How to make chocolate
Essentially there are two ways to make chocolateChocolate the way you and I know it - as an edible treat - didn't start out that way. In fact, much of chocolate's history tells us it was enjoyed as a beverage, and without added sugar. According to Smithsonian.com, the word "chocolate" likely was derived from the Aztec word "xocoatl," a bitter drink extracted from cacao beans.
Edible, sweetened chocolate didn't make an appearance until the Europeans discovered the Americas some time later. And how to make chocolate is as varied as the types of chocolate now available to us.
Essentially there are two ways to make chocolate.
To become an amateur do-it-yourself chocolatier, you must first decide if you want to make the chocolate from scratch or use the shortcut method.
Making chocolate from scratch is a long process that requires the right equipment. Start by selecting the cocoa beans, depending on their flavor, and then cracking, separating and grinding the beans into what is referred to as the chocolate liquor. Or, skip those steps entirely and make your chocolate by using baking chocolate. Thus, you can make chocolate by using chocolate as your main ingredient.
How to make chocolate also depends on what type of chocolate you desire. Obviously there are hundreds of types of chocolates to choose from, but for the sake of time we are going to focus on your basic chocolate truffle.
Double boiler (or two pots; one should fit inside the other)
Dipping fork and spoon
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
A variety of fine chocolate bars (you can buy these at your local grocery store or chocolate shop)
1. Cut the butter and chocolate into pieces. Soften the butter (but don't heat it) by leaving it out at room temperature before adding.
2. Bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil, constantly stirring.
3. Remove the cream and pour it over the bits of chocolate. Mash and stir the chocolate as the hot cream melts it. Work from the middle to the outer portion of the bowl, stirring in concentric circles, until the heavy cream and chocolate are completely blended.
4. Add the butter and your optional filling (ie: 1 Tbsp. of liquor, 1 Tbsp. of any flavor extract, nuts, 1 Tbsp. instant coffee, 1/4 cup of berry puree)
5. Allow the mixture to cool.
6. Once cool, scoop the mixture using a melon baller and set it on wax paper. Dust the truffles with cocoa powder and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to week.
For an interesting twist, melt the fine chocolate bars in a pot. Once melted, dip the truffles (one at a time) into the chocolate using your dipping fork. Let cool and store in the refrigerator.
Note: This recipe was adapted from essortment.com.