Monday, December 12, 2011

Making my own chocolate

I got the cacao beans last week and I winnowed the beans so that I was left with the nibs.   How hard could it be to grind up the nibs into a liquid?   I managed to make peanut butter at home in the food processor, chocolate should not be much harder, right?

I ran the food processor for some time, a lot longer than I expected, and all I ended up with was something of the consistency of coffee grounds for drip coffee with a bit of espresso grind mixed in.  I put this stuff into a propeller type coffee grinder and thought I reduced down fine enough.

Ground chocolate nibs being melted, sort of 
I had not expected to end up with the chocolate liquor at this point as I knew the melting temperature of cacao fat is higher than that of peanut oil.   I put the dust into a pot and put it on the stove.   Initially I thought there was some success as very quickly some fat was released and all of the dust was looking as if it was damp.  

Unfortunately this was as good as it got.  It did not melt into the chocolate liquor I thought it would.

I added some milk and sugar to it to see if the addition of this would aid the melting.   Not really.   I ended up with a fairly solid grainy mass that tasted like chocolate but had a bitter grit within it.  The underlying flavour is actually pretty good.

Turns out grinding your cacao nibs small enough is the single biggest problem with trying to make your own chocolate at home.  I am not the only one that has had this problem.  I also now understand why in the history of chocolate it took so long to get to the chocolate bar, it takes industrial equipment to grind the stuff fine enough.  The first chocolate bar only comes about in 1847 even thought chocolate drinking came to Europe in  the 17th century.  

I am going to try and see if I can rescue what I have.  I am also going to buy some more cacao beans and experiment some more.
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