How to make homemade chocolate from scratch
Nothing beats homemade desserts, but while many people are proud of their homemade damper and pavlova, few explore the rich, sumptuous, surprisingly healthy world of DIY chocolate. You don't need expensive ingredients or specialist equipment to create delicious chocolate treats in your own kitchen.
The best part? You don't need expensive ingredients or specialist equipment to create delicious chocolate treats in your own kitchen.
Cocoa beans or powder?
The most important ingredient to make chocolate is cocoa. You can either use cocoa beans or cocoa powder. If you're determined to make chocolate in the traditional way, you'll need to track down cocoa beans, the correct roasting and grinding equipment, and to wait several days for your batch to be processed.
Cocoa beans aren’t always easy to find in the local shops. Cacao plants are not native to Australia and don’t grow well here — which means, most cocoa beans need to be imported from overseas, after being fermented (to kill the germinating seed and develop flavours from the natural yeasts) and dried. To get your hands on some cocoa beans, you may need to go to a more specialised health food store or shop for them online.
Bear in mind that just like coffee beans, cocoa beans come in different varieties and flavour — which will have an impact on how your chocolate will taste. So do your research before you buy a certain kind, to make sure it’ll add the right flavour you’re after for you chocolate.
On the other hand, if you’d like to take the easier and more affordable path toward chocolate making, cocoa powder will do the trick. Which one you’ve chosen to use will be indistinguishable in the final product as long as you’ve used a good quality brand.
It’s not all about the cocoa beans or powder. Unless you’re planning to have a 100% strength chocolate (which would be very bitter), you’ll need other ingredients to obtain a smooth consistency and make it sweeter.
When it comes to sweetener, you’ll need sugar or another substitute. For a bittersweet type of chocolate, you should aim for 20% sugar. Consider other sweet substitutes if you’re trying to do a healthier recipe. For example, raw sugar, organic honey, stevia, and maple or agave syrup are great alternatives to white sugar. If the 20% ratio doesn’t taste good to you and you feel you would like to make it sweeter, simply up the ratio of sweetener to your mix.
In addition to sugar or natural sweeteners, you’ll need cocoa butter. Cocoa butter will make your chocolate creamier and will give it that professional chocolate feel. Aim for 10% to 20% of the total mass for your recipe. Lastly, you can add any little natural flavour you can think of — after all, it is your own choccy! You could add touches of vanilla, cinnamon, mint chips, coconut, nuts, dried fruits, or cloves.
Homemade chocolate recipe
- 2 cups cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup cocoa butter or dairy butter
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (or syrup)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Measuring cups
- Chocolate moulds
- Heat a saucepan of water until it simmers. Meanwhile, mix the cocoa powder and butter into a thick paste.
- Immerse the cocoa mixture in the heated water and bring back to simmering. Then remove the heated cocoa mixture and transfer to a bowl.
- Combine the two sugars and salt. Mix together in a bowl or food processor until smooth.
- Add the combined sugar and salt to the cocoa mixture. Pour in milk slowly while stirring thoroughly to remove any lumps.
- Pour the mixture into shaped moulds or other containers, then refrigerate for at least six hours or until the chocolate hardens.
Customising your chocolate
You can make lots of little tweaks to this basic recipe to create chocolate of your desired consistency and flavour. For a firmer finish, pour the chocolate in thinner layers, use less water, or use cocoa butter in place of dairy butter. Thicker layers produce a softer, fudge-like consistency. If you want to include touches like raisins, nuts and coconut, these should be added to the finished mixture just before pouring.
Chocolate can be healthy
Of course, not all chocolate is made equal. Dark chocolate, made with cocoa butter and high concentrations of cocoa, can be quite beneficial for your health if eaten in moderation. However, the variety we know as ‘milk chocolate’ isn’t that healthy at all, as it contains low cocoa levels and lots of sugar. So it’s important to note that in order for a chocolate to be deemed healthy or not, it’ll depend entirely on how it’s made and the ingredients it has in it. That’s why making it yourself is such a good idea — you have absolute control on what goes into your very own choccy bar!
Say bye-bye to highly-processed chocolate from the shops! There’s a better way to satisfy your sweet cravings, and that’s by making your own chocolate from scratch. Remember that the higher cocoa powder ratio, the healthiest — and that using maple or agave syrup as sweetener is also healthier than using sugar. Happy eating!
Custom chocolate creations in Coolangatta
Whether you're a certified chocoholic or shopping for the chocolate lover who has everything, visit Gelato Messina at The Strand Coolangatta for mouth-watering ice creams and creative cakes.
Check out more recipes on The Strand Coolangatta blog. Or, come dine with us at The Strand! Use our interactive dining guide here to see which cafe or restaurant will best suit your occasion. Need help finding us? Refer to our centre info page here, or contact us on 07 5506 5300.