Chocolate making is somewhat of a tedious business. Chocolate recipes, as they say, sometimes have bittersweet endings. Hence making chocolate is not an easy job and needs an expertise which comes only through experience.
The process of chocolate making is very lengthy one. First of all ripe cocoa bean pods are cut from the cocoa tree, split opened and the pulp inside it is scraped out. This pulp is then fermented for few days and the dried seeds are separated from the remainder of the pulp.
The seeds that are separated from the pulp are used by the chocolate manufacturers. At the processing mill the seeds are thoroughly cleaned to remove any of the remaining foreign particles in it. These seed are then roasted in order to loosen the husks and then are virtually blown in a processor. The final task it to break the inner kernel of the seeds. These broken bits are called nibs. From this point onward the process of chocolate making takes different paths. What is done with these nibs decides the nature of the final product.
If the nibs are ground under heavy stone mills the nibs release oil which transforms the whole mass into what is called as chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is a quite thick substance which when hardened produces the bitter chocolate that is commonly used in most of baking and candy making chocolate recipes. Sweet chocolate is produced from the bitter chocolate by adding additional substances like fat, sugar, and cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter is essentially a byproduct of cocoa making process. While grinding the nibs the fat that results from the process is separated from rest of the mass. This fat is called cocoa butter. This is the main ingredient of the all sweet chocolate products. This butter has cosmetic and therapeutic uses also. When the cocoa butter is removed the remaining mass produces cocoa after fine grounding.
Whatever process is now used to make chocolate has evolved over the centuries. The process has undergone a sea of changes. The refined process of chocolate making is the result of number of experiments. The taste of prepared products has played a pivotal role in the changing process of chocolate making.
In past the process of chocolate making was very different from the process that is adopted now. Cocoa, which is a drink, is the mother of chocolate making. The Aztecs prepared their famous drink by crushing the cocoa beans. They boiled the crushed beans with water and different spices and seasoned with pepper. They served this drink cold. Afterwards Spanish stole the process of chocolate making from the Aztecs. For the sake of taste, they replaced the spices in chocolate making by equal amount of sugar and added water prior to boiling. Spaniards successfully guarded this sweet success of making chocolate for nearly 100 years until a Frenchman successfully discovered the secret of sweet chocolate making. What happened then onwards is history.
The chocolate recipes have come a long way. The process of chocolate making which refined over the years has attained the status of an art. Years of toiling for chocolate making has finally bore sweet fruits.