Hands down this was one of the most interesting recipes I have prepared to date! I appreciated chocolate a couple days ago. Now, after making it from cacao pod to bar, I appreciate it even more.
When I first opened the pod I was amazed and kind of disgusted at the same time. The pod contained a string like center that held a bunch of slimy white seeds. They smelled good, kind of like oranges and grapefruit, citrusy. That helped. I pulled out the slimy seeds and put them in a couple of large bowls to ferment. I covered them and put them in the oven with the oven light on to create a warm environment. I patted them dry every day for 7 days until they were dry and darker in color. I then roasted/smoked them to kill bacteria and to add more flavor. They were dark now in color and smelled like brownies. I was excited. Then came the winnowing. Winnowing is the process of removing the outer shell from the cocoa beans. This took a long time and you want to make sure to keep out the shells from the chocolate to keep it as pure as possible.
For grinding and processing the nibs, there is a machine used in making chocolate called a melanger. This creates a smooth chocolate and there are also machines that temper the chocolate. I ground the nibs in my high speed blender until it looked like cocoa powder. Add melted Cacao Butter, Vanilla, sea salt and powdered sugar until smooth and pour into molds and place in the refrigerator. This worked! I had beautiful and delicious chocolate! Try it and let me know how it goes! You can also add rice crispies, nuts, fruit and be creative in the process. I absolutely enjoyed all of it!
3 large cacao pods
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 cup of cacao butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon of sea salt and more to sprinkle on top
Crack open the pods and remove the seeds spread them in a couple of bowls so there is room to dry. Cover with a kitchen towel and put in the oven with the oven light on. This supports the fermentation process. You need to ferment the chocolate to develop the flavor. My oven light is on one side of the oven and the bowl underneath dried and fermented more quickly so I swapped spaces halfway through the process. It takes 5-7 days until they are dry and fermented. You want them to look about two shades darker than day one. Next you want to roast to kill bacteria at 350F for 2-25 minutes. I put mine in the smoker at 400F then turned it down to 350F after putting them in because I was worried about bacteria. Then comes winnowing. Separate shell and beans and then grind beans in a high powered blender or grinder until smooth. I also put powder in microwave to heat the powder to help it move along in the grinding process for 1 minute. Then add remaining ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Pour into molds and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can also temper your chocolate, I did not check temperatures or do this and it was great!
I love cooking, baking and playing with fire. My passion for cooking goes outside to my grills and smoker. I enjoy food styling ALMOST as much as sharing my passion for food! Follow me to see me in action: