Friday, March 13, 2009

GIFT for Little MissGreen!! :))

So, the other day Little Miss Green from MyZerowaste had birthday!



Her Mum, the ever-so-wonderful Mrs Green, asked us to give her a meaningful present!
Since I'm still too scared of helping my neighbours recycle (see previous posts!), and writing to manufacturers, I thought, 'What could I do?'

I mean, I must confess Little Miss Green is pretty much an inspiration for me! (& probably everyone around the world who knows her!)


I really started watching the Myzerowaste site regularly (& thinking, 'What else can I do?') after this wonderful declaration of hers!

So, I decided: I would NOT eat any more store-bought CHOCOLATE!! (for the week)
It seemed in theme with the birthday, and the zero waste thing!

And it wasn't just ANY week - it was 'that time of the month'!!
(when chocolate reserves at our house regularly get emptied!)

I will confess I have a shelf full of chocolate wrappers and such - some of them recyclable aluminum foil, some not!
And some luxury chocolates seriously over-packaged & over-glitzy!!

Apparently a chocolate addiction can be a sign of magnesium deficiency, so I had to come up with alternative ideas!

I decided to MAKE MY OWN CHOCOLATE!!

I did get a recipe from Mum's co-worker, but it was a very weird recipe with pulverized milk and water and such odd things.. (we disdain milk chocolate in our house, also The Book of Chocolate written by a Slovenian doctor says for adults a small amount of dark chocolate is supposed to be better!)
/Kids shouldn't eat or drink much chocolate anyway!:) as there's caffeine & theobromine and other slightly iffy stuff in there!
The milk in the chocolate is supposed to be of not much use anyway, so kids are better off with other sources of calcium!/

After some serious internet research including the awesome Wikipedia I came across the wonderful site of Chocolate Alchemy where the use of water is seriously snickered at!!

There are recipes & even a Chocolate Forum!

The Chocolate Alchemy site is about making chocolate 'from scratch' - i.e. from cocoa beans, and involves some complicated procedures like roasting and grinding the beans, conching and refining, and tempering the chocolate.

I had no cocoa beans, and no cocoa butter, so I had to experiment. (Of course!:)
I looked for specific recipes involving cocoa powder & coconut butter, but no luck!
So I just started to experiment & made an informed guess!

If the sites say to use whole beans (=cocoa powder+cocoa butter) and some sugar, and the odd recipe had cocoa powder, powder milk & margarine(vegetable fat), coconut butter should do just nicely.

I put a small pot into a 'water bath' (a slightly larger pot) and heated up the coconut butter, than added in the cocoa powder! This could be 'it', but it was terribly bitter! (adding a tiny bit of coconut flour & sprinkling with some white sugar didn't help much, and I couldn't find any brown sugar!) So I mixed in some honey, and it was totally delicious!

Unfortunately... There isn't almost any anymore!!
(I just did a tiny sample to test it all!)

Found a pretty leaf-shaped mold to put it in... But.. It was a slightly sucky day (before the rain?) and apparently, this was stronger than me!!
Must report the CHOCOLATE was YUMMY!!

Not sure if it will harden at all, & probably wasn't the most 'exact' procedure (more reading at that wonderful site of Chocolate Alchemy will be needed!)

Next time, I will try to make more chocolate, and actually let it harden (to see if this can be done without expensive & complicated equipment too!! :)

Ingredients used:
- zero waste organic cocoa powder (in reusable glass container; zero waste cocoa beans are available in a health food store too, but they looked very old and a bit, hmm, mouldy? so I stayed away this time, I had bought them in the past & just nibbled on them, but apparently roasting & such gives a much better taste! I may buy them again if I can find good ones!)
- zero waste coconut butter (in a reusable glass container)
- zero waste honey (from the neighbour's bees - in a reusable glass container of course!!) - I think true chocolatiers mostly use sugar (perhaps for a reason) but this was available & we'll see if it hardens proper
- a sprinkling of sugar & coconut flour - these were not in zero waste packinging, I'm afraid - but we had them at home anyway, and they need to be used up! (I think the coconut flour was due last August! still good though..)
...And no other iffy stuff!! (some chocolates are full of suspicious ingredients!!)
- (oh and tap water - for water bath)

I've come across raw chocolate before, which seems kinda intriguing to try sometime maybe.. though opinions on the chocolate forum about this vary (some preferring higher temperatures to kill any bacteria on cocoa beans) So while this is open to further research, I figured any cocoa already fit for drinking must be okay & didn't heat it much, just so the coconut butter melted & cocoa powder dissolved nicely..

Just checked results: it's almost hardened! Kinda like your basic dark chocolate/cake icing!:) YUM! (But will there be any left to see?! lol!)

This chocolate truly will be ZERO WASTE - as there's almost none left!! lol!

Making it did make my day, so I hope reading about it will cheer you up too, & maybe encourage you to do some fun experimenting? :)
/Not sure exactly how cost-effective or really 'zero waste' this would be as a large-scale operation, but in small amounts it's a fun & interesting experiment to do on a rainy-ish day!/
Also, you know exactly what's in it!! :)
And if all fails and world economy collapses, isn't it interesting to know you can make your own chocolate too?;)

3 comments:

  1. Awww, what a lovely post - thank you so much! I will read this to LMG tomorrow morning (she is in bed now!)
    It sounds like you had lots of fun and you are so resourceful with your ideas. Can you not get chocolate that is in foil and paper over there or was it that you totally wanted to do away with ANY packaging to dispose of.

    You are so thoughtful to have done this and it's the perfect celebration as LMG is a bit of a chocolate fiend herself :)

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  2. Glad to hear you like it!! :) What did Little Miss Green say? :)

    I was really thinking what could be worthy of her birthday, & came up with this!! :)

    Yes, I wanted to see if I can do it without ANY wrappers altogether!!

    Some chocolates here are in non-recyclable wrappings, some are in aluminum foil & cardboard, but the cardboard is heavily printed & glitzy & I'm not sure how easy it is to recycle those.. (or if it's at all possible to do it proper)
    Also if you manage to get the chocolate on the cardboard/paper (which is not that hard to do) it's supposed to go into 'mixed waste'.. :(

    And also I heard a classmate at the Uni talk about homemade chocolate once (she even brought some! - it wasn't as good as this one though!;), and so I really wanted to try it!!
    This was the perfect opportunity!!
    /I might have procrastinated it away into the next millenium otherwise!:)
    So Big Thanks to Little Miss Green for inspiration!! :)

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  3. That's brilliant Layla. I think I'm coming over to yours for my next chocolate fix :-D

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