Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

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Project 39: The video!

October 21, 2011

Many thanks to Jenni for including my little chocolate project in her PMAT Live video series!

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Project 39: Chocolate truffles

October 21, 2011

So our tasty chocolate would not temper. What would we do with all of that shiny lusciousness? Jenni came up with the brilliant idea to make truffles. We added cream and let the whole thing firm up in the fridge.

Soon to be truffles

Then we rolled marble sized portions and coated them in one of three toppings: powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or chopped nuts.

Truffles in progress

Finally we had yummy little nuggets of our own handmade chocolate. They were delicious! I hope that you will try this yourself one day so you can experience the amazing range of flavor that chocolate can have. We had thought that we would add flavorings to it but it was so complex that we didn’t need to.

Truffles

Lessons learned:
– Making chocolate by hand is messy and has a lot of steps, but it isn’t that complicated and the end result is amazing.
– Raleigh folks can buy your beans at Escazu. If I had known this before I bought online I probably would have done that instead.
– That said, the Chocolate Alchemy site has lots of great information for people making chocolate at home.
– I will probably do this again!

Next: The video

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Project 39: Second batch

October 20, 2011

As I said yesterday, we had enough cocoa beans leftover to try a second batch after we over roasted our first set of beans. This time we were armed with better information and that made us confident enough to try a larger batch. So we measured out 200 grams of beans and roasted them until the skins just started to pop.

Batch 2 roasting

Then we peeled them all by hand. The original instructions had said that you could crush the beans and use a hairdryer to remove the papery skins, but peeling them by hand isn’t too difficult so we did it that way again. We were left with a bowl of much better smelling peeled cocoa beans.

Batch 2 peeled

Then we put our sugar in the blender and processed it alone so it would be a finer powder and would incorporate better into the beans. That was fun. We chose to make a 65% cocoa batch of chocolate, so we measured enough sugar to make up 35% of the whole batch. A kitchen scale is a valuable tool for this step.

Batch 2 sugar

We started in the Blendtec but ended up switching to a food processor for the grinding step. For some reason the chocolate kept getting hard underneath the blender blades and made the machine stop working. If you do this at home we highly recommend a food processor for the grinding step.

Batch 2 grinding

It is amazing to me that the dry roasted bean can produce so much moisture during the grinding process. We did add a little bit of extra cocoa butter to help it along, but not more than 10%.

As fun as the mortar and pestle were for conching the smallest batch, we decided to use a good stand mixer for this step in batch #2. Jenni tells me that commercial chocolatiers will conche their chocolate for as many as 72 hours! We gave ours a good 30 minutes while we went out to see the neighborhood chickens.

Chickens

 When we returned we realized that we had made some pretty good chocolate! The next step was to figure out what we wanted to do with it. Jenni was hopeful that it would temper so she tried to do that for a while. We were encouraged by the fact that our foul smelling test batch had tempered, but this one just didn’t want to behave. Curious about tempering? Jenni has a great video on her site that will tell you all about it. Check it out: An Even Temper

So if it wouldn’t temper, what would we do with our yummy chocolate? Check back tomorrow to find out.

Next: Chocolate Truffles

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Project 39: The first attempt

October 19, 2011

One peeled bean

There are really very few steps involved in making chocolate.

Roasting:

Roasting

Peeling:

Peeling

Grinding:

Grinding

Conching:

Conching

And enjoying.

Unfortunately, if you screw up one step it may negatively impact your ability to get to the last one. We seriously overroasted our first batch of beans. I blame inexperience coupled with bad advice. You would not believe the horrible smell that was involved in every single one of the steps shown above. In the end we had to throw our first batch away.

Fortunately we had plenty of beans left and the resolve to try it again. Our next try was a larger batch requiring different equipment. Check back tomorrow to see what we recommend for those of you who want to try this at home.

And on Friday, maybe you’ll get to see the results of this:

Action!

Next: Second batch

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Project 39: Materials

October 18, 2011

Chocolate supplies

A few months ago I found a post on the Instructables web site that mentioned how easy it is to make chocolate from scratch. It had never occurred to me that this was something people might do at home. I immediately contacted an online acquaintance who is a local food blogger to see if she would be interested.

Jenni is the brains behind The Balanced Pastry Chef. She is hosting me this week so we can figure out if this chocolate making thing is something that people really can (or should) do in their kitchens.

Above you can see our materials. I bought a pound of cocoa beans from Chocolate Alchemy. John has a great selection of beans on his site and tons of information on chocolate making. I chose his La Red beans from the Dominican Republic because he said that they were very forgiving for beginning roasters. We also need sugar and some cocoa butter (optional, for texture), which I bought in the health and beauty section of the grocery store.

I’ll show you how we used the rest of the equipment tomorrow when I share our chocolate making steps. Check back and see our failures and (hopefully) successes!

Next: The first attempt

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Project 39: Making chocolate

October 17, 2011

Dried cocoa beans in farmers hand

This week I’m teaming up with a local food blogger to make chocolate from scratch. I’ll teach you where to find cocoa beans both in Raleigh and elsewhere, show you the steps and the equipment needed, and introduce you to a new blog for your culinary delight. Stay tuned!

Next: Materials

Photo by Nestlé on Flickr