After a hectic morning or at the end of a busy day, what better way to reward yourself than to relax with some decadent and delicious chocolate? However, some of us chocolovers don’t want to settle for mass produced chocolate and prefer making homemade chocolate bars.  This allows us to control the ingredients, flavors and even maintain a healthier diet. If this sounds like you, read on. We will explain some of the differences between different types of chocolate and show you how to make milk, dark and white chocolate bars. You can even add unique ingredients like fruits, nuts and caramel to your taste. These also make the perfect homemade gifts for teachers, friends, family or to serve at parties.  Of course, this will be much easier to prepare once our CocoTerra chocolate maker is released. In the meanwhile, you can practice at home with the following recipes, using your favorite craft chocolate.

Key ingredients for all types of homemade chocolate 

Let’s start by learning the basic main ingredients of chocolate!

The two main components of chocolate are cocoa beans and cocoa butter. The cocoa beans are roasted, shelled and then broken into bits called cocoa nibs.  Cocoa butter is the fat from the cacao beans (think olives and olive oil), which can be added to chocolate for a creamier texture.  Most chocolate also contains sugar and often milk powder. 

Based on the inclusion or exclusion of these main ingredients, we can differentiate chocolate into three primary categories: 

  • Milk chocolate: made from cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar.
  • Dark chocolate: made from cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and sugar (can be made from some or all of these ingredients).
  • White chocolate: made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder (this is the only type of chocolate that doesn’t contain cocoa nibs). 

Here are a few of the most common ingredients for homemade chocolate: 

  • Cocoa beans
  • Cocoa butter
  • Sugar
  • Milk powder or vegan milk powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa powder 
  • Natural flavor oils
  • Nuts
  • Spices
  • Dried fruit

Is cocoa butter required when making chocolate?

The answer is no! You can make dark chocolate without adding cocoa butter, however, if you want a European style chocolate that melts in your mouth, you’ll want to add some cocoa butter. Cocoa butter provides important characteristics, such as how it feels in your mouth, glossiness and hardness. It also makes the chocolate easier to work with since it flows better. 

Choosing the best cocoa butter for making chocolate: First, make sure that you are using food-grade cocoa butter.  While cocoa butter is used for baking or cooking, it is also a common ingredient in creams, lotions and cosmetics. So, not all cocoa butters are the same, and some are much purer than others. That’s why you need to know how to choose the best food-grade cocoa butter for baking and cooking. By knowing what to look for in a high-quality cocoa butter, you can ensure that you’re using the best product to make your favorite desserts.

So is there any difference between cacao butter & cocoa butter?

They’re the same product since cacao and cocoa are often used interchangeably. However, there are two different types of cocoa butter that you will find available.  One may be called “raw” or “natural” while the other cocoa butter is called “deodorized” which is additionally filtered or processed at a high temperature.  So if it’s important to you that it’s less processed, then be sure to read the bag or check the company website. We also find that the Q&As on the Amazon product page are helpful because you’ll find people asking about how and at what temperature the cocoa butter was processed.

Types of chocolate you can make at home

When it comes to making chocolate, there are hardly any limits to your creativity. Nothing should stop you from trying to create your own unique chocolate from scratch. This is why you need to know how to make chocolate at home. First of all, make sure you have a lot of time and patience if you don’t have a CocoTerra chocolate maker on hand.  Next, you need to decide what kind of chocolate and ingredients you want to use.

Dark chocolate bar

The consumption of dark chocolate has gained in popularity in the last few years.  Dark chocolate is also referred to as “the new health food”. Homemade dark chocolate bars are better than store-bought ones as they can be made with no refined sugar, alternative sweeteners, vegan, nut-free and without emulsifiers and other additives. The other big advantage of making homemade dark chocolate bars is that you can choose the best quality ingredients possible and make substitutions if necessary for health reasons or to suit your personal preferences.

