Last year for my birthday I went to St Lucia for a week of sunshine and laying on the beach. As a gift my mom treated me to a chocolate cooking class at Hotel Chocolat, hidden away in the southern part of the island. We spent the morning learning how to make chocolate from scratch using local cocoa. I felt like I had become a chocolatier. Before I left the island I went out to the local market where I stocked up on cocoa sticks. Searching for cocoa butter didn’t end until mid-summer when I happened to stumble upon Artisana Coconut butter (which is a great alternative) at the Whole Foods next to my apartment. But by the end of last year I still had not made any chocolate so I added it to my 2016 adventures list, hoping that I would get to make my own chocolate once again. This weekend I got to make chocolate and I must say it was a success, even though I totally winged most of the process =o)
|(Ingredients I had in my class at Hotel Chocolat: Coconut Butter, Sugar, Cocoa, Mortar and Pestle. Water was just for drinking during class)|
Note: for most measurements I just based off of recipes I found online, from what I remember from my class, and by doing lots of taste testing
5 table spoons cocoa powder | 75 grams cocoa powder (I had to grind up my cocoa sticks using my blender)
2 table spoons sugar | 30 grams sugar (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want your chocolate)
5 table spoons coconut butter | 75 grams coconut butter (coconut oil can be used as an alternate)
Few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
Add anything else you like in your chocolate
Cooking mortar and pestle
Chocolate mold, preferably a silicone break apart kind so you can easily take the chocolate out of the mold without breaking
Your cooking mortar must be warm before you begin mixing the ingredients so the cocoa powder and coconut butter melt together. I heated up mine in the oven at 250F/120C for about an hour. To check I took it out of the oven (wear gloves so you don’t burn yourself) and lightly touched the mortar, if it’s too warm to touch it’s warm enough to start mixing.
|(I used my ninja grinder to grind up my cocoa sticks into a powder)|
|(Coconut Butter;Cocoa Powder, Sugar)|
Once you have all of your ingredients ready, slowly begin pouring the cocoa powder into the mortar and begin grinding it with the pestle. Add in some coconut butter and continue mixing. You will see the cocoa begin to melt from the heat of the mortar. Keep adding in the cocoa powder, coconut butter, sugar and anything else you want to add into the mixture. As you crush the ingredients together it will turn into a smooth liquid.
|(Ingredients ready to mix together)|
I recommend taste testing it before your pour it into your mold to make sure it tastes to your liking. Once your taste buds have approved pour the mixture into your mold carefully. Air bubbles may be trapped in your chocolate liquid so gently tap the sides of the mold to make the air bubbles come to the surface. Place into refrigerator for a few hours, 1 hour minimum. When you are ready to enjoy take it out, carefully peel the mold off and there you have your very own chocolate bar. Make more and keep them in your fridge or freezer for when you have guests over or when you want to indulge in your own chocolate.
|(Chocolate mixture almost ready to be poured)|
|(After I had poured my chocolate mixture into my mold during my class at Hotel Chocolat)|
Fun Facts about Chocolate from when I visited the Chocolate Museum in Paris while studying abroad in 2013 (as you can see I really like chocolate):
Chocolate is good for your health because it contains flavonoides (wine does too). More information on flavonoids can be found here
Chocolate has beneficial effects on your veins, blood, heart, brain and teeth.
Chocolate reduces cholesterol levels.
Aztec’s used cocoa to fight fatigue, cure diarrhea and mix into ointments to treat burns, wounds and hemorrhoids.
Casanova used chocolate and champagne to seduce woman.
King Moctezuma drank 50 cups of chocolate a day, especially before his visits to his wives in the harem.
Madame de Barry (Louis XV’s mistress) gave her lovers chocolate to improve their performance.
Chocolate is clearly used as an aphrodisiac.
|(My finished product and yes it was delicious!)
x the Adventurer (and chocolatier)