Method

Hot chocolate will cost very little if you prepare your own chocolate bars. The quality of the chocolate depends solely on the freshness of the cocoa, which is indicated as follows: Break the bean, and if the interior is neither decayed nor rotten, the bean may be used. After purchasing very fresh cocoa beans, roast them like coffee beans in a brazier, a few at a time. When the beans begin to crack slightly, immediately pour them onto a clean table so that they barely touch one another. Be careful not to overcook them, because overcooked cocoa beans are as unfit for use as undercooked ones.

After the beans have cooled, skin them and grind as fine as possible. Then, in lb batches, grind the powder long and hard in an iron mortar. No other kind is suitable, for after pouring in the powder and beginning to pound it, you must immediately begin to heat the mortar until it becomes very hot. Set it on a very hot stove tile such as that used for resting an iron, and exchange the tile for a hot one as soon as it cools. But watch that the mortar does not get too hot and burn the cocoa, because in that case, everything will be wasted.

When the powder turns into a smooth, oily mixture, gradually pour in lbs finely sieved sugar, constantly pounding the mixture and stirring with a spoon. Finally, add ½ lot vanilla finely pounded with a piece of sugar and sieved. (If desired, ½ lot each cardamom and cinnamon also may be added.) But since vanilla generally is a rather harmful substance, the only good part being its fragrance, it is best to use sugar saturated with the odor of vanilla from having been stored in a glass jar with a piece of vanilla. These jars [of vanilla sugar] must be wrapped with a bladder or with paper.

Thoroughly stir the mixture of cocoa and sugar, and then pour it into tin molds, shaped like small bars of chocolate. These shallow molds must be wider on top and narrower on the bottom. When spreading this mixture, shake the molds thoroughly to distribute the chocolate evenly. Set the molds in a cold place, cover them with muslin to protect them from flies, and leave them to dry. When the tops have dried, remove the bars from the molds and spread them out on clean paper to dry thoroughly on the other side. Then wrap in paper. Good chocolate must be a very dark, reddish color; it must be very smooth and melt in the mouth.

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