At Heavenly Cacao we have lost count of how many batches of chocolate we have made!
And on our chocolate adventures we think we have made just about every mistake in the book which is great because it means we have picked up some tips and tricks so you can make heavenly chocolates straight away. Please email us if you would like any advice.
1) Chocolate needs time to chillax
Quite literally! Just like a pasta tastes better the next day, chocolate tastes better after it has had a chance to rest. Not that is won't be delicious straight away... It will but do a little experiment next time you make some. Have a few pieces straight away then again in 24 hours and see if you notice a difference.
2) Coconut Oil
If you are running low on cacao butter, coconut oil makes an excellent substitute so use it instead. Add a few tablespoons to our basic dark chocolate recipe for a smoother texture and flavour.
3) Carob Powder
Carob powder adds a lovely flavour to raw chocolate as it is naturally sweet. Use it instead of cacao powder in our basic dark chocolate recipe for a more malted/milky flavour.
4) Liquid sweetener vs granulated sugar vs tempering
When making chocolate at home if you don't have a melanger or vitamix it is important to use a liquid sweetener so your chocolate has a smooth texture. If you use granulated sugar your chocolate will be gritty. Commercial chocolate achieves it's smooth texture, generally, by being ground in a melanger or conch to get the particle size to 15 microns.
Using a liquid sweetener does mean that your chocolate will need to be kept in the fridge in warmer climates however we think this is not a problem because even traditional chocolate will not temper if the room humidity is above 60% or if the room temperature exceeds 21 degrees celsius, which obviously includes most places in Australia.
Note: If you are making traditional chocolate in a warm climate and you want to temper it, in order to remove the excess humidity, you will need run your air-conditioning continuously for 48 hours on 20 degrees celsius.
5) Use wholefood and superfood ingredients to boost nutrition
Add wholefood ingredients to your chocolate to add nutrition. For example use fresh cherries instead of the candied glace cherries or fresh coconuts, shredded coconut or coconut oil instead of coconut flavouring. Superfoods such as goji berries and supergreen powders such as spirulina, barley, chlorella are great for boosting energy and nutrition aswell.
6) Water in the chocolate
When melting the ingredients, sometimes you will accidentally get water in your chocolate mixture. The beauty is that oil and water don't mix so simply scoop it out. If it is a large amount of water and you can't get it all out you can add more cacao butter or coconut oil to prevent thickening from the chocolate.
7) Keeping raw temperatures
To keep your cacao raw the temperature must not exceed 47 degrees celsius. The easiest way to do this is to use hot tap water to sit your bowls of cacao in. This will take longer to melt but significantly reduces the risk of going over the maximum raw temperature.
You can also use boiling water from the kettle. This is much faster however, if you are strictly adhering to traditional raw, this will take constant monitoring to ensure the temperature remains below 47 degrees.
There are a few easy methods for tempering which we will explore in our soon to be released video series however what we would like to point out here is that if you are using a liquid sweetener your chocolate will not temper due to the water content in the liquid sweetener. Therefore you will most likely need to keep your chocolate in the fridge, if you are in a warmer climate.