It took several tries, but we got a solid chocolate chip that survived the bake test! Yay! It’s soft and sweet and richly chocolatey. I wanted to use a more natural sweetener but it’s going to take a bit of balancing. At least now got a workable starting point.
You may be thinking, why would I want to go through the trouble of making chocolate chips?
Because you’re a control freak like me, have a child with allergies like me, or decide there’s no way that you’re paying that much money for your own organic and natural chocolate chips, like me. The surprising win out of this whole situation is the price. I don’t have the exact cost figured out what with the vanilla and sugar, but it’s in the neighbourhood of $2.50 per batch for organic, and $2.00 of that is the cost of raw organic cacao butter.
I’ll post the recipe below, but the first thing I want to impart is the hard-earned wisdom that came with successfully making a chip proven tough enough to survive 10+ minutes at 375F in a chocolate chip cookie:
- You need a fat that’s hard-solid at room temperature. Coconut oil will not work. Upgrade to cacao butter.
- Cacao butter is too irregularly shaped to measure by volume, so have a scale.
- Make sure that your cacao butter is food-grade (some isn’t).
- Chocolate begins to burn at somewhere between 115-120F, so keep the temps low and use a double-boiler.
- Milk, even if you use soy milk, appears to play a strange role in making the chocolate firmer. I discovered this by accident. What happens is that the chocolate has seized because of the water in the milk (liquid causes chocolate to seize). But it actually seems to make the chip less prone to melting, too.
- The success of the recipe is striking a balance between solids and (non-oil) liquids. This sounds like a duh thing, but to expand on this: a granular sugar will NOT dissolve sufficiently in melted oil alone. Case in point: think of the finished crisp sugar texture of a cookie.
- If you have too much liquid, it will be melty and/or not set properly. This is what happened when I used 100% maple syrup instead of granular sugar. I got a substance that for lack of better definition I ended up calling chocolate flubber (which was still actually pretty good). I should have bake tested it.
- If you don’t have enough liquid, you’ll have grit. This is what happened when I experimented using sucanat, although I didn’t understand it at the time, because reasons. It also happened when I used evaporated cane (golden) sugar, though to a lesser extent, and this time I understood what was going on.
Ok, so on to the recipe! (Makes about 1.5 cups of chocolate chips)
- 2 oz raw cocoa butter
- 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar – I used evaporated cane juice (brown sugar, and probably even sucanat will probably work now with the new recipe, but I haven’t tested it yet. Each will impart their own taste, fair warning, and may require more or less milk to dissolve)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp milk (regular or soy)
In a double boiler, or a widemouth glass jar in a pot of water, start the cocoa butter melting on medium heat. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla once a little oil has liquified. Stir the mixture frequently with a spatula. Once the cocoa butter is nearly melted, turn off the heat, and continue stirring until completely melted.
At this stage, the chocolate will be extremely liquid, look a little oily and slightly gritty on your spatula. Here’s where the magic comes in. Add the milk, stirring, gradually in teaspoons (3tsp in a tablespoon). The sugar will dissolve and the chocolate will congeal into a form that is soft, but no longer liquid and no longer gritty. It’s almost like it forms tiny, soft grains that compress into a smooth mass when it cools if you’re so inclined to pipe it or roll it out (seized chocolate). You can’t melt it, so don’t turn up the heat. I don’t know how else to describe it, so a picture’s worth 1000 words:
Spread the chocolate mixture evenly on a large plate using the spatula and put it in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes. The chocolate will be set but soft and easy to dislodge from the plate onto a cutting board. You can chop it fine or crumble it easily with your fingers. I chopped it into pieces approximately the size of regular store-bought chips for a more accurate bake test.
So, how did it turn out? Pretty good! And it held up beautifully, as you can see. This is a small cookie straight out of the oven, baked 375F for 11 minutes, so you can see the chip is warm enough to be soft in the middle just like a store bought chip, but it didn’t turn into ooze.
UPDATE: 7/6/15 – I’ve been playing around with chocolate chips again, and I’ve created a semi sweet recipe (no soy or dairy) that still survives baking fairly well and looks more like regular chocolate, if you’re looking for an option for making chocolate bars, candies, and bark. You can find it here: