First of all, I want to say that this is an art that I am learning. It tasted good, but I didn't look the prettiest. This is what I needed:
Cacao beans (I used raw unshelled)
10 scoops Stevia powder (1 scoop = 45 mg)
Flat blade blender
Mortar and Pestle
I started by measuring out the amount of cacao beans that I was going to work with. A video I saw on the internet recommended working with 2.5-3.5 ounces so I used 3.5 ounces.
|Measure out cacao beans|
They had a smaller pan for roasting. The only thing that is important is that the beans are in the pan in a single layer across the pan. With beans in the shell, they say to heat the oven to 400 degrees and roast for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to 250 degrees for 10 minutes. The purpose of the 400 degrees is to help the bean break away from the shell. What I did was put the beans in the oven during he preheating process to 400 Degrees. As soon as it was pre-heated, I immediately turned it down to 250 degrees for the 10 minutes. I think next time I am going to cook it just a little bit longer.
|Roasting Cacao beans|
The video recommended using a spice blender with a flat blade. The other style of spice blender can get clogged up in the process.
I filled mine up with beans. They all fit but once I started processing them, I realized that I had to cut the amount in half then it worked. Notice that I have typed both cacao and cocoa. That is not a typo. The beans are referred to as cacao when they are raw. Once they are roasted, they are cocoa beans. So if you see cacao powder, that should mean (if used properly) that raw beans were ground down to create the powder.
|Load with Roasted Cocoa beans|
As they blend, you will notice that they will grind down to a consistency of coffee ground. These grinders are pulse blenders. You push the button and it grinds. When you release the button, it stops.
|Stage 1 equal to coffee grounds|
There is no need to stop. It will continue to blend until it begins getting moister. Then you will need to start using a spatula to make sure that the product under the blade continues to mix together. The moisture is the cocoa butter being extracted from the bean.
|Stage 2 like clay|
Adding cocoa butter is optional. It does help the process to progress faster. They recommend not adding more than 10-15% (1:10 or 1.5:10 ratio cocoa butter to cocoa paste.)
|Add cocoa butter|
At this point, put your mortar and pestle in the oven and warm it slightly. (You need to be able to hold and work with the mortar and pestle. As you can see, the cocoa will process to a form that is more liquid. More is the key factor, it is still fairly grainy.
|Stage 3 is more liquid|
Pour the liquid into the warmed mortar and pestle. Begin to work with it. This process not only takes away the grainy texture but is also brings out more of the chocolate taste and helps the bitter taste dissipate. When are you done? When it tastes the way you like it. Because I am experimenting with stevia, I had to add stevia several times throughout this process. I liked the taste with 10 miniature scoops (45 grams each).
|Work up in Mortar and Pestle|
Did you notice that I got a different mortar and pestle? The original one that I purchased was 4" in diameter. This one is 6" in diameter and works much better for working with the chocolate.
The final step is tempering the chocolate. This step went much faster than I expected. If you want to make a special flavor, you should do it between these two steps. When you want to add coconut, nuts, etc to the chocolate add it to the liquid right after you have poured it onto the marble slab.
Work the chocolate back and forth across the marble until it thickens. The test to see if it is done it to put some chocolate on the end of a stainless steel knife then quickly wipe your finger across the center of the knife, if it leaves a clear streak then it is done. Walk away from it and let it firm up. Then break it into pieces to eat.
|Homemade Chocolate with added sea salt - done|
As I said at the beginning of this post, this is my first try and it doesn't look pretty, but it does taste okay. I have acquired a taste for 70-85% cocoa and that is the taste that I achieved. Although I will share a secret with you. As I tasted and it was too bitter, I needed to clear the bitter taste. I was also cooking bacon. So I would break off a small piece of bacon as a pallet cleanser. Sometime I might need to add some bacon chips to the chocolate. That would be total decadence!