Dark chocolate. If I have leant anything in these first 3 weeks of life at the Royal Food store, it is that you have a lot of vice with chocolate. Does it surprise me? The truth is that no, why should I lie. Besides, quality dark chocolate, apart from being scandalous, is great food.
Dark chocolate: A superfood that you can make at home
If your addiction to good chocolate doesn’t surprise me, it’s because it comes from far away (okay, and because it ‘s scandalous ). The Mayas were the first civilization to cultivate the cacao tree, the Xocoatl. In fact, in Mayan and Aztec legends, the cocoa bean was a gift from the Gods. And it was so important that it was used as currency.
Although we can find good dark chocolate on the market, most of those that are marketed are not even close. Habitual offenders are typically low in real cocoa. As well as the use of refined sugars or even corn syrup, dairy and soy lecithin.
Homemade dark chocolate: a recipe you don’t want to miss.
Therefore, if we make our dark chocolate tablets, cookie chips or chocolates ourselves, we can control the quality of each ingredient that we will use. From cocoa butter to cocoa powder and the type and amount of sweetener: coconut sugar, xylitol, stevia … And we can make dark chocolate of 85%, 90%, 95% or whatever you like.
Back in the day, I decided to learn how to make chocolate from scratch, precisely to control the amounts and types of sweeteners. That and why I can’t resist DIY.
Trial-error: how to learn in the kitchen
Although the path to achieving the result that I am going to share with you today has not been direct. With my first attempts, I got a rich tasting dark chocolate. But with a grainy texture, a matte or mottled appearance, and they melted on my fingers as soon as I took them out of the fridge.
With a little research, I learned that chocolate had to be tempered or tempered, a process with which, by melting and pre-crystallizing at specific temperatures, we achieve smooth, shiny and crisp chocolate. And it does not stick or melt on your fingers.
The art of making chocolate at home. I tell you how to make homemade dark chocolate in this post
However, I continued studying the subject and learned that the process involved the use of marble and temperature control. And it seemed a lot of complication to make a tablet or chocolate chips from time to time. So I forgot about it, thinking it wasn’t so bad having to keep the chocolate in the fridge.
It must be that I did not completely forget because a while later I found this page by Chef Eddy, in which he explains his preferred method of tempering chocolate. And what was my joy to discover that you don’t need a marble slab? It is a thermometer and an ingredient that I am already using to make my chocolates: cocoa butter.
The perfect recipe to make your homemade chocolate
As I was saying, the method is simple and works perfectly. And this is how Chef Eddy himself explains it:
- We need 1% finely grated cocoa butter with a Microplane or similar to pre-crystallize the chocolate. That is, if we are going to make a 200-gram tablet we would only have to add 2 grams of grated cocoa butter.
- Chocolate melts at 46 ºC in a water bath. And then it is allowed to cool to 35 ºC ( dark chocolate ) and 33.5 ºC ( milk and white chocolate ).
- Immediately add the grated cocoa butter and stir until it dissolves and the mixture becomes homogeneous.
According to Chef Eddy, and verified by a server, we will not notice any negative effect if more than 1% of grated cocoa butter is added.
(You can make today’s recipe without going through this tempering process. But remember that you will have to keep it in the fridge until it is served. And it will not be so shiny and crisp).
On the other hand, cocoa butter is high in saturated fat, as well as monounsaturated. This butter is obtained after the fermentation and pressing of the whole cocoa beans, roasted or raw, and separated from their shells. And it takes between 2.5 – 3 kg of cocoa beans to obtain 1 kg of cocoa butter.
The best chocolate is made from the highest quality food-grade cocoa butter. And we can not only use it to make chocolates. But it provides a soft and delicate chocolate flavour to cakes, cookies, smoothies and other indulgences. And you can even use it (and I highly recommend it) to cook meats, chicken and root vegetables with it. Test it. You don’t need to thank me.
The solids that remain after pressing the cocoa beans are the low-fat component of chocolate. And the cocoa powder is what gives the characteristic flavour and colour to chocolate. This is the element that contains most of the antioxidants associated with this product.
Furthermore, cocoa powder also contains the highest concentration of the psychoactive chemicals (caffeine and theobromine) practically absent in cocoa butter.
An important note: go from refined cocoa powder like cocoa with Dutch-process or alkalized cocoa (processed with alkali). This cocoa is the one commonly found for sale in Europe. And its process makes its acidity neutralize, soften the flavour and dissolve more easily in milk or water. In addition, it usually contains 20-22% fat. Although it tastes good, the chemical refining process removes its healthy antioxidants.
You will no longer have excuses for not making homemade dark chocolate. And now, after having released the roll, we go with the recipe, which I know is what interests you. I share the base recipe for 90% chocolate. From there, you can vary the proportions to a higher or lower percentage.
You can also play with the flavours, add cinnamon and a touch of chilli powder, to make Mexican chocolate. Or sprinkle with a bit of fleur de sel or orange zest. As well as adding a few teaspoons of chia seeds or making a tablet with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and raisins. Very Christmassy, so take the opportunity to kill Suchard! (Iolanda, goes for you).
Recipe For Homemade Dark Chocolate
- 110 grams food-grade cocoa butter (or cocoa paste cut into small pieces + 2 grams finely grated cocoa butter)
- 70 grams of cocoa powder
- 20 grams of coconut sugar (or the sweetener of your choice – I still have to do some more testing to see the results with raw honey )
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- Or a teaspoon of vanilla extract (some say that extracts should not be mixed in chocolate, it has worked well for me)
- A pinch of grey or Himalayan salt
- You will also need a large saucepan with water up to approximately ¼ of its capacity, a bowl to put into the saucepan in a bain-marie, a digital thermometer and a manual dipstick.
- Grind the coconut sugar together with the vanilla in an electric grinder until it has the consistency of icing sugar. If you do not have a grinder (it is also very useful for grinding spices, dried chillies and seaweed, among others), you can crush a larger amount (not less than 250 grams) in a powerful robot or thermomix. And you can leave the sugar unmilled. But you may notice its texture in the chocolate.
- Heat the water in the pot until bubbles begin to appear on the bottom and keep it at that temperature.
- Melt the cocoa butter in the bowl in a bain-marie. Control the temperature so that it does not exceed 46ºC. If you see that it is approaching that temperature and the butter has not yet melted, remove the bowl from the pan. And let it continue to melt on the counter.
- Add the cocoa powder, ground sugar (or unmilled sugar and vanilla extract, or the scraped interior of a vanilla bean) and salt.
- Beat well with a manual stick until smooth. And let the temperature of the mixture drop to 35 ºC.
- Immediately add the grated cocoa butter and beat well with the stick until it is fully incorporated.
- Fill moulds of chocolates or a rectangular pan or pan of approximately 25 cm x 15 cm lined with baking paper.
- Add the ingredients you want: pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries Dried red, chia seeds (you’re the can incorporate the following mixture of step 6), grated coconut flour, salt, orange peel. ..
- Let it solidify at room temperature.
- If you do not want to temper the chocolate, you must put it in the fridge so that it solidifies.