Despite its widespread popularity, most people are unaware of how to make chocolate and its processing steps. Chocolate is a worldwide favorite food, yet the phrase “chocolate” can refer to various things. A stroll down the chocolate section at the supermarket verifies this. It refers to “food of the Gods.” This also demonstrates how important ‘chocolate‘ was in the past. The word ‘chocolate‘ in English is derived from another language, Nahuatl. Its name also referred to a drink comprised of many substances, most notably cacao beans.
The word “chocolate” may conjure up pictures of sweet candy bars and decadent truffles, but today’s chocolate is nothing like the chocolate of the past.
The term “chocolate” can apply to a wide range of products, from sweet milk chocolate to very dark chocolate with 80 percent cocoa and everything in between.
Just one pound of chocolate requires 400 cocoa beans. That indicates that each cacao tree produces between 30 and 60 pods each year. Each pod contains approximately 40 beans. As a result, each tree only yields 2 to 3 pounds of chocolate per year. When you consider that cacao pods are gathered by hand, you can see why good chocolate is pricey.
History of Chocolate
Chocolate has a 4,000-year-old history that began in ancient Mesoamerica, which is now Mexico, and even further to the ancient Olmecs of Southern Mexico. The earliest cacao plants were discovered here. Fermented chocolate beverages date back to 450 BC.
Archaeologists identified the oldest signs of cacao on pottery used by the ancient Mayo-Chinchipe culture in Ecuador’s upper Amazon area 5,300 years ago.
The Olmec, an ancient civilization of Latin America, was the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank chocolate as medicinal and drank it during ceremonies. The Maya flavored their chocolate by putting roasted cacao seed paste, water, chili peppers, and cornmeal in a beverage and transferring the liquid between pots until the top was coated with a thick foam.
Cocoa beans were used as currency in Mayan times and were valued more than gold dust. Cacao seeds were said to be a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom. Cocoa tree cultivation was controlled to keep the value of the cocoa bean in check. Otherwise, it would have been far too appealing to simply create your currency!
Chocolate was originally served mostly as a beverage, as a bittersweet liquid combined with spices or maize puree. It was thought to be an aphrodisiac and to provide the drinker with energy. The Mayas gathered once a year to honor the god Ek Chuah, whom they revered as the Cacao god.
Joseph Fry is credited with developing the first modern chocolate bar after he realized in 1847 that melted cacao butter could be added to Dutch cocoa to create a moldable chocolate paste.
What’s In A Chocolate?
Despite its poor reputation for causing weight gain, this tasty dessert may have a variety of health benefits. Chocolate’s main constituent, cocoa, includes physiologically active phenolic chemicals.
The higher the cocoa content, as in dark chocolate, the greater the advantages. Eating chocolate may provide several advantages like low cholesterol levels, prevention of cognitive decline, and less chance of cardiovascular problems.
Dark chocolate is high in nutrients that might benefit your health. Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavanols than any of the other fruits examined, including blueberries and acai berries.
Consider eating more dark chocolate in the weeks and months leading up to your beach vacation. Flavanols in dark chocolate can protect the skin from sun damage, boost blood flow to the skin, and improve skin density and hydration.
How Exactly Is Chocolate Made?
To understand the magic of chocolate — its science, flavor, and art — one must first hear the tale of how cacao is picked, transported, and transformed. The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) grows within 20° north and south of the Equator and thrives on a combination of hot temperatures, rain, and shade.
Each cocoa tree bears oval cocoa fruits, or pods, that range in size from 5 to 12 inches. Each pod contains 30-50 seeds, and it is from these seeds that cacao (or cocoa) beans are derived. Within the pod, the beans are strung in five chains or rows and are surrounded by a sweet white pulp.
This pulp is used in some locations to make a pleasant drink as well as a form of jam; it is also a favorite of many animals, including monkeys, parrots, and squirrels.
