Let's make chocolate!

Who can say no to chocolate? And cacao is its most important ingredient! There are many processes and techniques developed to create chocolate and we love to see more healthy forms becoming more popular like raw, vegan, craft, etc. Products created with love and attention. And the good news is that you can make chocolate yourself! Here is a quick guide to help you on your way.

  1. Melt pure cacao paste au-bain-marie. No need to heat it over 50ºC. See below how to temper your chocolate mixture.

  2. Mix with favourite ingredients. Chocolate is much sweeter than pure cacao, you can do this with cane sugar, coconut blossom sugar or honey for example. Coconut oil or cacao butter can be added to create a softer taste, but is not necessary. This is also the moment to add favourite spices like cardamon or nutmeg, be creative!

  3. Pour in mold with optional additions like dried fruits, roasted nuts, bee pollen, maca, ginger, etc. Enjoy your experiments! You can use many things as molds like ice-cube molds, plate, bowls, professional molds, etc.

  4. Cool down your chocolate creation in the fridge for 15-30min.

IMPORTANT! Always avoid water in your chocolate!!! Use dry equipment, careful with au-bain-marie or double boilers and dry your molds well.

 
 Making chocolate at El Pital with Yves. By controlling the temperature you can crystallize chocolate into a strong structure.

Making chocolate at El Pital with Yves. By controlling the temperature you can crystallize chocolate into a strong structure.

 

Tempering and crystallization

To get the shiny and crispy strong chocolate that melts in your mouth but not in your hand, chocolatiers use a technique called tempering. The fats in cacao can form five different types of crystals. The strongest crystals (type V) create the desired strong and stable structure. It has a higher melting point than the weaker (type I to IV) crystals which makes it possible to crystallize chocolate in this strong form by playing with the temperatures. You can temper your chocolate as following:

  1. Melt your chocolate mixture well to 40-50ºC so all crystals are melted.

  2. Let it cool down to 28°C until it becomes thicker (type IV and V crystals form). Keep stirring! You can use a cold water bath to speed it up, but careful not to let any water get in your mixture as it will cause your chocolate to seize.

  3. Then reheat and keep stirring the mixture slowly to 31-32ºC so the weaker crystals melt again and the amount of type V is maximized. Our preference is a warm water bath over au-bain-marie to reheat the mixture so it does not become too hot and you have more control. Note that if the mixture gets warmer than 33°C the type V crystals melt again and you need to start over.

  4. It’s ready, your chocolate is now tempered! Pour your chocolate into a mold or on a plate with optional additions like nuts. Let it cool down slowly at room temperature or speed it up in the fridge for 15 min.

* If you cool it down too quickly, in the freezer for example, unstable crystals can form more easily.
* If you use honey or coconut oil the chocolate does not crystallize as well and might need to be refrigerated. It's worth the taste though :).
* The room temperature also has an effect on this delicate process, know this if you’re living in warmer or colder climates for example.