The Legend Of Chocolate
Chocolate comes from cacao beans which were originally found only in Central and South America. Cacao was so special to the ancient Aztecs that they told this legend: Their god, Quetzalcoatl, brought the cacao tree from Paradise to earth, traveling on a beam of the Morning Star. He gave the tree as an offering to the people, and they learned how to roast and grind its beans into a paste. They added spices and mixed it with water calling it "xocolatl" or "bitterwater". They believed that it brought wisdom and knowledge to those who drank it. Today, cacao is an important part of agriculture in the tropics all around the world. The legend of chocolate lives on!
The kids and I made the chocolate together and what's nice is all of the ingredients come right in the box which included the little paper candy liners, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, cocoa butter, and starter crystals, plus 2 cocoa beans, a temperature indicator and instructions. You can add other things like M&M's or nuts, peanut butter, coconut or anything else you'd like to make it more flavorful, festive, fun. We didn't add anything else because we wanted to eat it without anything extra in it to be able to taste the original product. We did try the 2 cocoa beans, to get the coating off we simply rubbed the two together and they easily peeled away. The look on my kids faces when they took a bite was priceless. The cocoa beans are bitter but once they are combined with a sugar they make wonderful chocolate.
I melted the cocoa butter in a microwaveable glass bowl for about 3 -1/2 minutes. The cocoa butter does contain soy so for those that can't have that in there diet this would be important to know up front. My oldest son Anthony then combined the cocoa powder and confectioners sugar and 1/4 tsp of vanilla which is optional. Anthony mixed the ingredients very well until there were no lumps. The chocolate then kind of hardened a little and balled up into a clump.
Anthony then peeled off the temperature indicator and applied it to the outside of the bowl about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Anthony and Nicholas took turns stirring the chocolate about every 2 to 3 minutes for about 20 seconds to keep the chocolate around the same temperature while it was cooling off. In order to temper the chocolate with the starter crystals the temperature needs to drop to 94° Fahrenheit.
I kept watching the temperature to see when it would drop to 94° Fahrenheit, it was kind of like standing and watching water boil. However, I was afraid to walk away for fear that the temperature would drop below 94° so I just waited. As the kids were waiting and stirring occasionally every 2-3 minutes we noticed that the chocolate started to cool off and become somewhat melted again and not just in a clump.
It took about 17 minutes for the chocolate to cool off and to drop to 94° Fahrenheit. We constantly watched for this to happen and then I added the starter crystals. We took turns all mixing the starter crystals so that we could combine them very well and get out any of the lumps. We all learned that the starter crystals are powdered chocolate bars, and since they're already crystallized, they "start" the rest of the chocolate crystallizing, when it hits 94° Fahrenheit. If the chocolate is too warm when they are added the starter crystals will melt and lose their tempering ability. If the chocolate is too cold the chocolate will already have begun to harden without crystallizing like it's supposed to. I took a before photo- before I refrigerated the chocolate for 15 minutes. Then I took an after photo and it sets up really well and hardens nicely.
It was really fun to make this with the kids and we learned some valuable information. The chocolate was very awesome. It was sweet but not too sweet and we all got to eat some and I even shared some with my neighbors and told them how we made it and where they could get these really cool Make Your Own Candy Kits.
If you're looking for a fun do it yourself project that's great for kids working together in the kitchen and learn about chocolate then I would recommend Glee Gum Make Your Own Candy Kits. We've tried the Chewing Gum Kit and it was just as much fun to make as this one. I can't wait to try the other kit which is the Make Your Own Gummies Kit.
The Make your Own Candy Kits make great holiday gifts, and this year Glee Gum is offering a 30% off holiday sale on a special Candy Kit Combo (a package deal on 3 Make Your Own Candy Kits, 1 of each kind) at GleeGum.com. You can visit the Candy Kit Combo page for details (this specialty item also appears if you scroll to the bottom of Order Now page.) To learn more about these kits you can visit the Glee Gum website. You can also find Glee Gum on Facebook or @gleeguy on Twitter. Be sure to check out there newsletter as well you'll find a coupon for Glee Gum.
Glee Gum is giving one lucky DebrasDollars reader there choice of a Make Your Own Candy Kit. The winner can choose from the Chocolate Kit, Gum Kit or Gummies Kit.
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Disclosure:" I received Glee Gum Make Your Own Candy Kit (Chocolate Kit) for free in order to try the product and form an opinion for this review. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own".