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just a rumination - soya bar - madness?
May 25, 2005
3:03 pm
cacaofan
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I was just wondering about this very wonderous bean that is the cacao bean.. basically it makes the bars we know and love because it contains butter and mass - but don't many seeds have similar oil/mass ratios? I am not saying that anything can replace the wonderous bean and its reknowned stores of antioxidants, theobromine and stuff, but isn't it possible to make bars from other beans as well? not just whole seeds stuck together in sugar like some nut bars, but actually crushing, and conching the crushed paste? They have done it with carob, could it be done with other seeds?

May 25, 2005
3:45 pm
alex_h
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hmm, this is just a wild guess, but i think regular beans contain more starch and oil than your cocoa bean, which is less a bean and more like leaves grown together. a cotyledon.
if u were to grind and conch soy beans for instance i imagine you'd get a runny mass that wouldn't temper or harden very well at all. or you'd get tofu ;)
i'm sure sebastian and monte have more knowledge in this matter, so i'll leave my wild guesses here...

May 25, 2005
4:23 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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Cocoa beans are unique in their "oil" part - cacao butter. It has unique melting point - around body temp., so it's pleasure to taste. All other beans have oils with much high melting point - vegetable oils, like soy and others, and I think even carob bars are made with addition of vegetable oil, not sure if carob has enough of oil on its own.

May 25, 2005
5:55 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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As you know, cacao is a seed, and many of today's nuts are classified as seeds as well. Fat content is generally between 34-68% depending upon nut (flaxseeds are lower in fat, while macadamia nuts are high), but there is one extreme exception in the form of the chestnut, which has approximately 2% fat content. However, I believe the difference lies in the fat structure and its crystallization properites. Cocoa butter's molecules are capable of forming a dense network of compact, stable crystals, with little liquid fat left over to exude between the crystals. This network, however, only develops when the fat crystallization is carefully controlled. Cocoa butter can solidify into six different kinds of fat crystals, but only two are stable kinds that produce a glossy, dry, and hard chocolate. The other four produce a less organized network with more liquid fat and crystals whose fat molecules can detach easily and thus ooze. Hence tempering.

May 25, 2005
7:59 pm
cacaofan
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wow.. so it is indeed something really unique then - should have guessed though, if it was possible i'm sure someone would have come up with it - have you seen some of those candies around? lollies with ants, worms in them, and the most interesting so far - chocolate coated scorpions.. as disgusting as that might sound, I had a friend who ate deep fried scorpions in a trip to china once, and he described it as tasting like the deep fried skin of kfc chicken! must have been some seasoning on that critter... or is there something about the colonel's secret recipe we don't know about?

May 25, 2005
11:35 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Entomophagy (consumption of insects) may sound disgusting to the Western palate, but insects provide a considerable bulk of the world's diet. In Colombia, people eat termites and palm grubs, and they even grind up ants to spread on bread. In Mexico, grasshoppers are fried and sold both in markets and even canned. Agave worms have also appeared on tortillas. Citizens of Papua New Guinea boil and roast sago grubs over open fires. These are only a few of countless examples, and it's not surprising either, especially when you consider that insects are high in protein and nutrients and are relatively low in fat. Insects are especially popular in (but by no means limited to) developing countries where meat protein sources are scarce or very limited, and also among many peoples who are less technologically advanced. Basically, it's not really disgusting, but rather it's just different to our standards and norms.

May 26, 2005
5:07 am
Sebastian
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~100 people in Thailand died last week from eating raw crickets that were bacteriologically infected with something 8-) It's a delicacy there.

May 26, 2005
5:35 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Well, no one ever said that insects were perfect [;)]

May 27, 2005
10:12 am
alex_h
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well, u can get salmonella or e.coli from chicken and ground beef if u r not careful, so...

May 27, 2005
12:36 pm
Martin Christy
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Going back to the original theme of this thread (moderator?!), the reason chocolate bars exist is because of cocoa butter, a complex combination of fats unique to cacao beans. The important properties are the melt point already mentioned - just below body temperature and hence the all important 'melt', and the type of crystalline structure that can formed with cocoa butter with the right treatment (i.e. tempering).

No other product of nature has this exact combination of properties that make solid chocolate possible. Anything else that looks like a bar is a result of food-science conjuring, as in the ghastly, awful concept of carob bars, which exist for no good reason I can see, apart from self punishment. (This is not to knock carob itself, which is a good baking ingredient in its own right, when not used as a cocoa substitute.)

Nothing can ever replace cocoa butter and real chocolate flavour, they can only imitate it.

Martin Christy
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http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
May 27, 2005
3:08 pm
Sebastian
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Actually, shea and illipe butters are pretty darn good replacements for cocoa butter. analytically speaking, they're virtually identical..

May 27, 2005
3:17 pm
ellie
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Is shea butter edible? - only seen it as a cosmetic ingredient, and never came across the other one. Also have now tried to use coconut butter in my home chocolate "pate", as Monte advised, with quite a success.

May 27, 2005
4:29 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Sebastian, I knew you'd come in and sort me out! [:D] ... still not a route we want to go down now, is it?

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
May 27, 2005
5:03 pm
Sebastian
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Not saying we should or shouldn't, only that if we did, you'd probably never know the difference 8-) Shea is very edible.

May 27, 2005
5:11 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Shea butter comes from the Shea tree and has been traditionally used as a healing skin emollient for years in Africa and even by Cleopatra herself. The Shea tree bears fruits, whose seeds are the source from which shea butter is extracted. The nuts are roasted and ground, and then the butter is separated. Natural shea butter is edible, and in fact, it is even used as a cooking oil in Africa. I'm not an expert in the cosmetic industry, but since shea butter is often added as a supplement to other inedible ingredients, I don't believe skin emollients of today that contain shea butter are edible.

May 27, 2005
5:23 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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quote:


Originally posted by martinc

Going back to the original theme of this thread (moderator?!), the reason chocolate bars exist is because of cocoa butter, a complex combination of fats unique to cacao beans.


Hey now, check out my first post in this thread [;)] I was very on-topic [:D] But enough about insects!

May 27, 2005
9:42 pm
cacaofan
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thats the thing about forums, a post can start on topic, but sometimes just other related topics creep in.. it's just something that happens..

May 30, 2005
11:31 am
alex_h
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yup. sorry, martin...

just a rumination - soya bar - madness? | Fine chocolate bar discussion | Forum