The term “cacao” refers to the tree, pod, and bean/seed, whereas “cocoa” refers to the bean after it has been fermented, dried, and roasted.
Workers must climb the trunk to access pods on upper boughs since the cocoa tree is so frail and its roots are so shallow. Cacao seeds are harvested and piled in mounds before being wrapped with banana leaves for fermentation and sun-drying.
Winnowing and roasting are used to refine fermented and dried cocoa beans into a roasted nib. Chocolate liquor is pushed into hydraulic presses weighing up to 25 tonnes to manufacture cocoa powder, and when pressure is applied, 80 percent of the cocoa butter is extracted.
The remaining “cake” can eventually be crushed, ground, and finely sifted to make cocoa powder. The key ingredient in chocolate is cocoa butter, a by-product of cocoa and 25% of the weight of most chocolate bars.
They’ll be boiled and melted into chocolate liquor next. Finally, to add flavor, manufacturers combine chocolate liquor with sugar and milk.
The process of rolling, kneading, heating, and aerating cocoa beans are known as conching. This process is critical in producing a consistent, pure bar of chocolate.
The duration of this process impacts the final aroma and flavor. The mixture is heated for several hours to several days during this process.
The mixture contains cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin (an emulsifier), and milk solids (for milk chocolate). The mixture is heated to a temperature of 110 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit throughout this procedure, which develops the chocolate flavor.
Tempering is the final step in the chocolate-making process. This procedure ensures that the cocoa butter crystals are restored. This makes the chocolate bar more sturdy, with a snap when you bite into it and a pleasant texture.
For tempering, chocolate manufacturers employ a chilling tunnel that cools chocolate from room temperature to 44-45 degrees Fahrenheit and then returns it to room temperature. After tempering, the chocolate is poured or piped onto the molds.
Cocoa Butter and Cacao Butter
Cocoa butter, commonly known as theobroma oil, is a pale yellow vegetable fat derived from cocoa beans. The cocoa nibs are ground into a paste (known as cocoa liquor) and then pressed to extract the fat.
This fat, known as theobroma oil, is cocoa butter that has been extracted from the particles, which are subsequently processed into cocoa powder.
In addition to being a component of chocolate and other culinary items, cocoa butter is also used in over-the-counter skin care products including lotions, creams, and bars meant to keep the skin supple.
The high antioxidant content of cocoa butter aids in the prevention of free radical damage, which can result in aging, dark spots, and dull skin.
Cocoa butter provides richness to beverages and desserts and is a healthy ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. Cocoa butter has a silky smooth texture on the skin, making it ideal for salves, lotions, lip balm, and some makeup.
Cocoa butter has a pleasantly sweet flavor and aroma that is reminiscent of chocolate; the aroma overpowers the taste.
Do cacao butter and cocoa butter vary in any way? You can buy two different kinds of cocoa butter on the market. One could be described as “raw” or “natural,” but the other cocoa butter is described as a “cooked” or “aromatic” version.
How To Make Chocolate At Home?
Chocolate making is flexible, but at the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the delectable treat of your work. Cacao seeds, Sugar, Milk Powder, and Cocoa Butter (in milk and white chocolates) are the basic components of chocolate.
High-quality chocolate will typically contain only two components in dark chocolate, three in white chocolate, and four in milk chocolate, with certain exceptions for flavored chocolates.
1. Homemade White Chocolate Recipe
The white chocolate isn’t even chocolate because it lacks cocoa particles. This homemade white chocolate recipe calls for only four ingredients and a few easy steps to make a creamy, rich, naturally sweetened raw milk chocolate. White chocolate is primarily composed of cocoa butter, lecithin, powdered milk or almond milk powder or rice milk powder, sugar (a lot of it), and occasionally vanilla.
