Ask anyone about chocolate and I guarantee that most people love it or have at least tried it. This post is dedicated to all things chocolate. Keep reading to learn how to make chocolate bars from cocoa powder. You will also learn what chocolate is, the history of chocolate, its health benefits, and the different types of chocolate to enjoy.
What is Chocolate?
Chocolate comes from the fruit of a tropical tree, Theobroma Cacao. The scientific name, Theobroma Cacao, has the meaning of “Food for the Gods” in the Greek language. This cacao tree is also native to South America. Chocolate is actually from the seed of the cacao fruit which is almost the size of an olive. In one cacao fruit pod, you can find at least 30 to 45 seeds, and these seeds are covered by a white pulp called the “baba”.
The cacao seeds or beans will undergo a process called fermentation which takes around 9 days and the seeds will change their color and take on the flavor of what we know as chocolate. After fermentation, they are dried under the sun for 7 to 14 days. The dried cacao beans are then sold to chocolate makers to roast and ground to create the chocolate products. Each chocolate maker can then add flavors or make different types of chocolates from the grounded cacao nibs.
History of Chocolate
Chocolate has had a very long history in this world and is estimated to have been invented 4000 years ago. It was discovered that the first cacao plant was found during the time of the Olmecs. It was thought that they were the first ones to turn cacao pods into chocolate to be used as a ceremonial drink.
The Olmec then passed down their knowledge of making chocolate drinks from cacao pods to the Mayans which they deemed the “drink for the gods”. The Mayans then used that knowledge to create their own chocolate drinks mixed with cornmeal, chilis, and water. They also created a foamy chocolate drink called “xocolatl”.
Chocolate has been so popular and so valuable that cacao beans were used as a currency in the 15th century by the Aztecs. They used the cacao beans to buy their food and drinks.
It was also said that chocolate first arrived in Europe around 1528 by the famed Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés in the country of Spain. The other neighboring countries caught on to the popularity of chocolates and tried making chocolates in their country.
In 1847, a British chocolate company, the Fry’s, created the very first molded chocolate bar with a chocolate paste made of sugar, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor. Chocolate’s 4000-year history sure is a colorful story, passed a lot of generations, and opened a lot of innovations that brought light to how we enjoy our chocolate treats now.
Chocolate Health Benefits
Chocolate sometimes has a bad reputation due to its high sugar and fat content. It has also been associated with causing high blood pressure, diabetes, acne, and obesity. However, nowadays there have been studies conducted that show positive results of chocolate consumption.
Among all the chocolate types, the healthiest option is dark chocolate as it has the highest chocolate content and the most health benefits. It helps to reduce the bad cholesterol and improve blood pressure in your body. Dark chocolate helps lower the risk of developing heart disease. Dark chocolate also contains different nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, copper, fiber, and potassium.
Types of Chocolate
Let’s list down the different types of chocolates and what makes them different from each other.
- Dark Chocolate: This type of chocolate is produced with a higher amount of cocoa. This chocolate can be eaten on its own and used in cooking.
- Milk Chocolate: This type of chocolate is made from chocolate with added milk which can either be in powdered or liquid form.
- White Chocolate: This type of chocolate is made with cocoa powder, milk, cocoa butter, and sugar. It remains solid even at room temperature.
- Ruby Chocolate: This is the newest type of chocolate that was developed in 2004 by Barry Callebaut and released to the public in 2017. The taste is described as “sour yet sweet”.
- Raw Chocolate: This type is the purest form of chocolate as it does not undergo any processing and is not mixed with other ingredients.
- Cocoa Powder: This type of chocolate is the grounded cocoa nibs after the cocoa butter has been extracted. It is usually used in baking and for drinking consumption.
How to Make Chocolate Bars From Cocoa Powder
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Cooking time: 5 minutes
- Total time: 15 minutes
- Servings: 3 – 4 Bars
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup powdered milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Take your coconut oil and melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar with the coconut oil and mix together.
- Now add the cocoa powder and milk powder and mix well.
- Add the vanilla extract and stir once again. This is also the step when you can add toppings such as marshmallows, or other preferred mix-ins,
- Pour the mixture into a tray or a candy mold and put it in the freezer for at least an hour to solidify.
- After an hour, you can now take it out and enjoy it!
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