You know you're onto a winner when your son says "Can you buy some more of that chocolate sauce in the fridge?" "You mean the one in the jam jar?" I ask, "I make that." "You make that? It's awesome!!!"
Yep, it's the most delicious rich dark chocolate sauce. Not too sweet with a strong chocolate taste. I would say it's an adult's chocolate sauce, but my kids love it. The best bit - there's virtually no fat. Here's how to make it.
3/4 cup of raw sugar
1/2 cup cocao powder (approx 40 grams)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/paste
Put all the dry ingredients in a saucepan and whisk until combined. Gradually add the water and stir well.
Heat on medium heat, stirring until the sauce reaches the boil. Reduce the heat a little and cook for a about 3 minutes whisking the sauce, making sure the sauce doesn't boil over. The sauce will thicken up.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, then stir in the vanilla.
I keep my chocolate sauce in an empty Bonne Maman jam jar with a screw top lid. Keep refrigerated, but it won't last long before the kids eat it all.
This recipe comes from food.com and was posted by a guy called Steve_G. (original recipe here) Steve is a legend because this sauce is the best! The original recipe uses granulated (white) sugar, and Dutch-processed cocoa, which I've substituted.
This sauce is great over pancakes, or my kids have it over ice-cream and waffles. You can use it to make milkshakes, and hot chocolates (I just use non-dairy milk).
|This is how my daughter |
What is Chocolate ?
Okay, this is the simple version. Cacao beans grow on cocoa trees (botanical name Theobroma Cacao). These cacao pods or beans are harvested when ripe, fermented, then dried. The beans are cracked into small nibs which are roasted to a rich brown colour. The nibs are ground to form a rich liquid known as chocolate liquor or mass. This liquid is roughly half cocoa butter (fat) and half cocoa solids (non-fat). Because of the fat content this liquor solidifies when it cools. This is called unsweetened or bitter chocolate. This chocolate mass can be pressed to extract the cocoa butter. The cocoa solids left are ground into a fine powder known as cocoa powder. The low-fat content of cocoa powder means it is easier to dissolve into liquids for example, to make hot chocolate.
To make the chocolate, manufacturers use the cocoa butter that was extracted, but it's quite bitter so they add things like sugar, milk and vanilla. The chocolate is then refined or conched to make it smooth, and tempered to make it glossy and give it crunch or 'snap' when you crack it.
|In June, 2009. Learning how chocolate is made at the Chocolate Museum in Brugge, Belgium.|
What is the difference between cocoa powder and Dutch-pressed cocoa powder?
Natural Cocoa powder is acidic. Dutch-processed cocoa has been treated with an alkali (potasium) to make it Ph neutral. This makes Dutch-processed cocoa more soluble, richer in colour, and milder or smoother in flavour. This processing uses high heat which removes a large percentage of the flavonols or anti-oxidants in the cocoa.
What is cocao powder?
Cocao powder (pronounced ka-kow) is made by grinding raw cocao nibs which preserves the anti-oxidants. It is cold-pressed without solvents.
I buy Raw Cocao powder (see here). This is what it says on the pack - with over 360% more anti-oxidants than regular cocoa, that's also 14 times more-potent anti-oxidants than red wine, 21 times more than green tea, and 7 times more than dark chocolate. The problem is of course, that by heating the cocao powder to make the chocolate sauce, I am probably destroying many of the anti-oxidants, but if it starts with more anti-oxidants, it will hopefully still end up with some.
Nutritional Information: 40 grams of cacao powder contains 4.5g of fat, 2.6g saturated fat. That's for the whole jar of chocolate sauce. So if you just drizzle a little sauce over a banana for dessert, the fat content is not high.
Resources - The Joy of Baking here. There is also a good blog post at The Lone Baker here - look at the bottom of the page to understand acidity in baking, and of course David Lebovitz has a great explanation here.