Cocoa powder is fine. Buy the stuff with no sugar added so you can add your own (presumably also fairly traded) sugar. It it's easier on your wrist if you add the powder ingredients to water. And it helps to do it on a scale for precision. Plus, what would you rather sitting on your shelves, dry powder cocoa & sugar or chocolate sauce?
Right now, I have Valrhona powder, sugar, and hot water at 4:6:5 proportions by weight.
Try calling around, chocolate companies are probably happy to send you samples.
How about sourcing the chocolate that meets your requirements and then making your own sauce from that chocolate? That way you get the chocolate that meets your requirement for sustainability and you know exactly the ingredients in the sauce.
make it, plenty of awesome sauce recipes to be found. if you don't have access to a commercial kitchen or stove, use a portable butane stove, they're like $20 at most any rest supply.
most recipes will call for sugar/simple syrup simmered with coco (baker's) powder and possibly another type of sweetener intended to retard re-crystallization of the sugar. Plain ol' Corn syrup (not HFCS) fits this role well, though, other liquid sweeteners are available. After these ingredients have combined, chopped chocolate (bittersweet works best, i use calleburts) is melted into sauce. that's about it.
i can make a few gallons for like 10 bucks even using whatever brand of pricy high-quality cruelty-free organic chocolate i want; the god-awful ghiradelle was like 50-60 for a 3 gal/cs.
I am trying to work with raw chocolate recipes. These usualy need some sort of sweetening if not honey or agave then some sort of sugar. It's really a matter of coming up with a recipe that won't do bad things to the taste of the coffee or espresso or hide it all together!
Okay, I've got my work cut out for me... I'm going to test out making a syrup from Omanhene cocoa mix & see how that works. Thanks for the advice, particularly Mo'Joe whose post almost blew my mind. I love it when solutions are both better AND cheaper. That rocks.
So, I have now done some experimentation and I am very happy with the flavor of the syrup I've produced from the Omanhene cocoa. Now I just need to fine tune it a bit. Proportions! 1 part sugar to 3/4 part cocoa to 1 part boiling water is too sweet and runny.
ditto to solutions better:cheaper
you should try adding some fat to the sauce in the form of chopped chocolate (semi or bitter-sweet) once the other ingredients are combined and removed from heat, that will definitely add a thicker mouth feel. before adding the chocolate to the sauce, make sure the temp is cool enough or your chocolate will "seize" instead of melting. the exact temp will vary depending on the type of chocolate. checkout some baking blogs for more info about tempering and incorporating chocolate.
otherwise you may consider using a thickener like agar or xanthan gum (both naturally-derived) after sauce is cooled to room temp, we use xanthan in our salad dressing emulsions, though get along just fine with the chopped choco....so much so that sometimes i need to thin them out using simple syrup.
as for sweetness, cut back on your use of white sugar --sucrose, and replace it with something like corn syrup (a glucose but different from HFCS) agave (my fav, use an organic type) or inverted sugar (not as sinister as it sounds, see this link for more 411: www.ochef.com/735.htm ), besides sweetness, straight sucrose has the tendency to re-crystallize after its been dissolved into solution which is why i'd look into the another "sugar" source, unless chunky sauces are your thing.
also, how you actually combine the sugar:cocoa:water may be of importance, hence the need for a direct heat source like a stove top, even an electric one (better: induction) would work. a stick blender (a cheapie is fine) or vita mix is also something to consider if you want nice smooth sauces.
in case you're wondering, home-made syrups/sauces are something of an ancillary pursuit to my professional love of coffee. (have already made a chocolate and an easy as hell vanilla that i'm happy with, my current tweak is on some "nut" sauces)
i've found a wealth of info surfing around various foodie, molecular gastronomy, and artisan bartending blogs. look around, learn, experiment, we should speak further about methods and concoctions once you're more familiar with the "science"
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