Value-adding for profit: Make your own artisanal chocolates to earn an extra income from your cacao products

Although farmers can already earn a significant amount from their produce, it doesn’t hurt to transform their raw ingredients into value-added products that could augment their income as well as establish their presence in the market. 

For cacao farmers, aside from making tablea, and cacao nibs, one way to value-add cacao is by turning them into chocolates that can satisfy consumers’ sweet tooth and cravings. 

Joycedel C. Macias, a chocolatier from Davao, shared some quick and easy recipes on how to make chocolate during the Davao leg of AgriTalk 2020, a series of webinars held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute and Manila Bulletin. 

With cacao, Macias said that farmers or entrepreneurs can create 70 percent dark chocolate or milk chocolate products. 

A recipe for making 70 percent dark chocolate 

In making 70 percent dark chocolate, Macias listed the ingredients which include cacao liquor or tablea (626 grams), sugar (300 grams), cacao butter (200 grams), and nuts (optional). 

“You can add some nuts if you want the chocolate to have a distinct taste and texture. You can use almonds, peanuts, or cashew nuts,” the chocolatier said. 

As for the cacao liquor, this can be made by grinding cacao nibs until they have a pasty texture. 

Here are the steps to make 70 percent dark chocolate:

1. Melt the cacao butter in a pot. According to Macias, the butter must not be overcooked so it's best to heat the pot on the stove for a while then turn it off before adding the butter. Continue melting the butter on low heat but be careful not to burn it as it could affect the taste of the chocolate.

“If you’re using a double burner, make sure that the chocolates or the butter doesn’t get water in them because this could affect both taste and consistency of the finished product,” Macias said.

2. Once the butter is thoroughly melted, set it aside and start mixing the other ingredients by gradually adding in sugar to the cacao liquor or melted tablea. Mix well so that all ingredients are incorporated.

3. Add in the melted cacao butter. If the tablea is well-fermented, Macias advises not to add too much butter because the tablea already has oil in it.

4. After combining all the ingredients, have them pass through a grinder until it has a fine, smooth texture. Repeat this step until that consistency is achieved.

5. Place the finished mixture in preferred molds. This can be done by using a piping bag or by simply transferring the mixture with a spoon. But if nuts are to be added, mix these in the mixture first before placing the chocolate into the molds.

6. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes. Make sure that there’s nothing else in the freezer with the chocolates such as fish, vegetables, or frozen goods. Macias said that the smell from these other items can stick to the chocolates and make them unpalatable.

7. Remove the chocolates from the molds and package as preferred.

According to Macias, the capital for making dark chocolate costs about P283 which could already make 1.126 kilos of chocolates. If these chocolates are sold for P1,000/kilo, minus the capital, then the farmer or entrepreneur can make a profit of P843. 

Making milk chocolate 

On the other hand, to make milk chocolate, the ingredients needed are cacao liquor (180 grams), sugar (400 grams), milk (400 grams), and nuts (optional). 

“For the milk, we discourage using liquid milk such as condensed or evaporated since this could affect the hardening process of the chocolates,” Macias said. The chocolatier advises to use pure skim milk or powdered milk instead. 

To make milk chocolate, the steps are as follows:

1. Melt cacao butter.

2. Mix sugar, cacao liquor, and milk gradually. 

3. Add the cacao butter slowly. Watch if the mixture is getting too much oil because if it does, the butter will separate from the mixture once it hardens. 

4. Grind the mixture until it has a fine, smooth texture.

5. Place in the mold but add the nuts in the mixture before doing so. 

6. Put in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chocolate mixture hardens. 

For this recipe, Macias said that the capital was P594 and could make 1.110 kilos of chocolate. If sold for P1,000 per kilo, minus the capital expenses, then one could gain a profit of P586. 

With these simple and easy recipes, farmers and entrepreneurs can earn more from cacao products as well as make themselves known in the market. Who knew making money can be this sweet?

Watch the full webinar here.  

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