I find it interesting how new ideas form, evolve, etc. I was putting together a batch of milk chocolate this morning, and really didn't have much time. OK, and I was a bit lazy because I didn't have liqueur - only nibs. So I proceeded to melt the cocoa butter I would be using, and thinking about how I often have to add heat to the Melanger when grinding nibs directly, I tossed the nibs directly into the melting cocoa butter. Knowing I would not have time to bring the sugar and milk powder up to temperature before I left, I took the butter/nib mixture up to 210 F - yes, that hot. Into the Melanger it went. In went the sugar and milk powder, and it was off and running. 117 F and flowing perfect with no chance of setting up because it was too cool.
Now, where this leads me to is wondering if you could 'roast' your nibs by heating them in hot cocoa butter. I noticed as I heated the butter/nib mixture to past 212 F (for just an instance), they started to spit, indicating water was being driven off. Would deep fried nibs make a good chocolate? Certainly not viable for a dark chocolate, but it has possibilities for milk chocolate. I'm going to try this and report back.
And in other news, I will have some "American" cocoa later this month. Hawaiian cocoa. Being American grown and all, it's going to be pricey, and I won't have a lot, but I thought it worth offering. It's a nice, fresh, mild cocoa.