An Easter weekend in lockdown seemed like the perfect time to try making chocolate. I had bought a Homemade Raw Cacao Chocolate Kit from Mad Millie when it was on special and had been saving it up to make.
The kit comes with everything in it that you need to make 8 bars of dark chocolate – recipe booklet, chocolate moulds, wraps and labels, and of course the ingredients. If you decide to make milk chocolate or some of the other recipes you will need to supply some extra ingredients yourself. You may also want to get some dried fruits, nuts or other ingredients to include in the chocolate or for decoration.
Reading the introduction in the booklet I felt positively virtuous about making chocolate to gorge on: “raw chocolate … uses raw cacao (not cocoa) which is well known for its high content of antioxidants (40 times the antioxidants of blueberries!). When cacao is processed into cocoa, most of these antioxidant benefits are lost. Raw cacao and chocolate are a great source of magnesium, iron and a general mood enhancer! … Containing antioxidants and without any nasties or refined sugars, this takes your chocolate experience to a whole new level and is practically guilt free!”
I started off making some dark chocolate because it looked so deliciously healthy!!
First you make up a coconut sugar syrup with 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and 1/4 cup boiling water.
Then make up a hot water bath with 55-70C water to sit your bowl in.
Melt 140g of the cacao butter, then add 8 tbsp cacao powder and 4 tbsp coconut sugar syrup and mix thoroughly.
Pour into the mould (placed on a board for stability).
Add any decorative ingredients – I used some freeze dried cherries and mandarins and the colours looked stunning!
Put in the fridge for 2 hours to set before wrapping.
Best to consume within a week – no problem with that!!
I know that dark chocolate is the healthiest for you but I still do struggle sometimes with the intensity of the flavour so I decided to try making milk chocolate for my second batch. This requires real milk powder or coconut milk powder – that I didn’t have – but I did have a small sachet of almond milk powder that I had bought to try out and this just happened to be exactly the right amount. So I decided that I would add in some sliced almonds as well. I also decided to try adding some vanilla essence. The notes say: ensure that you don’t add too much extra as it will affect the setting of the chocolate, a few small drops of essential oil or essence is fine.
You make the milk chocolate in exactly the same way as for the dark chocolate but use 70g of cacao butter, 3 tbsp cacao powder mixed with 3/4 cup milk powder, and 6 tbsp sugar syrup. I added 3 drops of vanilla essence but this certainly did affect the setting of the chocolate making it like a sticky fudge texture – but it was delicious just the same.
There was still 70g cacao butter and some cacao powder left so I decided to make another batch, this time using the oat milk powder sachet that I had. I had to make up some more sugar syrup – and I didn’t have coconut sugar so just used brown sugar. And I added peanuts to make my own peanut slab. This was a much better texture without the vanilla essence and the less intense chocolate flavour was more to my liking.
I may have to buy some more ingredients and try ordinary milk chocolate with some different decorative elements on the top. They would make perfect gifts.