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From our lab: Irish cream chocolate

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

Welcome to the Linden Chocolate Lab blog, we are thrilled to have you here!

Over the years of chocolate making, we've come to know that the urge to design and create new flavours is insatiable, and we are pleased to write our first post about it.

So, we are not big drinkers, but Irish cream (and other cream-based alcoholic drinks) let us enjoy a nice creamy flavour and a pleasantly tipsy feeling. The best of both worlds. Here is a tip for life - you can create almost every chocolate flavour you have ever dreamed of by simply making chocolate ganache, which is basically an amazing mixture of chocolate and cream (or in our case coconut cream). With that in mind, one of our first and favourite chocolate ganaches was white chocolate with Irish cream (please refer to the preparation methods and ratios at the end of this post*). And guess what? Given how mild the taste of white chocolate is, the match was perfect!

However, it was not all plain sailing, as the alcohol impeded the solidification of the ganache and we finished up with a treat better eaten with a spoon, with no hope of rolling it into shapes.

From a science point of view, it's impossible to mix any type of liquid into chocolate, which essentially makes our dream of creating a bar of Irish cream chocolate impossible. Although there are some flavoured powders and oil-based extractions on the market, from previous experience, they are usually not that great. So we are left with one option - infusion. The idea of infusion is letting the cacao nibs absorb the flavours from the liquid and dry them up completely. What guarantee the absorption of flavours are chemical reactions between the liquid and the cacao nibs, whereas all the liquid and alcohol evaporate during the drying phase.

Cacao nibs soaked with Irish cream

So I'm sure you can guess what we did next! Yes, we infused cacao nibs in Irish cream! We took one bottle of Irish cream and weighed 450 g of cacao nibs. Next, we mixed them together and put in the fridge for four months (I'm quite sure we can do it in much shorter time than that!). Next came the drying phase in which we dried the nibs in the oven on a relatively low heat for about an hour, at which point, the whole house interior took on the aroma of an Irish pub. After tasting these amazing nibs from time to time, we agreed that 615 g of cacao nibs infused with a bottle of Irish cream worked the best.

Crumbly cacao nibs after the drying phase

The only thing left to do was to decide what type of chocolate we wanted to make with it. After lengthy considerations and taking into account the sugar and the milk solids already absorbed in the nibs, we decided to try our luck with 80% dark-milk chocolate. When all the ingredients were ground up for about 30 hours, the smell permeated the house again and our excitement was soaring. Quick tempering and letting it settle for about two hours... the result was divine! Who knows, maybe it will be our special edition in the future.

Until the next time, keep an open mind, and never stop trying. Cheers!

Now it's time to relax

* Recipe for white chocolate Irish cream ganache:

- Chop 200 g white chocolate

- Bring 80 ml coconut cream (minimum 17% fat) to the boil. Note that some of the water evaporates while boiling, so make sure you boil more. Don't worry about increasing the fat content while the water evaporates, the fat percentage is lower than heavy cream anyway.

- Pour the boiled coconut cream (don't forget to stir it from time to time!) on the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then, stir it gently until the emulsion is more or less homogeneous. Add the Irish cream and stir again.

If the mixture is not homogeneous drop-wise water slowly while continuing to stir it until it reaches a nice and shiny texture.

- Let it set in the refrigerator for about two hours.


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