White chocolate bar

White chocolate is sweeter, creamier and tastes very much like cocoa butter with a hint of vanilla. It is known to be less strongly flavored than dark chocolate and may appeal to people who are sensitive to bitter flavors. The principal ingredient in white chocolate is cocoa butter, to which a dairy product such as cow milk, goat milk or even camel milk powder is added. Sugar and vanilla are also included. So, if you find dark chocolate too intense for your palate, you might want to try making some white chocolate at home in your very own kitchen.

Milk chocolate bar

Milk chocolate bars ​​are the most popular compared to the others. It is sweet, creamy, and less intense than dark chocolate. This type of chocolate often contains a minimum amount of cocoa nibs and more fat with the addition of cocoa butter and full-fat milk powder. The combination of sweetness, creaminess and a touch of cocoa flavor hits the spot for many chocolate lovers.  

Best homemade chocolate bar recipe 

Learn how to make Homemade Chocolate Bars with recipes such as Dark Chocolate & Salted Almond.

Fortunately, with the CocoTerra chocolate maker, making chocolate bars at home will be effortless, using quality ingredients that will impress your friends and loved ones. Pick a recipe with your favorite flavors or you can adapt them to your personal taste. We highly recommend that you get creative and use your favorite ingredients. Likewise, if you are planning to give the chocolate as an edible gift, you can customize the ingredients based on what your family and friends like the most. Some people like spicy chocolate, some like salty and some just love sweets! Here are a few recipes that you can try at home using your favorite fine chocolate:

Salted almond dark chocolate bar recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces / 170g dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup / 36g almonds (chopped, sliced or whole)
  • ½ tsp / 3g fleur de sel

Method

  1. Place a parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread whole or chopped almonds evenly.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, checking the temperature until it reaches ​​122°F (50°C) – 131°F (55°C).
  3. Remove chocolate from heat and, stir constantly until it cools to about 88°F (31°C) – 90°F (32°C)
  4. Pour the tempered chocolate over the almonds.
  5. Tap the tray on the counter to release any air bubbles from the chocolate.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate with the fleur de sel.
  7. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or leave on the counter for a couple hours).
  8. Once set, remove from the fridge and snap into pieces.

Tips for making chocolate at home

  • You can use coconut oil instead of some or all of the cocoa butter if preferred. In fact, this can be somewhat easier to work with. However, it won’t be able to be tempered.
  • Make sure to use food-grade cacao butter as some are sold for cosmetic purposes
  • Make sure to use unsweetened cocoa, if using cocoa powder, to be in control of the sugar content.
  • If you want to make “inclusion”chocolate bars then sprinkle your item of choice into the molds before pouring in the melted chocolate.

How to make different chocolate bar shapes 

One of the best things about chocolate is the endless creative options. You can make chocolate bars or treats in all sorts of different shapes by placing them in molds or cookie cutters, or by pouring melted chocolate just to create artistic decorations.

  • Heart chocolate shape
  • Oval chocolate shape
  • Bar chocolate shape
  • Chocolate chips
  • Circular chocolate shape

How to turn a chocolate bar to chocolate chips

How to turn CocoTerra chocolate rings or other bars into chocolate chips:

  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  • Place ⅔ of the chocolate in a dry, microwave-safe bowl.
  • Put the bowl in the microwave and microwave in 15-second intervals.
  • Stir the chocolate with a spatula in between each 15-second blast until all of the chocolate is melted and look very glossy. (make sure the chocolate does not burn).
  • Finish by pouring in the remaining chocolate and stirring until all the pieces have melted.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag and make a small hole at the tip using a scissor.
  • Place a parchment paper on a tray, Pipe out small chocolate droplets over it at regular intervals.
  • Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully scrape the chips off the paper using a spatula or butter knife.
  • Use immediately or store it in an air-tight container. It should stay fresh for 30 days.

Can I use butter instead of cocoa butter to make chocolate?

No, well yes…sort of. Cocoa butter is a fat extracted from cocoa beans that is solid at room temperature. Cocoa butter is the key to making chocolate, and it affects many aspects of the final product like flavor, texture and appearance. While other fats may be used for flavoring (such as cow-milk butter), if you would like to make high-quality chocolate, you should opt for the real deal: cocoa butter.