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In an attempt to make (vegan) white chocolate I noticed that the sugar doesn't dissolve in the melted cacao butter.

For reference, this is the recipe I'm using: Organic Authority's "Four Ingredient Vegan White Chocolate Recipe"

I melt the cacao butter au bain-marie, add the coconut oil and melt that too. Then I add the vanilla and sugar. What happens next is that the sugar forms clumps and sinks to the bottom. Why does this happen? I'd love to understand this. (Putting the mixture in a high speed blender didn't help as well.)

In a previous attempt I tried heating the mixture directly in a sauce pan to the point where the sugar would 'melt' but this turned out to be a big mistake. The sugar seemed burned and the result was cacao butter with burned caramel. Needless to say I didn't eat it.

I have a hunch that I need an emulsifier in order to get a smoother result, however I have no experience in this at all.

When melting factory made chocolate au bain-marie I get a much creamier result which actually looks like melted chocolate. The chocolate I'm making is just very oily (with sugar lumps in it) and looks nothing like I would expect. What does it take to get such a result?

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Sugar won't dissolve in cocoa butter. Or in coconut oil, for that matter.

When making chocolate, the sugar is smoothed and kept in suspension by prolonged grinding, conching, which is really a mechanical process... and one of the reasons making actual chocolate at home is very rare, absent specialized equipment, as the sugar crystals will not dissolve and this leaves a gritty product.

You might have better luck with powdered sugar, since it's already more finely ground. Or superfine or castor sugar, perhaps. I see that the recipe calls for coconut sugar, and I'm not sure there's commercial powdered or superfine, but you might be able to grind it more finely for a better result anyway. For powdered or castor sugar the amounts in volume will be a bit different - as the sugar will physically settle differently, plus the addition of cornstarch for powdered - but weight should be the same and there are conversions for volume measurements.

It may also help to cool the cocoa butter/coconut oil mix down to a thicker consistency (semisolid, maybe like softened butter, something of the sort) before mixing in the sugar, as the thicker texture should help keep the sugar in suspension rather than letting it settle out before the mix finishes cooling. With the cocoa butter/coconut oil mixture in that thicker state, the incorporation would look more like creaming.

  • Oh wow, I didn't know about the conching process, I guess I'll stick to store bought products. I might try mixing in the (powdered) sugar when the butter/oil is semisolid. Thanks :) – siebz0r Dec 18 '17 at 10:00
  • @siebz0r - yeah, most "homemade chocolate" either starts with storebought and modifies it, or else mixes it with something sugar can dissolve in (which makes a chocolate fudge, sauce, or confection, not pure chocolate bars or chunks). Conching chocolate at home is possible if you have a quality wet grinder, but that isn't common (outside of Indian households) and costs, as most quality kitchen appliances do, a couple hundred. – Megha Dec 19 '17 at 1:31
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Your recipe states:

In a double boiler, gently melt the cacao butter over medium-low heat. Make sure to stir frequently. Mix in the coconut oil until both oils are uniform in texture. Add in the sugar and vanilla and use a whisk to help the sugar dissolve.

I think dissolve is the wrong word. I think what you're trying to achieve is creaming the sugar into the fat mixture. I'd absolutely believe that creaming the sugar wouldn't work well in a blender. Creaming is easy to do with a electric hand mixer in a bowl, or double boiler in this case.

  • Do you have any reference on how to do this creaming? Last time I did try using an electric hand mixer but I just got oil everywhere with the sugar lumps still in there. – siebz0r Dec 17 '17 at 21:49
  • Never done it with your particular ingredients, but there are a zillion hits on creaming the sugar with Google. – MaxW Dec 17 '17 at 21:54
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    I agree that "dissolve" is the wrong word here, but "creaming" is also wrong. Creaming means that you whisk sugar crystals into solid butter at high enough speed and for long enough to slightly foam the butter (the sharp sugar crystals help). You cannot do it in melted fat, and doing it by hand (with sugar and solid butter and a whisk) takes over an hour (says McGee, I have only done it with a mixer). – rumtscho Dec 18 '17 at 11:26

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