What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients in this Chocolate Bark recipe. It is a pure stable fat pressed out of cacao beans. It is vegan and contains no dairy products. Below are some cool and fun things to know about Cocoa Butter

Cool Facts:

• Cocoa beans are harvested from a large fruit that is roughly the size and shape of a football.
• Farmers remove the beans which produce cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
• Cocoa Nibs are the beans stripped from their shells before they are milled into cocoa powder or processed into a liquid called cocoa liquor.
• Cocoa powder is the skinny side of chocolate.
• Cocoa butter without cocoa powder is the White Chocolate.
• The chocolate that we enjoy is made from the powder and butter which is found inside a fruit that looks like a football.

This recipe reunites the two back together again. That melt in your mouth experience occurs because cocoa butter’s melting point is the same temperature as the human body.

Mother nature does it again.  How in the world does she create such wonderful things?

On that special note, “Here’s to making Chocolate Bark at home for the Holidays!”

From my kitchen to yours,

Debbie

Here are a few more Chocolate Bark decorating ideas:

• Lightly toasted almonds, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
• Crumbled Oreo cookies
• Coconut with Macadamia nuts
• Chopped Peanuts and Yellow Raisins
• Dried Cranberries with Pistachios and Coarse Sea Salt

A jar of vanilla beans can be expensive.
Unless the vanilla seeds are part of the visible dish you can convert from bean to extract using this ratio: 1 vanilla bean = 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

However, when vanilla is the predominate flavor in a recipe, it’s great to use the whole bean form.

A few helpful suggestions before you begin:

This chocolate bark recipe was recommended by one of our cooking school students, Courtnay. She intends to gift chocolate this year for friends and neighbors. Such a pretty gift to bundle in cellophane paper with ribbon and bow.

Courtnay’s comments:

“Last year I doubled the recipe. I still used one large shallow rimmed baking sheet, covered in parchment paper. The liquid chocolate filled the pan and the bark was thick and good.

This year I intend to create a thinner bark. I will still double the recipe, but  will use two baking sheets instead of one. This should allow the chocolate to spread into thin sheets, I hope it looks like skinny chocolate!” 

I also tried dehydrated blueberries and cherries, but the fruits were hard to see against the dark chocolate. The garnet red goji berries and fresh green pistachios popped from their shells provided the brightest Christmas cheer!”

“CULINARY” COCOA BUTTER This is the white chocolate without the cocoa powder added back in.

Courtnay purchased the cocoa butter at Whole Foods.  You can also order cocoa butter online. Surprisingly, even Walmart carries “culinary” cocoa butter online. Thank you Courtnay for sharing your experience with this recipe!

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