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Oct 21, 2012 09:30 PM

How to Make Chocolate from Cacao Butter and Cocoa Powder from Scratch: your recipes/advice

This is just about impossible to search for on the internet, in discussion boards, or just about anywhere. So I turn to you, Chowhounds, having created an account and joined the conversation after days of frustration.

It's a big thing in the raw/vegan community to make raw chocolate, but the 'raw' part is of very little importance to me. I'm using Dutched cocoa powder and cacao butter. I found a raw recipe online and subbed European butter (higher fat% than regular) for coconut oil, which I think is my problem. What I made is delicious, but closer to a ganache. I let it set in the freezer and then unmolded it, but it starts to soften as soon as I pick it up with my fingers. I think butter is the culprit, since it's not as solid as coconut butter at room temperature.

Here's the ratio I used:

2 oz butter
3 oz cacao butter
3 oz cacao powder
2 tbsp honey
dash of vanilla extract
salt & add-ins (lavender buds, cacao nibs, and demerara sugar for crunch)

Butters melted together in a double broiler, whisked, cacao powder slowly whisked in, then honey. Poured into mini muffin tins in 1/2 oz portions, put in freezer to set.

So my suspicions are that either the butter, the honey, or both are the culprits for the consistency issue. Or else the ratio is off and there needs to be more powder to butter(s). But I'd rather crowdsource an answer than squander precious dollars of cacao butter on delicious but not conservable at room temperature chocolate/ganache.

Thanks, team.

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  1. While I've never made chocolate from scratch (and not sure I would try to), I do know that to be firm at room temp it needs to be in temper.
    Here's a link that explains it, basically cocoa butter needs to be heated and cooled to certain temperatures in order for the crystals to line up, otherwise they will melt at room temp.

    1 Reply
    1. re: iluvcookies

      I'm a fool. I know about tempering chocolate, but for some reason I blanked on doing it here. Stupid raw recipes, not even raw, not even accurate....

    2. You only need 30-40% fat. Why not use all cocoa butter? Other fats have a softening effect on cocoa butter when they are combined.

      I'm not sure how honey would affect the texture, but it does attract moisture, which could be detrimental to the project. Powdered sugar would make more sense - I sometimes make gianduja with chocolate, nut paste, and powdered sugar. The powdered sugar is fine enough to dissolve on the tongue and not feel gritty. You do need to temper the cocoa butter if you want it to act like chocolate.

      If you want to approximate 70% chocolate, you'd use about 30% sugar, 30% fat, and 40% cacao solids.

      Are you hoping to use this in recipes, or snacking, or just seeing if its possible?

      12 Replies
      1. re: babette feasts

        Thank you! I'm making it to eat plain--I've made my own chocolate truffles before and just wanted to take it another step further by seeing if this way I could control the sweetener. That and I enjoy needlessly deconstructing processes.

        I'll definitely try all cocoa butter this time. I don't know why the other kind of fat is included in those recipes (most of which don't make any sense in the first place, since cocoa butter is hardly raw)--maybe economy?

        I totally blanked on tempering. Again, stupid online raw recipes. I will update with how this round goes, with tempering and all cocoa butter!

        I'm going to avoid using powdered sugar since that kind of defeats the purpose of using odd sweeteners. Thanks again!

        1. re: vanityclear

          The moisture from the honey could potentially interfere with tempering, can you get powdered honey? Not sure how fine that is.

          Looking forward to your experiments!

          1. re: vanityclear

            Just wondering how your experiment with cocoa butter went. I just got some cocoa butter and am getting ready to try it too (same reason as you because i want to sweeten the way I like). I do usually prefer milk chocolate, would anyone know if I would just add skim milk powder or perhaps a bit of coconut milk ....hmmm...

            1. re: yatyat

              UPDATE: Graduating from college has finally made it possible for me to experiment with chocolate again. I'm going to give it another shot as outlined above, and will update accordingly.

              yatyat, I would definitely not add coconut milk, since that's a liquid, and will give you something that is probably not solid at room temperature. Powdered milk might work, though I haven't tried it. You could also try adding less cocoa powder.

              1. re: vanityclear

                Thanks Vanityclear! I also found this recipe after I posted that uses cocoa butter & cocoa powder that may give us an idea of proportion.


                I look forward to reading about your experiment.

                1. re: vanityclear

                  congrats on graduating. powdered milk works, as does soy protein powder or egg white powder. i make white chocolate sometimes, as i can't have dairy, and often miss white chocolate.

                  1. re: Emme

                    How do you make your white chocolate? I would love to try that.

