Homemade Super-Cacao Chocolate
We're serious chocolate addicts here at Aduna Towers so this recipe for a homemade version from Aduna Triber Henrietta is proving a huge hit! Unlike the shop-bought stuff, it's free from emulsifiers and refined sugar, but it doesn't sacrifice taste or texture one bit. Try turning it into bars topped with colourful dried fruit and nuts for the perfect DIY gifts.
Makes about 450 g (1 lb) chocolate / 5 x 90 g (3 oz) bars
250 g (8¾ oz/1⅛ cup) cacao butter, chopped or processed into small pieces
125 g (4½ oz/1 cup plus 1 tbsp) Aduna Super-Cacao Powder
90 g (3 oz/generous ¼ cup) maple syrup
1 vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
Suggested toppings and flavourings:
Wonder berry bar Goji berries, white mulberries, Incan berries, buckwheat groats, hulled hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds
Exotic bar Dried mango, dried pineapple, toasted coconut flakes and cacao nibs
Fruit ‘n’ nut 1 Chopped dried apricots and figs, raisins, brazil nuts and almonds
Fruit ‘n’ nut 2 Pistachio, hazelnut, dried cranberry and dried blueberry
Peppermint Add 1 tsp pure unsweetened peppermint extract to 90 g (3 oz) chocolate, then fill the mould
Bitter orange Add 1 tsp pure unsweetened orange extract to 90 g (3 oz) chocolate, fill the mould, then decorate with cacao nibs
Rose, orange blossom, raspberry, macadamia and sesame Add a generous ½ tsp rosewater and ½ tsp orange blossom water to 90 g (3 oz) chocolate, pour into the mould and then decorate with freeze dried raspberries, macadamia nuts and white sesame seeds
Line a large 35 x 25 x 2 cm deep (13¾ x 9¾ x ¾ inch) tray with baking parchment.
Make a bainmarie by fitting a glass or ceramic bowl over a saucepan of water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the actual water. Bring the water to the boil then turn it down to a simmer.
Very slowly melt the cacao butter in the bowl of the bain-marie. Take the cacao butter to no higher than 40–45°C/104–113°F. If you think it is getting too hot but hasn’t all melted, take it off the heat to finish melting. It is important not to overheat it or the chocolate will taste grainy and be ‘bloomed’, with a white cloudy appearance.
When the cacao butter has melted and is at around 40–45°C/104–113°F, add the rest of the ingredients. This should lower the temperature and we now want to bring it down to 28–30°C/82–86°F; just above or below will be fine.
Blend all the ingredients together with a hand-held blender to get rid of any cacao powder lumps and until velvety smooth and glossy. Do not over-blend or the chocolate will stiffen too much. If it is too stiff, place the bowl back over the hot water and stir gently for a minute or so then remove from the heat. Keep stirring the chocolate gently to cool it then, when around 28–30°C/82–86°F, pour it into the lined tray.
Bang the tray on a surface and shake it gently to get rid of any air bubbles and make a nice even layer of chocolate, then refrigerate.
Break up the set chocolate and store in a large glass jar or container in the fridge, where it will keep for at least three months.
Make your own chocolate bars:
You need chocolate moulds measuring 15 x 7 x 1 cm deep (6 x 2¾ x ⅓ inch). Wash the moulds with hot water, soap and a soft cloth, then dry with a cloth and polish with cotton wool before each use.
Make or melt the amount of homemade chocolate you want to use in a bain-marie (see above). Once the chocolate is around 28–30°C/82–86°F, pour or ladle it into the moulds, one at a time. Each bar (with above dimensions) can take 90 g (3 oz) of chocolate.
Shake the moulds slightly and bang them a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make an even layer. Next, if you want to, add 40–50 g (1½–1¾ oz) of toppings (see above for suggestions) and transfer to the fridge immediately to set. If you are in a rush, place in the freezer. Once set, the bars will fall out easily from the moulds.
If you don’t have moulds, don’t panic, just make some delicious chocolate bark by pouring the melted chocolate onto a baking tray lined with parchment, cover with your preferred toppings, refrigerate and then break up into pieces.
Recipe and image taken from Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, photography by Lisa Linder, published by Jacqui Small (£20). Available here.