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There are all sorts of things that I never really thought I’d make from scratch. Like cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder). Or a daily batch of coconut milk. Or our own coconut flour. And here I am, making all of those things. Oh, Saipan.
I had an inkling that chocolate making was in our future when we stumbled upon cacao pods at the public market. Add in a visit from my parents and a ton of very precise research (aka- hours of watching chocolate making on YouTube) and my back porch was transformed into a small batch chocolaterie. And by chocolaterie, I mostly mean we made cocoa powder and chocolates to eat and share with friends.
Just in case you find a pile of cacao pods and want to make cocoa powder, I took pictures along the way (also because I want to remember how to do this if we attempt it again). Also, you can totally skip the first few steps and use cacao beans- just pick up after the first couple of steps. Let’s make some chocolate, shall we?
First, you open all of the cacao pods and remove the cacao beans. Place in a bucket lined with banana leaves and cover. Leave for three days to ferment.
Then, dry the fermented beans in the sun for a few days (are you following this timeline by the way? Yep, we’re a week in at this point).
Next, spread the cacao beans on a cookie sheet and oven roast at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool.
Separate the cacao nibs from the shells (we tried several different methods- shelling with our fingers, twisting the bean and then shelling, pressing a rolling pin on the beans to crack the shells first- all of those worked).
Grind the cacao beans. We did a round in the food processor and then small batches in the coffee grinder (we actually ran it through the coffee grinder twice to ensure a find grind).
Cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder, more accurately) = finished! Use this yumminess to mix up a batch of your very own chocolates or skinny chocolate coconut bites or even homemade hot cocoa (if you don’t live on a tropical island). Seriously, friends- so good. SO much work, but so good!