Organic Maple Sugar & Cacao
We’ve recently been making a 75% dark chocolate using organic & fair trade Dominican Republic cacao that is sweetened only with pure organic maple sugar. It is a very rich chocolate that is quite smooth for a 75% dark bar. The maple flavor is a welcomed subtle compliment to intense cacao taste.
The idea of making a chocolate with maple sugar had been laying there in the back of our minds for sometime. The inspiration began at Tomball Farmers Market October 2014. A fellow vendor two tents down asked about getting chocolate without any sugar so she could sweeten it with maple syrup. She is living a Paleo lifestyle and avoids refined sugars. Now I kid of course when I say this, but I truly thought that The Paleo Diet was secret code for food that tastes gross. Our farmers market mate persisted, so I made her some 100% chocolate and she loved me for it. Then I learned how much Paleo people like bacon. Now I hug every Paleo person (the ones that let me anyways) I come across. I like people that eat bacon.
Sometime around the middle of February I was contacted by the folks over at The Granilla Bar about the possibililty of making a dark chocolate with maple sugar. They are a Paleo certified granola bar maker and their stuff tastes good, really good actually. I haven’t seen that bacon bar from them yet, but perhaps that is in R&D.
Anyways, Denise’s granola bar business is rapidly growing and hubby Kevin was helping with her sourcing. A chocolate supplier out east they were been using was behind in production causing granola bar outages, but mostly Denise & Kevin wanted a local source for chocolate.
This maple chocolate thing was now coming at us from different angles, so we thought this is something we should dig deeper into. Michelle got right on the maple sugar source search and scored. Next thing you know samples were here. The aroma escaping from a freshly opened bag of pure maple sugar will make you want to grab some pancake batter and fry some bacon. I don’t kid around about pancakes and bacon.
We made one test batch and knew immediately what adjustments to make. In other words, we pretty much nailed it right out of the gate. Soon after, we bought a 40 lb box of maple sugar for the first production run. Getting it right early was important for us because pure maple sugar is pricey. Cane sugar runs us in the low $.30’s per lb, while organic maple sugar is nearly $9.00 a lb delivered to our door from sugar shack country. Messing up would get expensive.
Our maple chocolate turned out better than I had expected. Maple sugar confirms for sure that all sweeteners are indeed not created equally. Some really rich chocolaty flavors are coming from only two pure ingredients; organic cacao and maple sugar. We are getting flavors like toffee, caramel, coffee, and a fruit note when haven’t pegged yet.
Making maple sugar doesn’t employ any chemical processing at all. The sap is harvested from the tree in the spring and early summer. The sap is simply boiled into a dry glob that it is granulated into something like looks like cane sugar, but tan in color and full of maple aroma. While maple sugar is pricey it is an easy ingredient to work with, and tends to be little sweeter pound for pound compared to cane sugar. We decided chocolate with 75% cacao would work as both a dark chocolate for The Granilla Bar to use in their bar recipes; as well as, a nice pure chocolate bar from Tejas Chocolate. I think we accomplished that goal with our maple chocolate. I’m finding secret stashes of this chocolate in desk drawers around the offices here. Its that good.
If you like your chocolate in something nutritious like granola hit up The Granilla Bar. All their bars are very tasty. If like your chocolate pure and neat then try our Maple Bar. You can’t get any more pure that this bar.