Cacao into Chocolate

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Make Chocolate from Scratch

  • Author: Monica Alameda

Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 Fresh Cacao Pods
  • 3 Tablespoons of Baker’s Sugar (Superfine or Castor Sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted cocoa butter (may use ghee, grapeseed or coconut oil)
  • ½ Tablespoon of dry active or instant yeast (optional)
  • ¼ cup of warm water (optional)

Instructions

  1. Break open the cacao pods cutting around the middle with a sharp knife,, being careful not to cut into the seeds. Then holding both ends of the pod, break it in half.
  2. Remove the seeds from the pod (leaving the stems inside) and place in a colander set inside a clean glass container. Examine the seeds and remove any seeds that are not intact or have tiny stems or sprouts.
  3. You may add dry active or instant yeast to the seeds to speed up fermentation. Combine the yeast with ¼ cup of warm water and mix together. Then pour the yeast over the seeds and stir to combine.
  4. Next cover the cacao seeds with a few sheets of parchment paper or plastic, followed by a kitchen towel to keep out light and set in a warm place overnight. Ideally it needs to stay between 100-110 °F.
  5. Next day pour out the juices from the glass container and add the beans from the colander to the glass container to continue the fermentation process. 
  6. Ferment for 3-5 days, stirring the beans twice a day and ensuring to keep them warm.
  7. After 3-5 days, place the beans in a single layer on a sheet pan and dry for 2 days before roasting. You may also do this by placing the beans in the oven and keeping the light on, or periodically putting the oven on at 120°F for 5 minutes. 
  8. When the beans are dry (but still pale in color), preheat the oven to 250 °F and roast the beans for 20-25 minutes. 
  9. Then allow the beans to cool completely, place in a ziplock bag and gently roll with a rolling pin to crack the shells, making it easy to remove the cacao nibs. Be careful not to crush the beans up too much or it will be difficult to remove the cacao nibs from the shell. You should have about 200g (about 2 cups) of cacao nibs.
  10. To a blender or food processor add the sugar and cacao nibs and blend for about 2 minutes, then add the melted cocoa butter (or ghee, grapeseed oil or coconut oil) and continue to blend until a smooth and a little runny (scraping down the sides as needed). This should take about 8-10 minutes. 
  11. Add your chocolate to a silicone mold, scrape away any excess from the top of the mold for a smooth bottom, then freeze for 15 minutes, unmold and enjoy.

Notes

  1.  You may warm the cacao beans up a bit before grinding by adding it to a 300°F oven for 2-3 minutes
  2. Grinding the sugar and cacao beans (separately) in a coffee/spice grinder before combining in a food processor creates a smoother chocolate
  3. Using a food processor was better than using the blender cup. Although both produced similar results a lot of the chocolate was left behind in the blended cup.
  4. Once unmolded the chocolate does not need to be refrigerated. Just be sure to keep away from high temperatures and keep covered. 

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