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Does Chocolate Count?

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ResolvableOwl

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Hi everyone,

long time lurker, now I finally made it and signed up!
That makes this post kind of an introduction to myself too. Still I'll post it here and not into the introductory forum, since I'll (try to) restrict myself here to another vice of mine.

There is that beautiful adage, attributed to John Tullius, that states “Nine out of ten people like chocolate, and the tenth is lying.” Well, as someone prone to taking things serious, I'm for sure not the tenth one, haha! Still in school, I already started melting up chocolate bars and combining them into all the crazy variants that I've ever missed in the shops (like white chocolate+peanut butter, toasted sesame&poppy seed, cereal crisp cardamom, cashew gianduja …). A few years later, together with a friend, I intensified these efforts. We got pure cocoa butter and silicone chocolate moulds, and collected some experience about constitution of chocolate, properties of cocoa components (provenance, alkaline treatment), sugar(s), additives (lecithin etc.), the stubborn tempering protocol, flavouring via spice maceration, building a conche prototype… quite a fun time, and though we tried hard to stay non-commercial, we couldn't prevent some friends from paying us money in exchange for a few of these bars…

However, back then it was impossible to buy things like cocoa butter in retail shops. So we had to order some things in unsightly bulk packages from online traders. Back then, I was always annoyed by these cosmetic suppliers who “diluted” the few food-grade suppliers of stovetop chocolate manufacturing. Though, things have changed. Nowadays you can buy cocoa butter in the supermarket, and the virus of DIY soapmaking, after a few years of incubation time, has finally infected me. The same me who still had numerous silicone moulds and a cask of shea butter catching dust…
That's the short (and horribly incomplete) story about my way from chocolate into soapmaking (or, more precisely: into soap and chocolate making). A few weeks ago, I bought some two-part silicone rubber to cast some new moulds, amongst others for iridescent chocolate, but probably soapy things too?

Anyway, expect (or encourage) me to share some chocolatey experiences with you here! The inner values of chocolate bars are paramount to me, so while incredibly delicious (or horribly bitter when I once again forgot to put sugar in them), they are just about always mere dark brown blocks/sheets, and IMHO look repetitive and not particularly photogenic. That is, they are beautiful (there is nothing like that perfect silken surface of a freshly cast bar of chocolate!) but it would be unfair to you, to only show them in expressionless photographs and not letting you try them (-:
 

earlene

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I do like chocolate, but I have to avoid if I don't want pimples inside my ears, behind my ears, on my face, and in other really uncomfortable spots. Oddly when I was young, chocolate didn't bother me the way it does since aging. Greasy food, on the other hand, did. Now I just can't seem to eat even a little chocolate without a breakout.

In any case, my favorite chocolate was made at a small vegan restaurant in Panama City Beach, Florida a few years back while vacationing with my husband. He found the restaurant as a treat for me and I ordered 'raw chocolate', which was made by mixing softened cocoa butter (not cooked, but softened with a bit of heat) and cocoa powder (I think she said it was cocoa powder) and possibly some vanilla bean. I don't recall exactly what the owner told me when I asked how can you make 'raw' chocolate (having been eating a raw vegan diet, I was interested in her answer as to how she achieved this feat. Anyway, it was delicious.

I would happily read about your chocolate-making adventures and of course love to see photos as well. And given my need to avoid eating them, personally I don't think it would be at all unfair to share the descriptions and images without providing consumable samples.
 

GemstonePony

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I love chocolate! I consider it a food group, and have multiple stashes of it that I keep stocked at all times. I also love baking with it, but I have an unfortunate history of burning it when trying to melt it.

My primary use of cocoa butter is in my bath bombs/fizzies, but it's a frequent ingredient in my lip balms, body butters, and, of course, soap recipes. Some of the body products require that the formula is tempered, which I'm sadly inconsistent at nailing, but when I get it right IMO they're fantastic.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Just today I made a “masterpiece” of what chocolate shoud not look like. The surface texture looks amazing, but any chocolate aficionado will rightly hate it: it melts terrible and the taste is ruined. Luckily enough, it is only a pre-mixed staple mass (“masterbatch” in soap-speak), and will be re-melted, partly as is, partly with spicy or crunchy additions. Then at some day in the near future, when casting into its final shapes, it'll get another chance to get the crystal structure it deserves.

tl;dr: Get your tempering right. 32°C is probably fine, 33°C is deadly.

FYI: 81% cocoa, 50% abs. cocoa butter.
 

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TheGecko

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I make a mean Chocolate Espresso soap make with real Hershey's Cocoa.
 
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