More and more, I have been experimenting with making chocolate at home with my blender. What I have discovered is that the 'smoothie' attachment for my Ninja blender works better than the large blender attachment with a triple blade system (the smoothie attachment makes smoother chocolate, go figure). But that also means making chocolate in very small batches (6 to 10 ounces), although not as small as in a single-blade coffee grinder.
What I also discovered is that slightly gritty chocolate, like stone ground chocolate, can taste wonderful once you get used to it; it actually can turn into a craving quite quickly.
But most importantly, I've learned that making chocolate at home is the best way to enjoy the delicious treat if you have dietary issues or food allergies. I eat traditional chocolate, but I do try to reduce my cane sugar intake in all aspects of my life. So I decided to try making chocolate at home with coconut sugar, instead of cane sugar. It offers a lower glycemic spike, which is a great benefit.
I used roasted organic and fair trade Peruvian cocoa nibs that I bought online from Jedwards International to make my chocolate, and some organic coconut sugar that I bought at the health food store. And I embarked on an adventure in chocolate making - making three different batches of chocolate with coconut sugar. I also took some advice from a Twitter pal (@CHOCOLATEMARK) who suggested I add coconut powder to my chocolate. So I did.
I then used the Ninja smoothie attachment to grind down the chocolate a bit more. But more importantly, I added more melted cocoa butter to help smooth things along and coconut cream powder. This chocolate took on a dark-milk chocolate flavour and a milky colour. Once I poured it into my simple plastic flower molds (I bought these at Bulk Barn), and let them set, I discovered the most wonderful chocolate to have come out of my blender yet! It had that mouth-watering aspect of milk chocolate, but all the cocoa solids of dark chocolate. This was truly a delectable treat.
In my third batch, I added a little more coconut sugar to the 76.7% chocolate to see what a 70% would taste like. What I learned was that the chocolate started to taste a bit too much like coconut and lost that true cocoa-y Peruvian bean flavour. So I think in future, I will stick to coconut sugar dark chocolate with over 75% cocoa solids.
If you want to try this at home, here is the recipe:
76.7%* Peruvian Dark Chocolate Recipe
Time: 10 minutes.
Batch size: 30 ounces of chocolate.
Calories: Who cares, this is good for you in all sorts of ways!
- 20 oz of roasted cacao nibs (cocoa beans with shells removed and broken up) Although you can use raw nibs for making raw chocolate, the taste is nicer if they are roasted. For instructions to roast cocoa nibs, click here.
- 3 oz of cocoa butter
- 7 oz coconut sugar
*to calculate the percentage of cocoa solids in your chocolate, add the weight of cocoa beans/nibs plus cocoa butter weight, then divide by the total weight of the batch (i.e. (cocoa nibs + cocoa butter) divided by (cocoa nibs + cocoa butter + coconut sugar).
1. Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until smooth. Add back to the microwave and microwave for 5 second intervals until fully melted. Set aside.
2. Add the cocoa nibs and coconut sugar to your blender or coffee grinder (only the kind with a blade in the bottom and that you can stir, not the kind where the grounds drop from an upper section to a lower container).
3. Grind until the nibs are a ground coffee consistency.
4. Then add the melted cocoa butter and stir. Grind again until the nibs eventually turn into melted chocolate.
5. Pour into a bowl and temper the chocolate. Click here to learn how to temper chocolate properly or try a simple method by warming the chocolate until it reaches 120 degrees F, then drop it down to about 84 degrees F before pouring it into your mold.
6. Pour the tempered chocolate into whatever chocolate mold you like, and if you have none, simply spread it out flat on at large piece of waxed paper and wait about 1 minute or so (until it just starts to set) to cut it into pieces with a long knife.
7. Let set fully in fridge for one hour or less before peeling off the waxed paper or popping it out of the molds.
To make Coconut Milk Chocolate, simply break up 5 ounces of your 76.7% homemade dark chocolate and place back in the blender. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of melted cocoa butter and 1 ounce of coconut milk or cream powder (I used the Asian Home Gourmet brand of 'Powder mix for Coconut Cream' imported to Ontario by www.elcofinefoods.com). Grind until it melts into chocolate. Temper again, this time dropping the temperature to about 82 degrees before pouring into molds.
Enjoy your homemade chocolate!
Click here for the ingredients for a small batch of very dark chocolate (82.3% cocoa solids) that I made with cane sugar, and from Costa Rican or Peruvian beans.