You may make vegan white chocolate with coconut milk powder or soy milk powder. White chocolate is prepared by combining cocoa butter, milk powder, and sugar in a chocolate refiner, vanilla extract is frequently added as well. Use one part (25 grams) of powdered sugar or 1/2 cup of maple syrup, two parts (50 grams) of milk powder, and three parts (75 grams) of cacao butter (75 grams).
The cacao butter should melt. The double-boiler set-up is used to melt the cocoa butter. To ensure even melting, stirring the cacao butter while it is melting is an important step. Now stir in the sifted powdered sugar and the milk powder to the melted chocolate. It should be moved into a blender or mixer jar for a smooth texture.
White chocolate is smooth and has the same properties as dark chocolate, but with a different flavor and color. Fill the molds with the white chocolate mixture at this time and cool the white chocolate to set.
2. Homemade Dark Chocolate Recipe
Dark chocolate is chocolate that is free of milk solids. Cacao beans, sugar or coconut sugar, an emulsifier such as soy lecithin to preserve texture, and flavorings like vanilla are the essential ingredients of dark chocolate.
The higher the cocoa content and lower the sugar content of dark chocolate, the more bitter it will taste, and a modest amount is considered a healthy snack. It simply has five ingredients: cocoa powder (or cacao), coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt. If using cocoa powder, use unsweetened cocoa to keep the sugar amount under control. It only takes about 5 minutes of melting and stirring, followed by 30 minutes in the freezer, and you’re done.
Don’t be scared to play around with the flavors to create your unique chocolate bar. Here are a few ideas to get you started: orange zest or essence or crushed ginger chili powder or chopped nuts.
3. Homemade Milk Chocolate Recipe
If dark chocolate is too rich for your taste, you might make some milk chocolate at home in your kitchen. Chocolate liquor (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) is combined with sugar and milk to make the milk chocolate. Milk chocolate bars are the most popular in comparison to the others.
Milk chocolate has a sweeter, creamier flavor than dark chocolate. This type of chocolate often has fewer cocoa nibs and more fat due to the addition of cocoa butter and full-fat milk powder.
Milk chocolate is made by first melting the cocoa butter in a double boiler. Use a good quality spatula to mix other ingredients including unsweetened cocoa powder and milk powder after the cocoa butter melts.
You can also use coconut milk powder or almond milk powder instead of powdered milk. Combine granulated sugar and mix well. You can also add your choice of flavor like vanilla extract or coffee or spices and some dried nuts and fruits.
Transfer the warm chocolate to a decorative mold to produce individual sweets and cool it before consuming. Because it is untempered, this homemade milk chocolate should be stored in the refrigerator and has a two-week shelf life.
4. Homemade Chocolate Bars
Some or all of the following ingredients can be found in a solid chocolate bar: sugar, cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and milk. The relative presence or lack of these defines the types of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate bars.
Homemade chocolate bars are superior to store-bought because they may be created with no refined sugar, or alternative sweeteners, are vegan, nut-free, and are free of emulsifiers and other ingredients.
Another significant advantage of producing your chocolate bars is that you can use the highest quality ingredients and make substitutions as needed for health reasons or to suit your preferences.
Making chocolate bars is an easy process once the chocolate chips (white or dark or milk) are melted. The melted chocolates are then stirred regularly until it reaches 88°F (31°C) – 90°F (32°C). Place the warm chocolate on a nonstick surface to cool. Pour the chocolate carefully from the saucepan onto a flexible nonstick baking mat or a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper.
You can place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or leave it on the counter for a couple of hours). Remove from the fridge once the chocolate bar has set and snapped the bar into small pieces.
5. Homemade Chocolate Truffles
A chocolate truffle is just a chocolate dessert. Chocolate truffles are produced with chocolate ganache that has been sprinkled with cocoa and shaped into balls. The word “truffle” stems from its resemblance to the mushroom-like fungus of the same name, which is considered a delicacy.
