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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ResolvableOwl

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small_chocolate_moulds.jpg


Got new mini chocolate bar moulds! The large “brick wall” bars are about 25 g, the small ones 8 g each, so they give lovely presents, and they fit well between my 4 g micro bars and the 200 g behemoths. The moulds are made of polycarbonate, so they're not lye safe and I will use them only for chocolate, not for soap, sorry! /-:
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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View attachment 55085

Got new mini chocolate bar moulds! The large “brick wall” bars are about 25 g, the small ones 8 g each, so they give lovely presents, and they fit well between my 4 g micro bars and the 200 g behemoths. The moulds are made of polycarbonate, so they're not lye safe and I will use them only for chocolate, not for soap, sorry! /-:
Now I'm craving Yummy Chocolate 😋🤩
 

ResolvableOwl

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Just imagine my situation … There is a reason why the upside-down bar is only 2×2 and not 2×3 as the others… I didn't make (all of) them for myself.
 

Tara_H

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Oh no, stop, I don't need another hobby! (And a reason to eat more)
Those are gorgeous, and it's so interesting to hear about the intricacies! I'm allergic to milk so I can't eat 99% of the chocolate in the supermarket. When I want a chocolate fix I usually do a special order for some Booja Booja...
 

ResolvableOwl

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Aaand, another treat…

Originally, I justified my last haul in soapmaking oils with the purchase of palm kernel oil, that has its use in confectionery too, but is plain impossible to get in household quantities (palm FUD doing their dirty business?). I know that this is cosmetic-grade, and not food-grade PKO, but I had to try this: Eiskonfekt (which isn't really internationally established, and roughly translates to “ice confectionery”). Basically chocolate, but the cocoa butter swapped for palm kernel oil, which happens to rapidly melt on the tongue, leaving a cooling sensation, and distributing the taste quickly in the whole mouth.

What should I say? These are these beauties:
eiskonfekt.jpg
They are ruined! As interesting and artistic these marble effects might look, they were an accident. I did not intend them, and my chocolatier me was so angry that it had to dispose of the two worst bars, right out of the mould 😋.
Probably the recipe wasn't just what the ingredients demanded for. I'll have to do some more research than just swapping cocoa butter by PKO. But, as a proof of concept, they're fine. I plan to add hazelnut, vanilla/tonka and/or coffee as flavourings at some future time.
 

GemstonePony

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Aaand, another treat…

Originally, I justified my last haul in soapmaking oils with the purchase of palm kernel oil, that has its use in confectionery too, but is plain impossible to get in household quantities (palm FUD doing their dirty business?). I know that this is cosmetic-grade, and not food-grade PKO, but I had to try this: Eiskonfekt (which isn't really internationally established, and roughly translates to “ice confectionery”). Basically chocolate, but the cocoa butter swapped for palm kernel oil, which happens to rapidly melt on the tongue, leaving a cooling sensation, and distributing the taste quickly in the whole mouth.

What should I say? These are these beauties:
View attachment 55751
They are ruined! As interesting and artistic these marble effects might look, they were an accident. I did not intend them, and my chocolatier me was so angry that it had to dispose of the two worst bars, right out of the mould 😋.
Probably the recipe wasn't just what the ingredients demanded for. I'll have to do some more research than just swapping cocoa butter by PKO. But, as a proof of concept, they're fine. I plan to add hazelnut, vanilla/tonka and/or coffee as flavourings at some future time.
I do not need another hobby, I do NOT need another hobby, I do not NEED another hobby.. but, uh, how hard is it to get into chocolatiering? Like, theoretically speaking, obviously, what's the hardest part?
 

ResolvableOwl

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Since you ask purely theoretically, I don't have to bother with the boring details of running a business, like operating a shop, tax returns, sanitary permits etc. (I couldn't say a lot about these anyway, since I'm doing this on a low-intensity hobbyist level.)

Initially (several years ago), it was very difficult to get my hands on cocoa butter. That has become a lot easier, and for soapers anyway. Cocoa powder is a snake pit on itself, don't even think of becoming ambitious until you have sourced half a dozen of different cocoa powders (or cocoa mass if available) 🤣 . Chocolate moulds are not that difficult to get; silicone is not the last word, professionals (like me…) use rigid acrylic or polycarbonate moulds with good success.
The single most tedious part in making chocolate is tempering. Always and always again that cooling–heating cycle. 32°C are fine, but 33°C means that you have to start from the beginning… There are tools out there (water-bath thermostat), and I was tempted more than once to get one, although they are not cheap, and pose some limits on minimum and maximum batch size. I finally got one of these handy spatulas with a built-in thermometer, which proves to be very useful, together with an improvised water bath, and my induction stove that I can regulate with satisfactory precision.

In any case, one really learns to appreciate the artisanal skills (and patience) of those who make chocolate in a non-industrial setting.
 

GemstonePony

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Since you ask purely theoretically, I don't have to bother with the boring details of running a business, like operating a shop, tax returns, sanitary permits etc. (I couldn't say a lot about these anyway, since I'm doing this on a low-intensity hobbyist level.)

Initially (several years ago), it was very difficult to get my hands on cocoa butter. That has become a lot easier, and for soapers anyway. Cocoa powder is a snake pit on itself, don't even think of becoming ambitious until you have sourced half a dozen of different cocoa powders (or cocoa mass if available) 🤣 . Chocolate moulds are not that difficult to get; silicone is not the last word, professionals (like me…) use rigid acrylic or polycarbonate moulds with good success.
The single most tedious part in making chocolate is tempering. Always and always again that cooling–heating cycle. 32°C are fine, but 33°C means that you have to start from the beginning… There are tools out there (water-bath thermostat), and I was tempted more than once to get one, although they are not cheap, and pose some limits on minimum and maximum batch size. I finally got one of these handy spatulas with a built-in thermometer, which proves to be very useful, together with an improvised water bath, and my induction stove that I can regulate with satisfactory precision.

In any case, one really learns to appreciate the artisanal skills (and patience) of those who make chocolate in a non-industrial setting.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge! That sounds rewarding, challenging, and fun. Maybe I'll give it a try the next time I'm making shampoo or lotions, since then I'll have some double-boiler systems going anyways.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Eiskonfekt (which isn't really internationally established, and roughly translates to “ice confectionery”). Basically chocolate, but the cocoa butter swapped for palm kernel oil
I forgot to add the recipe:
  • refined palm kernel oil
  • +83%ppo cocoa solids (33 g cocoa powder (13% fat), per 30 g of PKO)
  • +96%ppo powdered sugar
  • +0.5%ppo sunflower lecithin (no idea if I really need it, but commercial chocolate and ice confectionery most often contains lecithin too)
(ppo = relative to the oil totals, including the residual fat content of the cocoa powder)
 

ResolvableOwl

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I made another Eiskonfekt batch today, and decided to “spice up” things a tiny bit: I swapped a third of the palm kernel oil by unrefined babaçu. PKO is neutral; so much more I appreciate how the babaçu adds a nutty, warm, coconut-like taste, that is sometimes described as “cheesy” and “tangy” too. Finally, a 20% addition of regular milk chocolate (broken up easter bunny 🤫) helps to smooth out the unusually sharp edges of the high cocoa content – lauric oils by far aren't as good as cocoa butter or milk solids in this.
 

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