Don’t forget to add the sugar
Monday January 03rd 2022, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Food

Begin as you mean to go on in the year.

We were down to our last half a bar of homemade chocolate and only still have that because we didn’t want to finish off our supply entirely on our drive home from Salinas on Saturday. It was time.

You start off running the cacao nibs through the Cuisinart to make the pieces fine enough for the melanger. There are professional ones made to last that you wouldn’t need to do that for; ours, I think we’re safer babying the thing.

But it has been a good machine for us.

You put a half cup in, just a little, enough that the stones have something to work against but not so much that they seize up (ask us how we know) and then, a little at a time, gradually add more nibs. There’s about six cups in there now.

There’s a change, audible even to me, when the last of the hard bits suddenly begin to stop spitting upwards and bouncing around and free-for-all-ing in Brownian motion but start to join the slowly liquifying rest as the roughest edges are ground away by the friction and motion and weight of the stones against them. The growl from the machine gives way to humming its steady chocolate song as the cacao rides its rollercoaster up and around, over, down, over, up, around, and back the other way and again. The sharp acidity that hits your nose at the start (some varieties definitely more than others) mellows, even before the sugar arrives awhile later.

It’s meant to be like this, it’s how it makes those rocky little pebbles become what we were looking forward to all along and why we put up with the work and the lifting and the noise.

(I wrote this and then did the math and now .6 lb of sugar joined the 2.4 lbs in the melanger. 80%.)

3 Comments so far
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You add the sugar later? Not at the beginning?

Snowed in. I should get started. It’s been awhile and I need to dig through my notes.

Comment by Afton 01.04.22 @ 5:10 am

This whole process is fascinating! Not unlike starting with a sheep and finishing with a sweater, you start with these odd little nibs and end up with chocolate!

Comment by ccr in MA 01.04.22 @ 7:19 am

I too worked with chocolate today! Not like you though, I made a big chocolate cake with icing…I’m sure your chocolate was much higher quality but mine will be good enough! Like Afton, we’ve got snow and it’ll be -40 tonight. Not going out for better chocolate just now.

Comment by Joanne 01.04.22 @ 8:30 pm

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