Besides chocolate, the main ingredient in chocolate truffles is heavy cream. Start making the chocolate ganache by adding the warm cream over the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a bowl. Allow the warm cream and chocolate to sit in the bowl for a few minutes before stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
Refrigerate the mixture for 1-2 hours, or until it has set. Form into balls and roll in toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate powder, or crushed nuts. The truffles can alternatively be dipped in melted or tempered chocolate.
6. Homemade Hot Cocoa
A mug of steaming hot chocolate, whether topped with a few plump marshmallows or a generous scoop of freshly whipped cream, is one of winter’s greatest joys. Cocoa powder, sugar, and milk are commonly used to make hot cocoa.
Hot cocoa is often sweet and light on the body. It frequently contains flavorings such as vanilla or spices such as ground cinnamon.
To make the hot cocoa, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan. Add water to the mix and bring the water to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and heat to serving temperature (do not boil).
Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Whip till foamy. Garnish with marshmallows, cream, or cinnamon sticks if preferred.
7. Homemade Chocolate Fudge
Sugar, cocoa powder, milk, salt, butter, and vanilla are the only components required. This isn’t your typical creamy, silky fudge. When you bite into it, it has a rich, textured chewiness that shatters and then melts in your mouth.
The fudge is made by combining 2 cups of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup of whole milk until smooth. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a moderate boil. Stir with a spatula occasionally, but not too frequently, or your fudge will become gritty.
Butter the pan that will contain the fudge while it is cooking. Set a glass or jar filled with ice and water close to the stove. After 10 minutes of boiling, begin testing the fudge for desired consistency. Drizzle a little fudge into a cup of icy water with a metal spoon. It’s done when it forms a soft, pliable ball.
When the fudge is done, turn off the heat and gently stir in the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Remove from the heat and carefully lay the fudge pan in a sink of cold water, taking care not to splash into the pot.
With one hand holding the saucepan steady, whip the fudge with a wooden spoon until it is cool but still liquid.
Pour the fudge into the prepared baking pan. It should be liquid enough on its own to spread evenly. Allow the fudge to cool completely before cutting it into squares. To cut the fudge, use a sharp knife with a thin blade.
Simply mix in any number of ingredients before pouring the fudge into the cooling pan. A chopped nut like walnut, almond, or macadamia is delicious. You can add cream cheese to make it more creamy and delicious.
8. Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Chocolate chip cookie is a vanilla-scented soft, buttery, cakey batter flecked with melting milk chocolate chips. What is it that makes a chocolate chip cookie chewy? Dense and chewy chocolate chip cookies incorporate extra moisture into the batter.
Ruth Wakefield, who famously ran the Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts, devised the original recipe for chocolate chip cookies in the late 1930s. The wonderful combination of crispy cookie and melted chocolate chunks initially appeared in her 1938 cookbook “Tried and True” and was intended to go with ice cream.
White sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt, eggs, a leavening agent such as baking soda, fat, generally butter or shortening, vanilla essence, and chocolate bits are common ingredients in chocolate chip cookies. In other recipes, milk or nuts (such as chopped walnuts) are also used in the dough.
Making the cookies is very simple by combining the wheat flour (2 cups), salt (1/2 teaspoon), and baking soda (1 teaspoon) in a bowl and then adding the mixture of butter (175 gms) and sugar (250 gms) to it. You can add a few drops of vanilla essence and an egg and mix well until smooth. you can add some chocolate chips (1 cup, cashews, nuts, almonds, and walnuts into the cookie dough.
Divide the dough into small equal parts and shape them into a ball. Flatten these balls onto parchment paper and bake the cookies in an oven at 180C for 12-14 minutes or until they are golden enjoy the delicious chocolate chip cookies.
It’s better to consume chocolate than to avoid it, whether it’s white, dark, or milk. Many people crave chocolate regularly, and it is utilized as a symbol of celebration or gift exchange. What’s a better way to relax after a rough morning or after a full day than with some of these homemade luscious and delicious chocolates to relish and indulge?