For those out there that are chocolatiers, you are familiar with the intoxicating smell of cacao butter melting in the dehydrator and also with the way cacao powder seems to gravitate towards all things white. I spent last night in the kitchen preparing chocolate for a promotional holiday party. Free raw chocolate is a great way to promote your business. What’s my business these days? Good question. As usual I’m playing “the Jack” as in “Jack of all Trades”. The Jack is cool and all. It’s royalty, but it ain’t The King or even The Ace. So I’m selling super foods, teaching classes, consulting, hosting dinners and preparing packaged foods… oh yeah and occasionally making videos, posting blogs and working on a recipe book. Wow, when I look it like that I feel like I’m spreading myself thin. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I’m doing all of those things everyday, some of them I’ll only do once a month. Believe me I find time in there for surfing and other forms of recreation.
So where was I? Making free chocolate for a promotional event, ah yes. That’s the whole dynamic of “you’ve got to spend money to make money”, but whose in it for money? My motto is “you gotta do what you love to love what your doing”, which I can affirm. So playing The Jack(fruit) and occasionally The Joker is cool with me…
Here’s a sampling of what I made last night:
Candied Pecans dipped in chocolate, I made little sandwiches by dipping the flat half of the pecan and then placing another flat half
on top of the other. This way you can pick up the choccie pecan sandwich without it melting in your fingers.
Chocolate Caramel Squares: I busted out the casserole dish, layed down some wax paper and poured a layer of chocolate for this creation. I set the chocolate in the fridge, made a caramel, poured that over set chocolate and spread it within a quarter inch of the edges of the chocolate, back in the freezer to set and the caramel layer with a layer of chocolate that went to the edges. At this point I should have set it in the fridge because I eventually had to cut it into squares. A casserole sized chocolate caramel bar is a little excessive. Trying to cut it directly out of the freezer caused some of the chocolate to crack… little patients and thawing allowed me to make clean cuts.
Chocolate Hearts with Goji and Coconunt: this is a Valentines Day classic that never fails to please. I sprinkled the goji and coconut into the molds before I poured the chocolate in. This heart molds are super easy to use. I scored them at Target in the bargain bin just after Valentines last year… Score!
So that was it for free chocolate schwag. I’m hoping that I’ll have some left overs to share with family and friends. Myself I’m choco’d-out. Making chocolate takes its toll on me with all the sampling you have to do. By the end of the night I feel like flying and I this funny sensation in my chest like my heart is radiating out of my chest: raw chocolate is a true heart opener. So I’ve come down of the cacao cloud. I tend to burn out quick on cacao powder and that’s why I stick to the nibs.
Here’s the basic chocolate recipe I used:
Cacao Butter – 10 oz. about 1 1/2 C melted
Agave – 1/4 C
Palm Sugar – 1/2 C
Lucuma – 1/4 C
Cacao Powder – 8 oz about 1 3/4 C
pinch of Himalayan salt
I melted the cacao butter in the dehydrator in a metal bowl with a fork laying in the bowl. I do this to draw heat into the center of the melting cacao. The metal bowl conducts heat better than glass or pyrex which are actually an insulators. I then moved to my double boiler set up which is a crock pot filled enough to float the metal bowl. I check the water temp. with a small thermometer and turn the crock off and on accordingly. Next I mix in the agave, salt and palm sugar with the melted butter. I do this in the bowl using a blending wand. These things are cheap and very useful for blending directly inside of bowls and even wide mouthed jars. It’s good to have a second set of hands at this point but it can be done alone… Once the cacao butter, agave and palm sugar is blended I start adding the cacao butter and mixing. You can sift the cacao powder into the mixture as well which makes things easier. With the hand blender there is the danger of spraying chocolate all over the place. I like to live on the edge. I only had minor splatters from this undertaking.
A couple tips for using the hand blender.
- Make sure your bowl is wide and deep enough to prevent from slinging your mix everywhere.
- Lift the mixing wand up out of the mixer to create a vortex of chocolate spray. Do this carefully because this the “wall splatter”danger zone. Tilting the wand on an angle will also pull floating ingredients down into the blending vortex.
- Unplug hand blender before licking the blade.