One of the things I’ve always wanted to try is making my own chocolate. All right, maybe not always, but at least ever since I saw the movie “Chocolat”. And by making chocolate I mean more than just melting leftover chocolates and pouring the mass into molds, which is what I sometimes do.
But I’ve never quite known how and where to start and somehow never just got around to doing it. However, the other day a mysterious parcel arrived... I had no idea what it was, I hadn’t ordered anything, didn’t expect any package. It was a gift from a dear friend and it contained chocolate making materials! Wow. Just look at that gorgeous package:
There’s cocoa butter, agave syrup and cocoa powder with cocoa beans and some vanilla. And a pretty mold:
I was so excited!!! And very, very grateful to my friend who had decided to cheer me up with a surprise – and that she certainly did!
Now, I had to do some reading before I started, and I have to say I couldn’t quite figure out the correct ratio of each ingredient since every recipe I found was somewhat different. Some advised using extra virgin coconut oil in addition to cocoa butter, others used only cocoa butter. And the portions of each ingredient differed wildly. So I figured I’d start with a tiny, tiny batch and just... improvise. Which means that even though I started out measuring the ingredients, I kept adding this and that and in the end had no idea of how much I used each of them. Well. No matter. This was a trial run only, and yet, there are a couple of things I learned:
1. Cocoa butter, though it sounds delicious, doesn’t really have much of a flavour (yeah, of course I had to taste some, I was curious!).
2. If you add some coconut oil, you’ll end up with glossy chocolate that is easy to pour into the mold. However, the tasting jury strongly disliked the flavour of coconut oil.
3. If, however, you only use cocoa butter, the chocolate can become a little grainy (although that's mainly how it looked, the texture was fine when tasted) and less glossy. It also sets rather quickly – it was already becoming solid when I poured it into the mold (which explains the uneven look). I tried to warm it up gently, but to no avail. More experiments are needed to correct this. The taste, however, was far superior to that of the chocolate with coconut oil.
4. A little bit of agave syrup goes a long way, especially if you’re not trying to make very sweet chocolate.
5. If you give a seven-year-old free rein with decorative items to be added to chocolate, she’ll make an attempt to cover every inch of the chocolate rather than just sprinkle some here and there.
I wasn’t going to post a picture of the end result because I can’t get a decent photo (it’s too dark, so the chocolate looks kind of grey which it isn’t really) plus they don’t look particularly fabulous. :D And they're all in bits and pieces because, naturally, we had to sample some once soon as they were ready. However, since this was just a trial run and a learning experience, here we go...
As decorations/additives, we (my daughter was my (over-)enthusiastic assistant) used dried cranberries, bits of dried apricots and chopped almonds. The molds worked perfectly, it was very easy to get the finished chocolate out of them without breaking any.
This was a very interesting (and a very delicious) experiment and I’m already looking forward to giving it another try. Perhaps, next time, I’ll remember to measure the ingredients... And I already have soooo many ideas for different flavours! :)