When it comes to candy and delicious desserts, there’s nothing quite like chocolate. Whether you love milk, dark, or white chocolate, it’s delicious food that can be eaten alone or added to many dishes. If you enjoy the taste of chocolate, making it yourself at home is easy and fun. This guide explains more about the benefits of making your own chocolate at home, the history of chocolate, and more. Even if you’re new to making this sweet treat, it’s a fun way to try something new.
The Benefits Of Making Chocolate At Home
There are lots of great perks to making your own homemade chocolate, including:
- It’s fun! Try out new things to add to your chocolate or host a chocolate-making party and invite some friends over to join you. The practice of making this sweet treat is a ton of fun, and you’ll start to perfect your skills and learn new techniques along the way.
- Learning benefits. Cooking is a wonderful way to learn about new cultures, flavors, and techniques. Try your hand at making chocolate at home and discover new recipes, methods, and more as you go.
- Share with family and friends. Spend time with your kids making your own batches of yummy chocolate. Discover how to make your own chocolate bar, and have friends and family come up with their own delicious things they can add. Host a chocolate-making party for a great way to bond and spend time with those you love. Homemade chocolate also makes a wonderful gift too.
- Start a business. Once you’re confident about your chocolate-making abilities, why not start a business? You can sell handmade goodies to people in your community or online to make some extra money.
A Brief Introduction To Chocolate
Chocolate has a long history that can be traced back to the time of the Mayans. This ancient food comes from the cacao tree, where the pods from the tree’s fruit are harvested. Inside each cacao pod are seeds that are removed and dried, then roasted to use in the chocolate-making process. Here are some interesting facts about chocolate:
- The ancient Mayans made chocolate to eat with every meal and often included ingredients like hot chili peppers or honey.
- Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans, and it takes around 400 cacao beans to make just one pound of chocolate.
- Chocolate is a massive industry. Approximately 40 to 50 million people around the globe depend on it for their livelihoods.
- Switzerland is the biggest consumer of chocolate in the world.
- The Ivory Coast in Africa is the largest producer of chocolate globally, with over two million tons of cacao beans produced annually.
- Mars candy company is the largest chocolate company globally, taking about 14.4 percent of the global market share.
- The biggest chocolate bar ever made weighed a whopping 12,770 pounds.
- The scientific name for the cacao tree is theobroma cacao which translates to “cacao, food of the Gods.”
- There are 4 types of chocolate: Dark, Milk, White, and Ruby.
How To Make Chocolate From Scratch: Step-By-Step Instructions
Whether you want to make a simple bar or some artisanal chocolate, start with this chocolate recipe so you can make your own at home. Remember, you can add your own special ingredients like fruit and nuts as you see fit once you get the hang of the process.
Start by gathering all of your tools before you begin. You’ll need a mallet, a wooden cutting board, bowls, some plastic wrap, a dehydrator, and a grinder like a mortar and a pestle. Ensure you have a working stove and oven, a candy thermometer, a double boiler, some spoons and a spatula, and your chocolate molds. To complete the process, you’ll also need a working refrigerator.
Use a sharp knife or your mallet to crack open the cacao pods, revealing the beans inside. Remove the beans from their pod, then put them into a container. Cover the container with a clean cloth. Leave the container in a warm place (~ 100 Fº / 38 Cº) for 5 to 7 days to ferment the beans. This will allow the beans to develop flavors.
After that time has passed, you will notice that most of the white slimy pulp surrounding the cacao beans is gone or turned pinkish.
Now it’s time to dry the beans out.
Sun-drying them is the most typical way to do it, but you can also use a dehydrator to speed up the process. Place the beans in single layers and turn the dehydrator on 104 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 days. During this time, turn your cacao beans from time to time.
You’ll need to roast the beans before they can be used to make chocolate. Place them on parchment paper and a baking sheet and put them in the oven somewhere between 250-270 Fº/ 120-132 Cº with the fan running for about 20 to 30 minutes.
It is important to keep track of the roasting since overroasting can burn your cacao and make your chocolate lose some of the fruity, floral, or woody taste notes, and make it more bitter than it actually is.
After the cacao beans have cooled off, hand-remove the shells (also called husk) to reveal the cacao nibs inside. This is what you’ll use to make your chocolate. You can remove the shells by hand, then gently roll the nibs with a rolling pin or use your mortar and pestle to break them down. Once you have removed the husks, do not throw them away at all. Cacao husks make a delicious tisane rich in theobromine; this can be used as a replacement for your daily morning coffee.
Grind your beans until they form a thick paste.
