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I'm making white chocolate following this recipe and it had a couple issues:

  • The sugar didn't fully dissolve, so some of it tasted overly sweet at the bottom of the mold, rest was basically cocoa butter
  • It had an extremely strong and awful alcohol-y after taste. I used Bourbon Vanilla extract and Liquid almond extract

I tried again later with using granulated sugar and it also didn't dissolve, remaining quite gritty. Is there some secret (or obvious) step I'm missing to help the sugar dissolve?

Also, is using alcohol based extracts in chocolate a no-go? Cause that after taste was positively awful. Multiple recipes online don't seem to say anything against using alcohol extracts though.

Couple final notes:

  • I used both a double boiler and microwave melting for chocolate
  • I used the vegan version of the recipe (soy milk powder)
  • I don't suppose you've taken the temp of the cocoa butter before you add the sugar to it? – Catija Mar 28 '18 at 20:22
  • No, recipes I used just said "head until melted" is there an important temperature to hit or not pass? – joeyfb Mar 28 '18 at 20:34
  • I don't know. I've never done it but if you really want to dissolve sugar, warmer will be more effective, sooner. It will work at lower temps (and you definitely don't want to burn your cocoa powder) but I wonder if that was part of the problem? – Catija Mar 28 '18 at 20:51
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1/3c Sugar is never going to dissolve in the ~one tsp liquid from the extracts, and sugar simply does not dissolve in fats - so your cocoa butter won't dissolve it either.

This is a known problem in chocolate making, both white and not... commercially sugar and/or milk powder is mixed in by a process known as conching, where the sugar is mixed into the chocolate by grinding, often for days, to the result is smooth to the tongue. Many "homemade" confections either start with premade chocolate, or add liquid to dissolve the sugar... which ends up making a fudgelike confection (you have to add other ingredients to prevent the chocolate from seizing, and end with the confection not only softer but with other flavors), some try using butter for its water content.

If the cocoa butter is just melted to or cooled to sludgy, before adding the sugar, the powdered sugar might be folded rather than mixed in and the result cool quickly enough not to settle. It still may have texture issues, though.

As for the alcohol-based aftertaste, it may be the extracts were too much for the amount of chocolate, or that your particular extracts had a heavier alcoholic taste. I believe extracts intended for candy making are different from those intended for baking, for this reason among others - they have less liquid, they are rated to higher temperatures, they balanced differently since they are less likely to be mixed into larger volumes to dilute tastes.

Many recipes start with chocolate melting discs, etc, for this reason. If you really want to make your own, or you want a flavor profile with a higher % cocoa butter and/or less sugar, you might have some success with adding cocoa butter, milk powder, and flavorings to lesser amounts of white chocolate (essentially, you'd just be using it for the amt sugar needed for the larger batch, the cocoa butter and milk powder already there would be "extras").

  • Would adding liquid sugar, like agave or maple syrup "solve" the problem? – joeyfb Mar 29 '18 at 2:15
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    @joeyfb - kinda-ish, if you only add a little, tiny bit you could make a confection but it would be less like white chocolate and more like a pale fudge... between a softer, fudgier texture and the syrup flavor possibly crowding out the cocoa butter flavor (which is on the subtle side to begin with). chocolate, white or cocoa'd, can really only take a little liquid before it will no longer solidify (or it separates out and solidifies), I'd guess a straight substitution of syrup would make a chocolate sauce instead. – Megha Mar 29 '18 at 2:24

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