                    1. re: Skippy1414

                      40-45 g powdered sugar (i use the higher end if i'm after something sweeter... if you want it less sweet, you could take it down to 36-38 g)
                      1 tsp egg white protein powder (i use jay robb's vanilla pure egg white protein)
                      pinch of salt
                      60 g cocoa butter
                      ½ -1 teaspoon vanilla extract (depending on my mood... you can also scrape a vanilla bean into the melting cocoa butter)

                      1. sift together sugar, protein powder and salt.
                      2. melt cocoa butter (either in double boiler or microwave in intervals, stirring every 20-30 seconds or so to prevent scorching.
                      3. stir in dry ingredients until smooth.
                      4. to temper, return to double boiler and bring up to 120 F. then cool down, and chill in the fridge, stirring occasionally until it hits 80-85 F. return to double boiler and heat just until it hits 87 F. (if it goes beyond, start the process again and take it to 120 F.)
                      5. pour into mold of choice. (sometimes i use a loaf pan lined with parchment. depends on my final intended usage...)

                      good luck!

                      1. re: Emme

                        Thanks! I'll give it a try as soon as I can pull the ingredients together!

                  2. re: vanityclear

                    <<What I'm interested in making my own kinds of chocolate and controlling the sweetener and flavorings more exactly.>>

                    Still think you should find high-quality chocolate nibs from Venezuela or Madagascar (someplace like that, see Amazon's offerings) and conch the chocolate yourself.

                    That will eliminate the need for any other oil or cocoa butter or powdered milk, or any other product, really. You won't need a recipe, merely instructions on how to conch the nibs at home.

                    After conching and tempering, you you can add whatever sweetener you like to your desired sweetness level. This method, IMO, is highly preferable to using deconstructed, processed components.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      i actually got some cocao nibs (together with some milk powder) yesterday by chance, do you mind explaining a little about conching? could it be done on the stovetop? i found something but didn't quite understand it.


                      1. re: yatyat

                        Conching is simply taking the raw chocolate nibs and pulverizing them with the addition of low heat so the nibs become luscious liquid chocolate.

                        Google "conch chocolate at home" or some variation of that, and you'll find lots of instructions.

                        Milk powder is not needed unless you're making milk chocolate.

            2. I may not be understanding. What is your goal in doing this?

              From your recipe above, all you're doing is taking processed chocolate components and re-combining them. That's not chocolate.

              Cocoa and cocao butter are two chocolate components that are intensely processed and exposed to intense heat. Exactly the opposite of raw.

              Why not start with a high quality raw or almost-raw product?

              It would be far easier to buy a high-quality estate chocolate, grown organically and fermented conscientiously, and use that.

              Or purchase cacao beans and ferment them yourself, or buy recently fermented cacoa and make chocolate yourself, or buy chocolate nibs.

              8 Replies
              1. re: maria lorraine

                I'm not interested in raw chocolate; I said that. Those just happen to be the only kinds of recipes I found online, since I was looking for an example of what kind of ratio to follow. I agree that the idea of making 'raw' chocolate using cacao butter is both pointless and incorrect, since it isn't raw. What I'm interested in making my own kinds of chocolate and controlling the sweetener and flavorings more exactly.

                1. re: vanityclear

                  Here's a link to a not-"raw" method. I haven't tried it, but maybe it will be of some help. Variation using Cocoa powder is toward the bottom of the page.


                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    That is the most ridiculous recipe I've seen in a long time.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Seriously. I really like chocolate, but I can't imagine that I can make it as good as what I can buy. This should go on that thread about what people buy instead of make.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        The bean-to-bar method they outline is fine. That is how you make chocolate and I think it would be fun to try sometime. The cocoa powder method, however...I can't believe that makes anything approaching a dark chocolate bar. Equal parts cocoa powder and liquid? Uncooked flour? Sounds pasty and gross. How about don't add all that water and you won't need to add flour to soak it up? And the claim that there is no right way to temper chocolate? There is more than one way, sure, but either it is in temper or not, no amount of personal preference is going to crystallize cocoa butter molecules just by force of will.

                        1. re: babette feasts

                          Yeah, I'm with you on that one. I think that all cocoa butter is a better way to go; this time I'll temper (the right way.)

                          Also, best part: "It is likely that a mess will be made when you grind the cocoa."

                          1. re: vanityclear

                            How did your experiment go with tempering the chocolate afterwards? Were you able to achieve a good chocolate that doesn't melt as easily? Did you use the honey in the end?
                            Please let me know as I am trying to accomplish the same thing.


                2. re: maria lorraine

                  What brands of chocolate sell good high-quality raw or almost raw products? Thanks.

                3. The original comment has been removed
                  1. I can't get my instant milk powder to dissolve into melted cacao butter. Any ideas, please?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sha_c

                      You would need to grind the milk powder as fine as you need it, using a blender should work, or a mortar and pestle. Same with sugar. Milk powder and sugar will not dissolve in fat, they need water to actually dissolve. For a fat based product like chocolate the challenge is to get your particle size small enough that they feel smooth on the tongue.