At this point, you can add a powdered sweetener of your preference. You can use a natural calorie-free sweetener like Monk fruit or stevia if you’re on a Low-Carb or Carb-free Dietary Regimen; just keep in mind that by no means you should add any liquids to the chocolate since that could ruin the whole thing. If you’re a Milk Chocolate fan, you can add powdered milk at this point. [*Porch hack*: if you want an extra toasty note, you can previously slightly roast your powdered milk on a tray in the oven]. If you’re vegan or milk allergic, just skip this step.
The next step is to grind the paste into even smaller particles. This process is called Conching.
Conching is done by grinding the chocolate paste in a mill with two roller stones for a long period of time that can go from 6 up to 80 continuous hours. This reduces the cacao solids to such small particles that cannot be perceived by the tongue, resulting in a silky and smooth texture. The longer the conching, the smoother the texture.
If you don’t have a Conching machine, you can find one online for around $200, or if you don’t want to spend the buck, you can grab a pestle and mortar, but keep in mind the process will be long; or just keep grinding with the food processor, but the chocolate won’t be as smooth as with the stone grinder.
Now that your chocolate has been extracted and processed, it’s time to temper it using a double boiler.
Place just some of the chocolate in the top pan of the double boiler, making sure that the water is hot but not boiling. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature, ensuring that it stays between 110 to 115 degrees. If the chocolate gets too hot and goes over 130 degrees, it can turn bitter and scorch.
Gently stir the chocolate in the pan using a spoon, adding more as you go once it reaches a nice and smooth consistency.
Once the chocolate is perfectly melted, gently pour it into your molds. Now is the time to add any extra ingredients like fruit or nuts. Just be sure that you only add dried fruit, as the liquid from fresh fruit can ruin your chocolate. After the molds are poured and ready, cover them with plastic wrap and let them cool down at room temperature for an hour, and then place them in the refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes until everything is hardened and cooled.
Remove your homemade chocolate bars from the mold, then wrap each one in aluminum foil until you’re ready to eat it, sell it, or give it to someone you love to enjoy.
Get creative with chocolate
Now that you have the basic instructions to make your own chocolate at home from scratch, it’s time to have some fun and get creative. Here are a few suggestions to help you make your own unique flavors for your chocolate bars.
- Add some coffee beans to your chocolate for a delicious espresso bar.
- Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, and cherries are an excellent addition to chocolate for a chewy, fruity twist.
- Add chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts to give your chocolate a delicious crunch.
- The kids will love your homemade cookies and cream bar. Just add some cookie crumbs in any flavor for a flavorful crunchy taste.
- Toffee is another favorite, and you can add some crumbled toffee pieces to your bar for a sweet taste and crunchy texture.
- Mint chocolate is an all-time favorite. Make your own chocolate mint bar by adding peppermint flavoring to the mixture before placing it in the molds.
- Once you perfect your craft, you can get even more creative by making handmade truffles and chocolate creams filled with various delicious flavors. Cover them with colorful sprinkles or chopped nuts for a fun finishing touch.
- Use your homemade chocolate as a coating to make a variety of desserts. Try some chopped coconut covered in a layer of chocolate for a chewy tropical treat.
- Make some chocolate ganache to use in various recipes for a smooth and sweet favorite the entire family will love.
Even if you’re not an experienced chef or baker, it’s easy to make your own chocolate from scratch at home. Use these step-by-step instructions to guide you from the opening of the cacao beans to drying and roasting them all the way to smooth, chocolatey perfection. Remember to get creative in the kitchen as you gain confidence and have fun adding your own unique ingredients. It’s a perfect way to learn a new skill while you practice your chocolate-making techniques to create a sweet treat everyone will love to eat.
- Open up Cacao Pods
- Remove the beans from the inside, discard the Pod.
- Set the beans to ferment for 5 to 7 days.
- Let them (sun) dry
- Roast the beans
- Remove the husk
- Put the beans into a processor
- Grind the beans
- Add a fine-powder sweetener until getting Chocolate Liquor. (You can use a natural calorie-free sweetener like Monk fruit or stevia if you’re on a Low-Carb or Carb-free Dietary Regimen)
- (Add powdered milk if wanted, but never liquid milk) [Vegans and milk allergic people]
- You can also add cacao butter if you want to improve the silky texture of the chocolate, but keep in mind that, by doing so, the flavor can be diluted as well. So try to find a sweet spot.
- Tempering. Melt chocolate to (40-42 Cº)
- Cool down.
- Unmold. Pack. Store.
Written by Evan Dunn
Originally posted on Porch.com