Okay, so from what I understand it's fairly straight forward adding flavor infusions to chocolate if you are doing bean to bar (please correct me if I'm wrong). However, I'm a little stumped as to add flavor infusions with chocolate that is already chocolate. I do not want to use the chocolate oils that are store bought, I want to be able to do real, natural infusions (like orange or vanilla etc.). From what I read, and if I understand correctly, you need to infuse the flavor with cocoa butter first, then introduce the flavored cocoa butter with the already made chocolate. Is this correct? What is the process to infuse the cocoa butter (if correct). Is there a recommended ratio of cocoa butter to chocolate?
Can someone please detail the steps they go through to infuse chocolate (already made chocolate).
Any and all help is most appreciated.
Stay away from "chocolate oils". You can add a small amount of oil (like natural orange oil) to the chocolate to add flavor, but too much will cause your chocolate to thicken, so measure by the drop. I use the highest quality and purest essence I can find. Remember, a little goes a long way.
If you don't want to use natural oils, you can store the chocolate with the flavor item you want to add. Pastry chefs do this all the time with sugar. The cocoa butter within the chocolate will absorb any scent it is near (good and bad) over time. The longer that chocolate is exposed, the stronger the flavor will be. For instance, try cutting open several fresh vanilla beans length wise and storing them with your chocolate in an air tight container. After a few minutes, your chocolate will have a fleeting vanilla note to it. After 1 month of co-habitating, your chocolate will taste as though it had loads of vanilla added to it by the chocolate maker.
Although it is done, I don't usually recommend infusing cocoa butter with the scent and then adding it too the chocolate. This will change the viscosity, workability, and overall cocoa content of your chocolate. While the chocolate may be easier to work with initially, the extra cocoa butter quickly becomes a nightmare to work with! It can also leave a weird film/coating on the palette if you add too much cocoa butter. Instead, stick with using a couple drops of really good essence, adding flavor over time through co-habitation, or simply save the infusions for the ganache.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the feedback Karen. All of that is great info! I'll have to see what works best. I think it will be kind of tough at a commercial scale, but I'll have to experiment to see what will work.
When my oranges and mandarins are ripe off our trees I can't resist using them in my chocolates. I use the juice and zest reducing it as much as I can without burning it. I love these concentrated flavours. I add it to the melted cacao butter and whiz it up to mix it in. It works well but if I try to store the chocolates for too long they will leak, which I believe is the acids in the fruit eating away at the chocolate. So they are ok if you sell/eat them within a few days but by a week they will have leaked out. Hope this helps.