If you love chocolate as much as we do, you know that all bars are not created equal! From added ingredients like corn syrup and vegetable oils, to over-processed beans lacking in flavor and nutrients, choosing the best chocolate products can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Learn more about our newest ingredients and commitment to quality this month—plus how to turn our cacao products into simple and delicious snacking chocolate at home!
How do I use the new Cacao Wafers?
If you’ve ever baked from a traditional cookbook, you’ve likely come across a call for the ingredient “unsweetened baking chocolate.” Typically, you’ll find this item on grocery store shelves in bar form, nestled next to semi-sweet and milk chocolate baking options. Once melted, baking chocolate can be whisked into everything from moist brownies to rich chocolate pies, luxurious hot cocoas to creamy truffles.
Our Cacao Wafers are a premium version of unsweetened baking chocolate in a convenient form—easy to measure, weigh, chop or melt. Unlike most baking chocolates on the market, our cacao is never alkalized, meaning that the valuable flavanol and antioxidant content within remains high. Furthermore, our Cacao Wafers are always organic, Fairtrade Certified, and free of added ingredients like soy lecithin or dairy.
Those with a love of deeply bitter flavors might enjoy our Cacao Wafers straight from the bag, but for most of us, this product is best suited for baking recipes. Most recipes call for this ingredient in ounces, so the back of each bag features a highly visible note informing that 12 wafers equal one ounce.
For your best baking results, weigh out (or count!) the wafers needed and melt them slowly over very low heat—ideally using a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can easily fashion one by placing a wide stainless steel bowl containing the wafers over a small saucepan with about 1” of simmering water. Once the cacao wafers are completely melted, remove them from the heat, allow them to cool slightly, and incorporate them into your other ingredients as dictated by your recipe.
How can I make my own chocolate with your cacao products?
We love this question! Chocolate making is fun and easy when you have the right ingredients on hand.
The simplest way to make chocolate begins with our Cacao Wafers. Once you’ve determined how many ounces you want to make and what percent cocoa you want, simple math will give you a basic recipe. For example, if you want to make 12 ounces of an 80% cocoa bar, multiply your total ounces (12) by the cocoa percentage (0.8) to get 9.6 ounces. This is how much cacao you’ll need to weigh out. The remaining 2.4 ounces is the amount of sweetener you’ll add. To make your life easier, we also have 60% cacao chocolate wafers and 70% cacao chocolate wafers that are ready to use!
To start, melt your Cacao Wafers over low heat—ideally using a double boiler. Once the cacao is fully melted, remove it from the heat and whisk in your preferred sweetener. Organic cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown sugar will all work well here. If you wish, now is also the time to whisk in some vanilla paste or extract and a pinch of salt.
Pour the melted chocolate into your mold or a dish lined with parchment paper and set it aside to cool. It’s best to let the chocolate harden at room temperature, or about 68 degrees. We do not recommend using the refrigerator or freezer for this step as the high humidity content within can create moisture droplets on your cooling chocolate.
Don’t have Cacao Wafers on hand? You can also make chocolate by combining Cacao Powder with Cacao Butter: 6 Cacao Butter Wafers melted and whisked with 3 Tbsp. of Cacao Powder will give you one ounce of baking chocolate. Using this formula, proceed as above.
If you’re the type to enjoy a technical challenge, you can elevate your chocolate making to new heights by tempering your chocolate! This results in a glossier chocolate bar with a slightly higher melting temperature and a snappier texture. You can read all about how to temper your chocolate here.
Once you’ve mastered basic chocolate making, the sky’s the limit on creative liberties! Nut butter, chopped nuts, citrus zest, cacao nibs, coconut, flower petals and more can all be added to your chocolate bars for flavor and visual appeal.
Why is Fair Trade chocolate important?
As the world’s taste for chocolate continues to grow, the question of where and how the cacao beans are sourced gains increased importance. Unfortunately, many shiny, foil-wrapped bars are hiding a dark side to the cocoa industry that includes child labor, low wages, and poor working conditions.
Fair Trade certification is the food industry’s answer to these issues. For eligibility, growers and purchasers must operate within clearly defined parameters that cover everything from fair wages for workers to investments in community projects, like farmer trainings schools. Strict pricing standards mean that growers can cover the cost of their products even if the commodity market dips, while regular audits ensure that child labor is never used in the production of certified goods.
Not all foods are eligible for Fair Trade certification yet. Cacao, however, is, and we’re proud to carry the label on nearly all of our cacao products. The certifying body behind our seals is Fairtrade International, which you can learn more about here. If you’d like to read more about the producers of our cacao, please visit Our Growers page here.