One time Kai was tasting some honey we got from a friend. " It tastes so good --like it's right from the bee!" He was so excited. My kids saw bags of cocoa beans for sale when we were in Nicaragua for you to make your own chocolate. I didn't buy them there, but when I saw some in the Asian store for not too much,I couldn't resist buying them to make our own chocolate "right from the bean!"
The first step is roasting them in the oven. Not too bad, although the directions I found said vague things like: until they aren't burnt, but aren't raw either. ???? How can you tell? I winged it. I think we got pretty close. It smelled wonderful in the house --like brownies! The hard part is getting the shells off each bean.
Jeff did a couple and said they reminded him of cockroaches. ick. There WAS something about the shape and color and crunch of the shells though...wait stop stop. I'm grossing myself out.
All the kids helped. In fact we left the bowls out on the counter for a few days, and as we walked by we would all do a few until they were all peeled. Took us a week. Seriously.
But finally they were all done.
To really do chocolate right, you need a grinder like Indian chefs use to make dal --but they are around 800.00. Yeah, not going to invest that much. I used my food processor. I got a little frustrated for a while, because it kept piling up the sides, and not getting more ground down. Finally I took the blade out of the bowl, and heated it in the microwave for a minute or so to melt the cocoa butter in the beans. THEN things started happening!
After a while it ground down to what looked like melted chocolate. Pretty neat. I did some quick calculations, and figured out how much sugar to add based on weight to make it 60% dark chocolate. I melted it together in a double boiler for a while, but I wish I'd used confectioner's sugar. The chocolate was a little grainy from using only a food processor as it was, and I couldn't get the regular sugar to melt enough. Oh well, next time I will know better.
I spooned it into ice cube trays, and threw it in the fridge to harden.
Chocolate! It's a little grainy, and dark. It reminds me of "Abuelita" Mexican drinking chocolate, but tastes pretty good anyway!