I love dark chocolate. That slight sweetness, a little bit of bitterness and that gorgeous chocolatey aroma is my weakness. All those anti-oxidants and the ability to bring instant happiness, is an added advantage.
I have wanted to be able to make chocolate at home from a long time. But I didn't know how. Over the years, I have come across many recipes, some using cocoa powder with vegetable shortening, some with cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Recently I found a channel "How To Make Chocolate At Home" where the basics are explained very clearly. If you guys are interested in knowing a whole lot more, check out this channel.
What I learnt from here and what really caught my interest is that for making a good quality dark chocolate, we just need 3 main ingredients: Cocoa beans or Cocoa nibs, Cocoa butter and some sugar. Thats it! But when we are making chocolate at home, with the kitchen tools that we generally have at our homes, it is not possible to make a super smooth chocolate; a chocolate that "melts in the mouth". This chocolate is going to be slightly coarse in texture but without any compromises to the taste!
I used Cocoa nibs to make my chocolates. These require a lot less work than using Cocoa beans. If you use Cocoa beans, the beans have to be roasted, then broken into smaller pieces to remove the outer shell. The broken pieces of Cocoa beans once the shells have been removed, are called Cocoa nibs. So if you are using Cocoa nibs, you can reduce a lot of steps.
I like chocolates with salt, so I decided to add some to mine. I also had bought a new pack of hazelnuts. I love the combination of chocolate and nuts. So the hazelnuts were also going into my chocolate. You can however experiment with flavours that you like or make just a plain bar of chocolate with this recipe.
120 grams - Cocoa nibs
40 grams - Jaggery powder or sugar of your choice
10 grams - Cocoa butter
1/4 tsp - Salt
8-10 - Hazelnuts or nuts of your choice
In a food processor or a powerful blender, place your cocoa nibs and start grinding it.
Once it forms a coarse powder, add the sugar, salt and cocoa butter and keep processing.
If your mixer or food processor heats, switch it off for 10-15 minutes and then again start grinding.
From this point onwards, the main task is to grind this mixture until it forms a beautiful glossy thick liquid, resembling melted chocolate.
At this stage, you can choose to set your chocolates in moulds as bars or individual portions or set it as a big slab in a baking tray/dish.
If your moulds make small pieces of chocolate, you can distribute the chocolate mixture evenly and then add one hazelnut each into the mould.
If you are making a bar or a slab, roughly crush your hazelnut and mix it into the chocolate mixture.
Pour this mixture into moulds shaped as bars or if you want to set it in a baking dish, line your baking dish with plastic wrap and spread the chocolate mixture as evenly as you can.
Let it set in the fridge for at least an hour and the chocolates are ready for you to enjoy!
These chocolates will stay good at room temperature for few days. Store them in an air tight container.
This recipe is quite flexible. You can experiment with different nuts or dried fruits, add a little bit of instant coffee, cut out on the salt if you do not like it, adjust the amount of sugar based on how sweet or bitter you like your chocolate.
The main process is same as making nut butter or tahini at home. Just keep the ratios approximately same: 12 parts Cocoa nibs to 4 parts sugar to 1 part cocoa butter. I hope you guys give it a try and enjoy these chocolates as much as I do!