Saturday, June 14, 2014

Making chocolate

When I first saw this recipe, I had to scratch my head. What did they mean by making chocolate. It turns out it is all about converting cocoa into something more like a Hershey's Bar. Sort of.

I shared my home-made chocolate tonight with a wide range of tasters, from a 7 year old boy to several seniors. 

Twice the taster said it was like fudge. It's sort of like fudge, I agree, but it's made entirely differently. All the tasters liked it. Many came back for more, including the 7 year old and several adults.

So you decide how like a chocolate bar it is, or how fudge-like. If it's convincing fudge for you, you won't have to go through all it takes to make real fudge.

Before I give you the recipe I used, I want to warn you about a big challenge these ingredients create for each other. You may find that you end up with a mass of brown sweet stuff that won't blend with the oil. I will let you know as we go along what I did about that. Because I did find a way, but it wasn't the food processor that finally got them to blend.

Is this recipe worth it? You decide. It yields a healthy, tasty confection that is very chocolate-y and makes you want more. Or at least made me want more, and my husband, and all those kids who tested it for me.

The recipe: Homemade Chocolate (makes a lot!)

Mix together 1 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup coconut oil, and 1/2 cup raw honey. That's it. 

Literally that's all you need to do. HOWEVER, when I mixed them in my food processor, I ended up with happily married honey and cocoa powder, and a nearly entirely independent layer of oil. 

In my kitchen, which runs less than 70 degrees most of the time (we keep the house at 65 but when the oven's on I know it's warmer), the coconut oil I buy is solid. When I made this recipe, I liquified it by placing the jar in a bowl of warm water. When it wouldn't blend that way, I cooled the whole mixture. Nothing worked.

So I started stirring. I stirred and stirred, and suddenly it all congealed and became one mass of yummy flavors. 

At this point I spooned several puddles of it onto a parchment paper on a cookie sheet and placed it in the freezer to cool quickly. It was firm right away - maybe 10 minutes later. Then I cut it with a hefty knife into bite-sized chunks. It was great!

Why did it suddenly congeal? I think it has to do with the fats in the cocoa. The coconut oil has no affinity for anything water-based, such as honey, but it would naturally be attracted to other fats. In cocoa the fats are bound up in a substance that is high in fiber and also contains other complex carbs and proteins. It could easily take several minutes for the oil in the powder and the coconut oil to combine.

In between, while I was still not successful with getting the ingredients to blend, I tried the blade in my little food processor. Even with the chilled mixture the oil separated more than it had been before I processed it.

I have plenty of chocolate left from this first experiment, but there will be a next time, and then I'll try chilling both the honey and the oil first. 

There's no cooking in this recipe. That means the raw honey stays raw, and same for the coconut oil. Since I buy the least processed products that I can get, it's a real plus to make a confection without cooking. 

If you make this recipe, please post your experience. It's worth making, but we're not yet sure the best way. 

No comments: