This week, I’m departing from the household products recipes to share my first food recipe.
Just after Christmas, one of our biggest accumulations of trash was candy wrappers. It was at that point I decided to be finished with individually-wrapped candies. But I need chocolate, like NEED chocolate. So I had to figure something out. So……to the internet! I found an easy-sounding recipe for chocolate, made from powdered baking cocoa here and decided to give it a try.
I had never made chocolate (or any other kind of candy) before, so instead of taking time to test for what candy makers call “soft ball stage,” I just got a candy thermometer. This whole process really was not hard at all, but I do recommend using a candy thermometer…it takes some of the guesswork out.
I modified the original recipe into a smaller half-batch, just to experiment, and it turned out to be a great size for us. You will need:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Candy thermometer
- 2 qt .glass baking dish
- Waxed paper
The site recommends using only whole milk because the fat content will make the chocolate taste better. I’ve made batches with whole milk, almond milk, and soy milk. By far, my favorite was with the almond milk. It has more of a dark chocolate taste, but with a hint of toasted almond. It’s delicious, and (I imagine) a little better for you than the whole milk version. I bet 1% or 2% milk would be just fine, but I haven’t tried it. In last place was the soy milk version. Soy milk is generally not my favorite anyway, but we had a coupon for a free half gallon that I couldn’t pass up, so I figured what the heck. It’s still chocolate-y, but with that hint of grain silo taste that soy has. It wasn’t terrible, but almond milk is way better.
Ok, back to chocolate making. Line your glass baking dish with waxed paper and set aside. You’ll pour the chocolate mixture in this later so it can cool. Mix the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan and then add the milk. Cook on medium to low heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. (Do not try to speed up this process by turning up the heat, it will just burn, trust me. It will take a while, but isn’t chocolate worth the wait?) When it boils, put the candy thermometer in and keep stirring, monitoring the temperature level. Make sure the thermometer base does not touch the bottom of the pan, so you get an accurate reading. You want to cook it until it gets to 240 F. When the mixture reaches 240, remove your pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until melted and mixed.
At this point, if you want to customize your chocolate a little bit, you can stir in raisins, peanuts, almonds, cashews, coconut, crushed peppermint candies, or anything else you think might be good. I haven’t tried this part, so I can’t offer any suggestions. What can I say? I just like plain ol’ chocolate!
Pour your chocolate mixture into the glass pan you prepared earlier. It will start to harden pretty quickly, so move fast. When you get it poured in, take a small knife and score the top of the chocolate. This will make it way easier to break it apart later. I just drew grid lines with a knife that were only about 1/8 inch deep or so. You don’t have to cut all the way down to the wax paper or anything. I scored mine so the pieces would break into about 1 inch squares that would be just right to be bite-sized pieces. Let the pan cool at room temperature until warm to the touch (maybe 2 hours or so) and then put it in the fridge so it can finish cooling. When it’s cooled, pull the block out of the pan by the waxed paper, peel the paper off the back, and break your chocolate along the scored lines.
EDIT: I recently tried this recipe substituting coconut oil for the butter, and it was absolutely divine. Highly recommended. Also, if you switch the waxed paper out for aluminum foil, you won’t end up with a layer of melted wax on your chocolate and in your glass dish. And the foil is much easier to peel off.