Chocolate: history and curiosity.
Chocolate is perhaps the most 'famous food used and eated in the world, after rice. More or less everyone tasted once in their lives a piece of chocolate, dark or not.
- Saturday, 21 March 2015
Maybe not everyone knows that chocolate is also one of the oldest food in the world. At the beginning of course there were no chocolate bars and chocolate was used combined with hot water to be drunk by rich people and its taste was not that good, infact it was very bitter. The word “chocolate” infact comes from the Aztec word "xocolatl" that means "bitter water."
For a long time, chocolate was used as a currency trading between populations as it has a great value and because it was considered a quite rare food at that time.
The chocolate was then imported to Europe by the Spaniards and the first chocolate shop known by us was the one opened in London in 1657.
In chocolate we can find a lot of vitamins and active ingredients that we know well such as caffeine, contained in very small quantities, that helps to have chocolate that "aphrodisiac" effect that in many recipes is highly praised.
Another active ingredient is “THC”, the marijuana main ingredient, but in minimum traces (it's maybe for this reason that when we eat it we are extremely satisfied and happy?)
What is good for man can be rather harmful to animals. Chocolate infact contains theobromine, a harmless substance for humans but poisonous and very dangerous for animals.
Another variety of chocolate is the white one wich is not considered real chocolate as it isn't made with cocoa beans but only with butter mixed with milk, or other derivatives, and sugar.
I'm going to give you my recipe to make white chocolate at home by yourself. It 'easy and it just takes a few simple ingredients, as I predicted above:
60 g (or 1/4 cup) of cocoa butter chopped
40 g (or 1/3 cup) of sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons chopped milk powder with a small mixer and sieved
1 pinch of salt
orange peel cut into very small pieces (optional)
Melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water in the saucepan. When the cocoa butter has melted, add the icing sugar, salt and milk powder. Make sure that all ingredients are thoroughly dissolved together.
At this point there are 2 possibilities. Tempering the chocolate or not. The difference is that if you do not do the tempering of chocolate, it will melt in your hands in no time, so it won't be suitable to be presented in elegant bags or used to do things that need to be maybe a little 'long out of the fridge . Must be constantly kept in the fridge and be used only at the last moment, maybe chopped ice cream or even eaten as is.
If you do not want to temper it, pour the mixture that you got into silicone molds or special molds for chocolate, to give the final shape you want. I used a macarons mat to shape mine into small disks, perfect portion for the indulgence whenever I crave for something sweet! :)
Let it cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours and then will be ready to be eaten.
The procedure of tempering is a little bit longer, assuming that you have at home a candy thermometer.
In fact, once you have dissolved sugar and other ingredients in cocoa butter, you will need to measure the temperature of the chocolate until it will reach 49 degrees, always mixing fast enough. Once it reaches 49 degrees, remove from the pan and put it in a cold water bath while continuing to mix until the mixture reaches 26 degrees. One you've done it, put the pan in a boiling water bath and bring the mixture back to 31 degrees. Try not to exceed 31 degrees or otherwise you'll have to do it all over again.
At this point you can proceed as I explained above, by pouring the mixture into special molds and putting it all in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
You can add anything you want in the mixture, infact white chocolate is an excellent base for chocolate treats: mint, orange, lemon, strawberry, cocoa. You can create any chocolate flavour you desire.