Sunday, December 18, 2011

How NOT to Make Chocolate

All this research looking into cacao and cocoa production and starting a chocolate business has me anxious to make some good ole chocolate of my own! So I went on YouTube to look for some videos on how to make it. I found a video that shows how easy it is! Check it out here:

125g vegetable shortening (Copha or solidified coconut oil works fine)
125g confectioner's sugar (pure icing sugar)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder (good quality)
4 tablespoons powdered milk (full cream)
Pinch of salt

Seems simple enough right?

Well, I went out and got ingredients. But it's a little different from the video considering I'm in the United States and we've got different products. I went to an organic store and got some Navitas Naturals brand raw cacao powder from Peru (though packaged in Novato, California). I also got Bob's Red Mill brand sweet cream buttermilk powder, premium quality. Then I went to Ralph's grocery store to get powdered sugar, salt, and instead of Copha I got a 3 block pack Crisco vegetable shortening.

After watching the video, I thought it'd be super easy to make this. The problem was that I don't have a clear understanding of what 125 grams of anything looks like! Grams? My kitchen drawer has tablespoons and measuring cups. Nothing in grams, really. So I just sort of guess-timated. That's okay to do when baking, right?

Keep in mind too, that I've never really baked much before! So after my first attempt at making chocolate . . . . IT WAS TERRIBLE!!! It was kinda hard to stomach actually. It was ultra creamy and somewhat sweet, but it was really gross! The pic to the right is what it looked like ------>

I am well on my way to building my super successful social enterprise chocolate business! Sigh.

Okay, don't do that again.

I didn't want to leave it at this first terrible batch so I wanted to try again. This time I figured I had better get my measurements of ingredients closer to correct if I want it to at least taste like chocolate. After going online, I found a conversion calculator from grams to cups. That's better! So 125 grams is about half a cup. My mistake the first time around was putting twice the powdered sugar as what I was supposed to and also putting four times the crisco as I was supposed to. Ew.

Correct proportions made all the difference! My second batch turned out great! And it tasted like chocolate too! See picture to the left.

Now that I have an idea of what proportions I need for each of the essential ingredients, now it'll be fun to experiment with different substitutes and additional things. Maybe instead of powdered milk, try liquid milk. Instead of Peruvian cacao, try Ecuadorian cacao (or even some sourced from the Philippines, if I can find it). I'd like to try adding almonds or pepper mint or hazel nut or caramel. This will be the fun part! Seeing which blends work well and trying to market it!

One step at a time first. I'll be interested to see some chocolate manufacturing in the Philippines.


  1. NO! Not crisco! Stay away from palm oil and from hydrogenated soy (and all hydrogenated oils). Use some good quality coconut oil instead. You're offsetting all the good qualities of the cacao by using such a harmful oil.
    That being said, the rest of the recipe sounds fantastic! Thanks for showing us your process. How not to do it is just as beneficial as how to do it. ;-)

  2. ah! Julie! What would I do without you! See I would not have even thought about crisco. Okay, i'll use coconut oil from now on!

    See if a mainstream guy like me can learn to take better steps, then anyone can!

    Thanks a ton Julie!


  3. Try adding bacon, Chili flakes,and sea salt (not all at once)

  4. really creative post. love how you connect us with something we all love!