Chocolate Making with Kids

This one is not a chocolate business related article.

I was recently asked by the Kindergarten teacher at our school to talk about chocolate. And my answer was, "Of course, but why just talk? Let's make some chocolate!"

This weekend I decided to practice with tools from a regular home kitchen:

  • Mini food processor with blades (don't use a bur grinder - it will clog up horribly)
  • Kitchen scale (preferably one that measures grams - proportions are much easier using grams)
  • Small bowls
  • Spoons
  • Bar mold (optional)

I started out with some roasted cacao beans. I chose some beans from Hawaii that have virtually no bitterness or astringency. Just the roasted beans tasted already really good. I peeled them by hand which is tedious, but cracking them and then using a hairdryer for winnowing is just too messy to do with Kindergarten kids. I used the following recipe to make a 45% milk chocolate:

  • 100g roasted and peeled cacao beans or nibs
  • 50g cacao butter
  • 133g cane sugar
  • 50g whole milk powder

I put all the ingredients into the small food processor and started blending. Initially it was just mixing and pulverizing the ingredients, but after a while the cacao butter started to melt and the mass became muddy. Eventually it became a liquid. Tasting the mass at this point revealed a nice milk chocolate flavor. The mass was still somewhat gritty, but for showing how to make chocolate it was fine. I mixed half of the mass with cereal to make a simple confection and the rest I poured into a bar mold.

While this can by no means compare with a high quality chocolate, it is fun to do with kids and teaches them were chocolate comes from!

The ingredients can be found in some health food stores or on the internet, e.g. at www.chocolatealchemy.com