Chocolate is what makes many of our favorite types of candy so delicious. But chocolate comes from what may seem like an unlikely place: yellowish pods of about eight to 14 inches long, which grow from the branches of the tropical cocoa tree. Each of the pods contains 30-50 seeds, from which chocolate is made. Read on to find out how chocolate is made and why you don't always have to feel guilty about enjoying this popular treat.
How the Cocoa Beans Are Prepared
Once removed from the pods, the cocoa beans are left to ferment for two to eight days to heighten their iconic flavor. After that, the beans are dried. They are now ready to be transported to chocolate manufacturers. Similar to coffee, another bean that has enchanted the world, cocoa beans are roasted to enhance their flavor. The hulls are removed and the material inside is crushed into what are known as "cocoa nibs," which can be used in baking.
"Cocoa Liquor" and Cocoa Butter
However, most cocoa beans don't end their journey as cocoa nibs. The majority are pressed into "cocoa liquor" (despite the name, there is no alcohol involved). At this point, sugar and all sorts of other yummy ingredients are added, depending on what type of chocolate treat is being made. Sometimes cocoa liquor is processed into cocoa solids and cocoa butter, which has a multitude of uses in both food and cosmetics. The best chocolate has cocoa butter in the recipe to provide that silky smooth feeling in the mouth.
Can Chocolate Ever Be a Guilt Free Treat?
We all love chocolate, but what we don't love is the adverse health effects that can stem from the sugar and carbs present in most kinds of chocolate candy. Amber Lyn Chocolate produces high quality chocolate treats which are all either sugar free or have no extra sugar added during processing and packaging. Our healthy snacks are also low carb. We make chocolate almonds, bark, bars, bites, and truffles. Find out more at amberlynchocolates.com.