Have you ever wondered what it takes to make dark chocolate from scratch? What kind of equipment do you need, and is the process long or complicated? Here’s some good news: if you have a couple hours and some fairly ordinary kitchenware and appliances, making your own chocolate is super easy. In this guide, we’ll go over how to make dark chocolate straight from the bean, taking you through the process step by step. A quick trip to the grocery store, and you’ll be ready to start cooking today. You can also learn some useful cooking techniques in chocolate making course.
What You’ll Need
Buying something from the store that you can make at home just doesn’t compare. Of course, something like chocolate takes a while to master, but at least you can have fun (and eat lots of chocolate) during the learning process!
You might have thought you needed a factory and some fancy machinery to make chocolate from scratch, but the equipment and appliances you’ll need are actually pretty mundane. Find the list below.
- coffee grinder
- kitchen scale
- hair drier
- 5 bowls
- baking sheet
- spatula (rubber)
- aluminum foil
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Since we’re making chocolate from scratch here, there isn’t much you need in terms of ingredients, except for the actual cocoa beans and some gransulated white sugar! You can also add something extra if you’re not a fan of plain chocolate. As for the actual cocoa beans, you’ll want to get unroasted if the roasting process if something you want to do yourself. If not, purchase pre-roasted beans and skip the roasting part of the instructions.
- 1 pound of whole cocoa beans
- granulated white sugar
Want to learn more about one of the world’s most famous confections before getting started? Check out this guide on chocolate facts.
How to Make Dark Chocolate
If you bought roasted cocoa beans, this is the part you can skip. If you decided to go with unroasted, this part is essential, so stay with us!
- Step 1 – Roasting the Beans
Roasting the cocoa beans is what brings out that chocolatey flavor. It also makes the shells of the bean more crackable so you can actually extract the cocoa nibs from inside. These nibs, or little flakes of cocoa bean, are what you’ll make the chocolate out of.
Start by preheating your oven to about 250 or 300 degrees. Then, prep the cocoa beans by spreading them out on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet in a single layer. Don’t cut or try to de-shell the beans, just create a good, even layer of them on the sheet and wait until the oven preheats. Once it’s reached the desired temperature, pop the baking sheet full of cocoa beans in the oven and set your timer for about 20 minutes. You won’t be pulling them out after the 15 minutes, but if you’re just getting started, it’s good to get a handle on how long the beans need to be left in and what to look out for. Give them a glance at the 15-20 minute point, and if they don’t smell like chocolate yet and they haven’t started to crack, give it another 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.
After about 30 minutes total, remove the baking sheet and turn the oven off. Put the tray of cocoa beans in front of a fan or leave on the counter to cool off.mount of
- Step 2 – Removing the Shells
This is the part where some specialized equipment might come in handy, but doing it manually can be a fun experience too. Once the cocoa beans have cooled sufficiently, get to work cracking open the shells and removing the bean inside, keeping the shells and the chocolate nibs separate. This is a repetitive task – if you’re starting to think making chocolate from scratch isn’t your thing, why not learn how to do something else? Check out this course on decorating cakes, or this course on the art of making cookies.
- Step 3 – Create Cocoa Liquor
Setup your juicer with containers to catch the product of both the “juice” and “pulp” ports. Feed the cocoa bean nibs into the juicer, a little at a time. Most of what you insert will come out as “pulp.” Do not throw this away. Continue adding and re-adding the “pulp” until the juicer begins to output through the “juice” port. This happens because the refining process creates heat, which melts the cocoa butter inside the cocoa bean. You’ll want to continue adding the contents of the “pulp” output until the only thing it’s spitting out is the stray cocoa bean husk that you missed while de-shelling them.
- Step 4 – Determine Chocolate Percentage
Bust out the kitchen scale, and weigh the cocoa liquor. The amount of granulated sugar you’re going to add to your recipe is determined by how strong you want your dark chocolate. To figure out this measurement, find the weight of your cocoa liquor in grams, and divide it by the percentage you want, then multiply that by 30. That’s how many grams of sugar you need.
Measure the sugar and grind it into a powder in the coffee grinder. (Do not buy powdered sugar, since this contains corn starch, and will ruin your homemade chocolate.) Mix up your chocolate and sugar in a bowl. This is when you can add in any nuts like almonds or cashews as well.
- Step 5 – Prepare the Chocolate
Now all that’s left to do is put your chocolate onto an ungreased, lined cookie sheet and place it in the fridge. You can use any kind of shape you want: small circles, bars – you can even use cookie cutters or other molds to help give the chocolate shape. The chocolate will be done once it’s solidified.