups
Kitchen thermometer (optional as I don't use one)
An apron for me
Ingredients for basic Raw Chocolate Recipe:
80g Cacao Butter chopped into small pieces Available from Health Food shops (Or 65 grams Cacao Butter and 15 grams Cold Pressed Coconut Oil).
55g Cacao powder (sifted through a sieve) Available from Supermarkets and Health Food shops. Cacao powder from Ecuador is very good but not essential.
*3 Tbsp Dark Agave Syrup. Available from Health Food shops.
1/4 tsp Vanilla Powder (you might need to purchase this online)
*Use a 15ml Tbsp measure
(I am still experimenting with other variations to the basic recipe such as using various nuts, Cacao Nibs, Goji berries and desiccated coconut. Stay tuned for more on that later.)
Let's make chocolate:
Bring approximately 2cm of water to the boil in a small saucepan
Place the chopped cacao butter & vanilla powder in your pyrex bowl. If you are also using Coconut Oil add it as well now. Coconut Oil was used in this batch for the photo, but generally we just use Cacao butter.
Turn off the heat and sit the bowl on the saucepan. The water shouldn't be touching the bowl. It's just the steam that will melt the butter.
Allow the steam to let the cacao butter completely melt.
Once melted, put a little heat under the cacao butter again (just get the steam going) then turn it off and add the agave syrup. Whisk VERY WELL to combine. If you want to use a thermometer, the temperature should be 46c.
Now mix in the sifted cacao powder and whisk well. You can sift the cacao straight from the sifter into the butter mix if you are well coordinated. Let the liquid chocolate sit for a minute on the steam, (ideally at 46C) then stir well.
Remove the pyrex bowl from your saucepan on the stove top. WIPE ANY CONDENSATION CAREFULLY from the bottom & edges of the bowl (Water + Chocolate = Tears!!)
Carefully pour the chocolate into your molds and shake or tap the molds well to allow any air bubbles to rise to the surface. This ensures a solid chocolate and no little imperfections on the surface of the chocolate, although this doesn't affect the flavour, and not everything has to be perfect. Mr. HRK is better at this step than I am. He just pours some chocolate from the jug over the mold tray, and then smooths the surface of the mold tray with a plastic spatula until all of the holes are filled with chocolate, and smooth and then starts on the next tray.
Your chocolate should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 8 weeks, however it is there to be eaten and shouldn't last that long.
We have made a batch using Hazelnuts, by just popping one Hazelnut into each mold, and whilst the crunch was great, the flavour of the Hazelnut wasn't as obvious as we expected. We also substituted aniseed powder for vanilla powder in one batch however we couldn't really taste the aniseed so perhaps we need to use more next time. I am looking forward to using Macadamia Nuts in my next batch, so I will let you know how that goes.
If you try this recipe, and I hope you do, I would love to hear of any successful variations that you have. One of the things we have found with this process, is that it is important to make the basic chocolate recipe first, and then stir in desiccated coconut or chopped nuts just before pouring.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and if you make some chocolate or have any other ideas I would love to hear from you.
(Thank you to Willow for initially showing us how to make chocolate and for sharing his recipe.)