What Are the Main Ingredients in Chocolate?
The main ingredients in chocolate are chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin and vanilla. After the chocolate is made, ingredients such as fruit, nuts or milk may be added.
To make chocolate, cacao beans are sifted and items likes rocks and dirt removed. It is sorted and roasted at temperatures of between 210 and 290 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the type of beans. Roasting brings out the flavor of the cacao beans.
Once roasted, the beans are cracked and their shells removed. What’s left are nibs and the nibs are ground and crushed until they form a thick, bitter chocolate paste. This is the point in the process where cocoa butter, vanilla and sugar are added. This removes the bitterness and gives the chocolate its sweet flavor. Milk chocolate also has the addition of milk and the milk provides an extra creaminess to the finished product.
Once the chocolate is mixed, it is conched. Conching the chocolate whips in air and provides another level of creaminess. Chocolate can conch for a few hours or several days, depending on the quality of the finished product. When the conching is complete, the chocolate is tempered, meaning it is heated up and cooled down several times before it is turned into the chocolate bars sold in stores. Tempering the chocolate gives it a glossy finish and allows it to melt properly.