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Loco for Cocoa

Chocolate is perfect for all occasions, any time. Photo by Sophie '13.
Chocolate is perfect for all occasions, any time. Photo by Sophie ’13.

Like many teenage girls, I look forward to Valentine’s Day for one reason and one reason only– the chocolate. And what better way to justify an unhealthy obsession than by making some yourself?

There are a few clear advantages to homemade chocolate. First and foremost, you can have as much as you want without being judged by the snobby cashier at Trader Joe’s. Plus, since you physically have to wait for your chocolate to be finished, you (might) end up eating less of it.

And if you make your chocolate yourself, you can put it in those cute ice cube trays, and voila, you have heart/dinosaur/lego-shaped chocolates!

Also, the FDA is terrifying. Mass-produced chocolate has to be laid out for hours, so insects tend to land in the soft chocolate. Since this is seen as unavoidable, the FDA gives chocolate manufacturers permission to have UP TO EIGHT INSECT LEGS in a bar of chocolate, or 60 insect fragments per 100 grams. As long as the overall average is under one rodent hair per 100 grams, chocolate bars can also contain up to three rodent hairs per 100 grams. Charming, right?

So, you’ve (understandably) decided to make your own chocolates. Brava. Here is a nice fancy recipe for you whizzes out there, but for those of us who are… culinarily challenged… the following is recipe is very simple:

To get started, gather 125 grams of vegetable shortening (or 5/8ths of a cup), 125 grams of confectioner’s sugar, six tablespoons of baking cocoa (Do not taste this! It is not delicious!), four tablespoons of powdered cream and a pinch of salt.

Melt the vegetable shortening in a medium-sized pot. Then, sift the dry ingredients together and mix the vegetable shortening in. Once you’ve eradicated any and all lumps, pour your mixture into a pan lined with wax paper and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.

Since this is your own mix (and it doesn’t need to go in the oven) feel free to add things like peppermint, dried fruit, sea salt, peanut butter, caramel, pretzels, almonds, hazelnuts, coffee beans, coconut… the possibilities are endless.