We are still on the quest to concoct the perfect dark chocolate. We’re getting there, but have not quite perfected the technique.
Our latest batch is pure organic fair-trade cocoa powder and pure chocolate nibs, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut flakes and orange zest. It has the right texture and taste. But, the formula/process still needs refinement. The trick is in what’s known as “tempering” the chocolate. It needs to be heated to a very specific point and then quickly cooled. According to the experts, the final product should have a very glossy finish. As you can tell from the image on the right, this is semi-gloss.
Why is this important? Because the gloss indicates that the chocolate will “melt in your mouth, not in your hands,” to quote the little old M&M candy character.
But, as we have said, flavor-wise, it’s up there with any of those $10 artisan bars. And better, yet, we have cut the sugar to about one-third of what you would normally find in a commercial ingot.
(We are cutting down on sugar and salt in everything, and the best way to do that is to either 1. Read every label of every product you buy very carefully, or 2. “Roll your own.” We find that by making our own crackers, chips, ginger ale, bread, and now dark chocolate from scratch, we can achieve the low-salt, low-sugar goal.)
If you look online, you’ll see lots of ideas on how to make the chocolate. Here’s one example.
It can be as complicated as using a double-boiler, and as simple as using your microwave oven. We chose the latter. The problem is that the temperatures recommended for tempering seem to vary a bit. We’ll keep working on it.
And if you have any suggestions for a recipe that you have found to work, let us know.