Monday, July 27, 2015

Buttermilk Dark Chocolate Buttons, made bean-to-bar at home

I make up a new batch of 'homemade' chocolate weekly. And by homemade, I mean that I still have no proper equipment for making chocolate from bean to bar at home, except for a blender and a coffee grinder, so my chocolate is not super smooth like you would find in stores. But it is not overly gritty, and it is still pretty delicious. Also, it is lecithin-free chocolate, junk-free, organic, and all natural.

Last weekend, when I was shopping at Bulk Barn, I discovered powdered buttermilk. The wheels in my chocolate brain started turning, and I had visions of buttermilk milk chocolate. So I bought some, and the experiments began. Well, truthfully, experiment. The first batch was very dark and interesting, but reminded me so much of some of the craft dark-milk chocolates I tasted in the winter, that I thought I would share the recipe here.


With 63% cocoa solids and only 18% sugar, these buttons taste like dark chocolate, but they have a nice sweet buttermilk taste that melts in your mouth.  The taste will change depending on the type of cocoa beans you use, and the roast. I used roasted cocoa nibs of Peruvian origin (purchased from Jedwards International), which have low acidity and a nice light roast. Jedwards also sells cocoa butter, but I just learned that Bulk Barn now sells small-ish bags of organic cocoa butter, as well as cocoa nibs in bulk bins. If you are not near a Bulk Barn, your local health food store may have them.

Recipe: Sweet Buttermilk Dark Chocolate Made at Home

Batch size: 11 oz (314 grams)
Time: less than 1 hour

You need:
  • 6 oz roasted cocoa nibs (or cocoa beans). Roasted for 15 minutes in the oven on 320º F, and then, if whole beans, remove shells and break into pieces/nibs)
  • 2 oz organic coconut sugar (you can use raw cane sugar if you like, but I prefer low-glycemic coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 oz cocoa butter (melted for 1 minute & 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • 2 oz buttermilk powder (non-instant)

Instructions:
  1. Place the nibs, sugar and buttermilk powder in a food processor, single-blade blender, or smoothie maker (I use the Ninja blender with the Smoothie attachment) and grind for a few minutes, until the beans begin to melt into liquid. Stop it and stir (stir before, if they are not moving or melting in the grinder).
  2. Add the melted cocoa butter and grind in increments, stirring in between, on and off for a few minutes (feel your blender base to ensure it is not getting too hot and overheating. Let rest if it feels too warm. Also if you detect a slight appliance 'burning' smell, stop immediately).
  3. Pour into a bowl and quickly reduce the temperature by placing over ice or in the fridge.  Reduce until it is slightly cooler than the temperature of the back of your baby finger when dipped in.  My preferred method is to use a digital candy thermometer to ensure it reduces to 82º F.  If it stiffens and the edges 'set' (begin to harden), rewarm in microwave for 3-to-4 seconds and stir. For proper chocolate tempering technique, click here.
  4. Pour into chocolate molds (if you have them) or into mini cupcake pans for small chocolate 'buttons', or a regular cupcake pan for larger ones. Bulk Barn also has flower molds for chocolate and candy, which work great.
  5. Place the chocolate molds or cupcake pans into the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Then flip over onto waxed paper on the counter and tap out of the molds.  Let rest until the chocolate comes back to room temperature and package.
  6. If your  chocolate is white and streaky, it means it is not in temper. Don't worry, you can simply re-melt and temper the chocolate following the instructions here.
If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the Comments below and I'll do my best to get back to you in a timely fashion.

Enjoy!

 

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