We are going to have a look at the ingredients found in the Chocolate Craft Kit and we will learn how to combine them for your chocolate to taste exactly the way you like it.
These are the cacao beans, they look a bit like almonds but they taste quite bitter. You have probably heard about raw chocolate and would like to know what the difference is. OK, let's do a little experiment.
Select a clean, unbroken bean and put it aside. Roast the rest of the beans following the instructions from the booklet. Once out of the oven, just peel one of them by pressing it between your fingers. The skin should come away very easily. Now you are going to peel the bean you put aside, the raw bean. The skin won't come off as easily so you can use your nails. Be careful!
You have 2 brown beans now in front of you, a raw one and a roasted one. Smell them. Break both beans into pieces, nibs, and try a bit of each. What a difference, eh? One of them will taste quite strong and earthy without any chocolate smell or flavour while the other one already embodies the promise of chocolate.
This is the cacao paste. You can think of it as 100% unrefined chocolate with nothing else added. The nibs from the roasted beans have been ground and this is the mouth-watering result. Now, break off a little piece, smell it and try to identify the different aromas that come to your mind. Depending on the origin of the paste they will have very different aromas: Colombian would smell like dark chocolate with a hint of nuts and some coffee notes; the Madagascan paste, on the other hand, will have very defined aromas of lemon and exotic fruits.
The next step is to try the paste. Place the little piece on your tongue and let it melt, don't chew it, just concentrate on the flavours you are experiencing and try to name them. When the connoisseurs talk about chocolate, they use a vocabulary full of terms such as "mixture of berries and wood", "distant honey" and so on. You don't need to be a poet when tasting chocolate, just try to name the flavours that unfold on your tongue while the chocolate is melting. Close your eyes and let your taste buds explore the complexity of flavours that are exploding in your mouth. You have just tasted 100% unadulterated chocolate. It wasn't that bad, was it? Now, let's learn more about the other ingredients you are going to add to the paste in order to make the chocolate exactly as you like it.
When cacao paste is subjected to high pressure, cacao butter will pour out leaving the cacao powder behind. We are going to use this butter to lower the strength of the cacao paste and to make our chocolate more fluid.
Deodorised cacao butter has been heated to high temperatures to eliminate cacao smells and flavours and is the standard butter used in the chocolate industry. Ours has not been deodorized so the first thing you should do is just smell it. Divine, isn't it? Now, rub a bit into your hands. It will melt instantly leaving your skin smooth and protected.
Do you feel brave enough to try it? Just break off a very small piece and let it melt on your tongue. The texture will be oily but try to discover the cacao flavours that are lurking there. Our Colombian butter is quite neutral but the Madagascan butter will leave you with a very long citrus aftertaste.
Finding natural unrefined icing sugar without E numbers wasn't an easy task. The sugar has to be really fine, so when added to chocolate it won't feel too gritty. Finally we found an icing sugar which is unrefined (all the nutrients and minerals are still there) and whose anti-caking agent is simply corn flour. You will be using the icing sugar to sweeten your chocolate but remember, it has to be blended very thoroughly or the chocolate will feel a tiny bit gritty on your tongue.
The advantages of this sweetener in comparison to our liquid sweetener are that the texture of the resulting chocolate will be similar to that of standard bars.
Inside the bottle you will find Sweet Freedom, a syrup made with apples, grapes, carob and nothing else! Try a bit, you will be surprised. The flavour is quite neutral, perfect to make the chocolate sweeter but mild enough not to alter its flavour. It tastes sweeter than sugar so you won't need that much to achieve the same effect.
The chocolate you will make using this sweetener will melt easier and have a softer texture than the chocolate made with icing sugar.
Now, imagine how your perfect chocolate should be. You have tasted all the ingredients, if you liked the cacao paste on its own you could try the stronger recipes below. If cacao paste was a bit too overpowering for you, just add more butter and sweetener to the bowl.
While you are mixing the ingredients try it, does it taste sweet enough? If not, add more sweetener, there are no rules as to how your chocolate should be. Let the taste buds take control.
Below you can find some basic combinations depending on the strength you want your chocolate to be. In the next section, Recipes, you will find many suggestions to try and craft your very own chocolate creations. Be adventurous.
|Mild (60 %)||Medium (70%)||Strong (84%)|
|Cacao Paste||22 grams||25 grams||33 grams|
|Cacao Butter||8 grams||10 grams||10 grams|
|Sweet Freedom||20 grams||15 grams||7 grams|
The following recipes will use icing sugar. Remember to mix all of the ingredients very thoroughly.
|Mild (60%)||Medium (70%)||Strongest (90%)|
|Cacao Paste||22 grams||25 grams||35 grams|
|Cacao Butter||8 grams||10 grams||10 grams|
|Icing Sugar||20 grams*||15 grams||5 grams|
* 40% of icing sugar will make the chocolate too grainy, the texture will be too coarse. We recommend you do not add more than 30% to any recipe, but if you like your bars very sweet, add the 10% extra as Sweet Freedom. In this recipe, for example, you will add 15grams of Icing Sugar and 5 grams of Sweet Freedom.