Level: Apprentice

Reading time: 6 min

How can I make chocolate with honey?

I’ve answered this in the past.

How do I sweeten my chocolate with honey?

I really want to make chocolate with honey. I’ve seen it out there so it must be possible.  How can I do it?

Do I have to use granulated cane sugar to make chocolate? What about refining with alternative sweeteners or making unsweetened milk chocolate?

So why am I going to answer it again?  It boils down to the scientific method.  Science, good science, by its nature changes and evolves as we learn new things.  It does not necessarily  invalidate previous findings completely.  It refines it and fine tunes it.  To that end, I have somewhat a new answer to this question in that it appears (note the disclaimer for future updates of failure) that I have successfully tempered chocolate with honey in it.

Before we get onto that, I am going to be clear that I’m refining my previous answers, but to my mind not contradicting them.

  • You still cannot refine your chocolate with honey. 
  • You cannot add honey to chocolate and expect it to act normal while you temper it
  • You cannot use traditional tempering methods if there is honey in your chocolate.

I have an admission to make.  When we made the first Ask the Alchemist video we had to do part of it in two takes because when I initially added the honey to the chocolate it didn’t instantly seize.  Mind you, it did eventually seize but it took time and quite a bit of stirring.

Over the following months I made and tempered a lot of chocolate, all of it using Silk.  What I eventually noticed was that I had become very efficient with my tempering method, stirring in the cocoa butter Silk and getting it into mold and that the time was shorter than the time it took the chocolate in my video to seize.

You know where this is going.

I have found you can get a pretty good (more disclaimers) temper by using Silk if you want to add honey to your chocolate.  It really isn’t that different from the Silk tempering method I have previous laid out.  The only change is that I used 2% silk by weight of the final weight of the chocolate (unsweetened chocolate and honey combined) and I force cooled the chocolate so I didn’t give the water to interact with the crystals and bloom.

I weighed out my honey and warmed it up to 94-95 F.  This is important so you can work quickly.

I refined my cocoa in my melanger for 24 hours (with no honey) and likewise brought it to 94-95 F.

I weighted out 2% of grated silk (I was tempering 1 kg here) and in it goes.

Once the silk was all melted (indicated by the temperature drop to about 92 F) I poured in my honey.  Note the swirls.  Most of the chocolate drops right to the bottom.

I quickly and briskly stirred it.  I want to repeat that.  I was NOT careful about stirring it in.  In the video I stirred like crazy.  Chocolate WILL seize when water is added but it does take time, so get in there and STIR!  You are racing the clock here.

If you look close you can see he texture is just a little bit odd.

Because I was working fast and everything was warm I was able to get the chocolate into the molds and it still smoothed right out with a couple solid raps on the table.

I put the chocolate into my refrigerator for 8 minutes at 45 F.  You want the chocolate to just lose its gloss.

 

This one was not quite ready to come out so I left it another 2 minutes.

 

 

I left the chocolate to finish setting up on the counter for 15 minutes.

I am not sure if the next part is necessary or not but I then put the chocolate back into the refrigerator for another 15 minutes to completely cool. My thought was to push the crystallization as hard and fast as I could to promote Type V growth and inhibit any other that might cause bloom.

The chocolate pulled away from the molds indicating it had truly tempered and not just solidified.

And there you go.

The taste was extremely honey forward.  The texture was a little bit off but there was snap.  Not 100% like traditionally tempered chocolate but certainly not like fudgey seized chocolate.

I’m going to be keeping it around and see how it holds up over the weeks and months.  It has been fine for 2 days.  If it goes odd or bad (due to the water content) I’ll update this.

The recipe:

  • 615 g roasted cocoa nibs (Fiji in this case) refined 24 hours
  • 385 g honey
  • 20 g Cocoa butter Silk

Give it a try and let me know if it works as well for you as it did for me. 

I love the scientific method!

 

 

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