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Make Your Own Chocolate Kit Review by Charlotte GochnauerGlee Gum
305 Dudley Street
Providence, RI 02907
When I told my kids that our project in school today was to make chocolate, I got everyone’s attention. And when you tell your kids that they get to make their own chocolate and eat it too, suddenly you are the best homeschooling mom ever.
Make Your Own Chocolate Kit is the perfect tool for homeschoolers. The kit comes with everything you need. Not only does it include the cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter, and starter crystals, it also has paper liners to put your chocolate in, and a handy temperature indicator. The only thing you need to provide is the bowl and spoon. The instructions included are easy to read. There is also information about how cacao beans are harvested and the process they undergo to get to the wholesale market.
Using either the stove or microwave, you will follow the step-by-step instructions. After melting the butter and combining the sugar and cocoa, you will temper the chocolate. Tempering is the process of heating the mixture and then cooling it back down to 94 degrees. This is where the handy thermometer comes in; it conveniently has a sticky back so you can stick it to the glass bowl. Tempering can take a while so this is the perfect time to talk about the added information that is included with the kit.
There is a story that describes a girl, and how she helps her family to care for and harvest the cacao pods. You learn how they are processed, and how the chocolate ends up in a candy bar. Then the information shifts and talks about the history of chocolate. Chocolate, as we know it, has actually only been around for the last 100 years. Then we read how through the chocolate press, cocoa butter and powder were separated and the flavor of the chocolate we know today was created. There are even a couple of real organic cacao beans included in the kit that you can shell, open, and taste. During this time you can also add ingredients to the paper liners…marshmallows, fruit, or nuts are some of the suggested items.
Back to the chocolate and we finally hit 94 degrees. It took our chocolate about 20 minutes to temper: I would have started to wonder if our thermometer was broken if not for the instructions mentioning that this step could take some time. We poured in the starter crystals, mixed it well, and then spooned it into the paper liners. We filled them about halfway full and ended up with 17 chocolates. After 15 minutes in the refrigerator, our chocolates had hardened and were ready to eat!
This product was a huge hit in our family. All the way through: from the beginning of the process, to the interesting chocolate facts we learned, to the delicious ending. I loved the simplicity of the instructions, yet the information included had enough depth to keep my 14 year-old daughter interested. She found the explanation of tempering interesting and wanted to try it on her own again with chocolate chips. My youngest who is 8 years-old, thought it was very interesting that George Washington was not able to eat a chocolate bar, and my 12 year-old was fascinated with the cacao beans and actually ate a whole bean. All three of my daughters took turns mixing the chocolate; I loved that it was truly kid friendly; the instructions mentioned that the more mixing, the better. This complete kit only costs $13.95. I think this would be the perfect activity for a co-op; there is plenty of chocolate for a large group and lots of mixing time for everyone. The recommended age level is 8 and up, and I found that to be true; because of the stove or microwave you do need adult supervision.
So whether you are studying ancient Aztec history, chemistry and crystals, or a beginning cooking class, this fun and easy-to-do kit is the perfect supplement.
Product Review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, 2013