Friday, November 7, 2008

Try, try again... and again...

So I had a couple of major failures last night. Trial and error is really hard, especially when your materials aren't cheap. These were my first attempts at making chocolate from chocolate liquor. It is a solid liquor, so it melted easily, but it is unsweetened. Usually the sugar and other flavors are added in the grinding process. Or during the conching process. But since I'm not a factory, I can't do that. So I added the sugar in slowly, hoping that it would dissolve nicely into the melted cocoa. It wasn't too bad. It was still a little grainy, but the chocolate had a beautiful shine to it.

Then I added the vanilla - an alcohol based substance - to a very hot oil based substance. Big mistake.

Needless to say, this is not a chocolate I can mold into lovely little perfect squares. The hot vanilla turned it into a charred mess of really delicious-smelling goop.

So, round 2! I decided that, since it was still grainy, and all of the sugar hadn't dissolved, I was going to melt the sugar first - with the vanilla - and then add it to the melted chocolate. Liquid added to liquid should be good, right? Wrong.

As you can see, the sugar was much hotter than the chocolate. So when I added it to the chocolate it instantly cooled, and turned into an amoeba of rock candy.

Needless to say I was a bit discouraged. And by a bit, I mean there were tears. I ended up emailing a friend of my sister who is an accomplished choclatier. He was very obliging, and tried to answer all of my questions. He too is interested in working with flavors. Apparently, though, he does not make his chocolate from scratch. He says, that's what the chocolate production companies and factories are for. They make the good chocolate with the the large machinery, and we add the flair.

I didn't want to do this originally. I wanted to have complete control over every aspect of the chocolate. But I have to admit, it's looking more and more appealing every day.


LeeBee said...

I dare not dispute the input of your expert, but I am now curious as to what would happen if you made your sugar syrup, cooled it down a touch and added your chocolate to that?

Of course, if I want to do such an experiment, I can certainly do so myself. I used to love the chem lab! That may be what's got me so fascinated with this particular experiment.

LeeBee said...

Oh, and I also am now thinking of fudge-making, where things crystalize in a nasty way when they're stirred before their time.

Dang, this is interesting. (hums)