The next morning I still had the itch and I was bound and determined to take another shot at making chocolate. I had been thinking about what I could use to grind up the chocolate other than the morter and pestle. The only thing that really came to mind was the blender. I had no idea what would happen but I decided to try it.
So I woke up went downstairs and began winnowing the beans I had cooked the night before. After seperating out the nibs from the husks, I threw them all in the blender. It was barely enough beans to cover the blades, but I was fearless and pushed the button. The blender did a great job of whacking the beans up into small pieces. It then made them smaller and smaller. Meanwhile the level of beans kept going down as we got rid of more of the air space. I had to start feeding the blades with a spoon after a while. It did not look like anything was happening. The grounds just kept getting smaller and then the blades would clear out an air pocket. Then I'd have to push the beans back into the pocket. I kept doing this for about 15-30 minutes. Finally it began to happen. The oil started to come out of the grounds. The blender created enough heat to keep it liquid and soon I had a pure chocolate liquor.
I had to have a taste but of course it was very bitter. I began looking for the powdered sugar, and found out that we had run out of it. I didn't have time to go to the grocery store so I decided to try some regular granulated sugar. Without measuring, I added some and turned the blender back on. It didn't taste right so I added more and blended more. Still didn't taste right so I added more and blended more.
The chocolate did not seem to be sweetening up. There are two possible reasons I can think of. The sugar and chocolate never really mixed up. I did not blend long enough for the sugar to smooth out and absorb into the chocolate and therefore the flavors never blended together. The second possible reason is that I allowed the chocolate to heat up too much and it burnt. I'm not sure which one is the reason, but the outcome of this batch was a bowl of hardened, gritty, bitter chocolate that none of us really wanted to eat.
I hadn't given up hope yet though and I was ready for the next experiment.
Over the past few weeks I've begun experimenting with making chocolate. I ordered two pounds of Trinidad San Antonio Cacao beens from Stone and Giacomotto
. It took about 2 weeks to receive the beans.
The first night I got them I cracked one open and tried one raw. Yuck... definately not very good and even worse I read later that they can contain all sorts of bacteria and stuff so I won't do that again. I guess this makes since since the beans had been fermenting for a couple days before they were dried out.
The next day I tried roasting about 1/8 lb. using some directions I saw at Chocolate Alchemy.
The first batch was probably not big enough because they came out very scorched and I had to throw them away.
I tried again with the same size batch but shorter roasting times and lower temperatures. These came out great so I used this as the template for future baking.
Next came the grinding. I did not know how to go about doing this, so my first attempt was with a morter and pestle. It took a long time to begin to get chocolate, but after a while I was able to begin to liquify the powder. I then added some powdered sugar and it started to taste very good. I had to take a break for dinner, but was able to go back to grinding easily by warming the morter up by the fire.
It did not make much but Lori and I each got a very satisfying spoonful of good dark chocolate. It was a lot of work for that spoonful though.
I went to bed that night thinking of how I could make more with less labor