Cacao & Chocolate - Definition and Recipes


The cacao-tree (Theobroma cacao) is native to Mexico. Although successfully cultivated between the twentieth parallels of latitude, its industry is chiefly confined to Mexico, South America, and the West Indies.

Cocoa and chocolate are both prepared from seeds of the cocoa bean. The bean pod is from seven to ten inches long, and three to four and one-half inches in diameter. Each pod contains from twenty to forty seeds, embedded in mucilaginous material. Cocoa beans are dried prior to importation. Like coffee, they need roasting to develop flavor.

After roasting, the outer covering of bean is removed; this covering makes what is known as cocoa shells, which have little nutritive value. The beans are broken and sold as cocoa nibs.     

The various preparations of cocoa on the market are made from the ground cocoa nibs, from which, by means of hydraulic pressure, a large amount of fat is expressed, leaving a solid cake. This, in turn, is pulverized and mixed with sugar, and frequently a small amount of corn-starch or arrowroot. To some preparations, cinnamon or vanilla is added. Broma contains both arrowroot and cinnamon.     

Chocolate is made from cocoa nibs but contains a much larger proportion of fat than cocoa preparations. Bitter, sweet, or flavored chocolate is always sold in cakes.     

The fat obtained from cocoa bean is cocoa butter, which gives cocoa its principal nutrient.    

Cocoa and chocolate differ from tea and coffee in as much as they contain nutriment as well as stimulant. Theobromine, the active principle, is almost identical with theine and caffeine in its composition and effects.     

Many people who abstain from the use of tea and coffee find cocoa indispensable. Not only is it valuable for its own nutrient, but for a large amount of milk added to it. Cocoa may be well placed in the dietary of a child after his third year, while chocolate should be avoided as a beverage, but may be given as a confection. Invalids and those of weak digestion can take cocoa where chocolate would prove too rich.

German's Sweet Chocolate

German's Sweet Chocolate © 1916 Walter Baker & Co. Ltd.

Suggestions Relative to the Cooking of Chocolate and Cocoa (By Mrs. Ellen H. Richards of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The flavor of the cocoa bean seems to be almost universally liked, and the use of the various preparations made from it is constantly increasing. From the sweet chocolate with which the traveler now provides himself in all journeys in which the supply of food is doubtful either in quantity or quality, to delicate covering and flavoring of cakes and ices, nearly all kinds of culinary preparations have benefited by the abundance of this favorite substance.

In these forms chocolate is used in a semi-raw state, the bean having been simply roasted at a gentle heat, ground and mixed with sugar, which holds the fat. By varying the quantity of the chocolate to be combined with the ingredients of the cake or ice, an unlimited variety of flavors can be obtained.

In preparing it as a beverage for the table, a mistake has been frequently made in considering chocolate merely as a flavor, an adjunct to the rest of the meal, instead of giving it its due prominence as a real food, containing all the necessary nutritive principles. A cup of chocolate made with sugar and milk is in itself a fair breakfast.

It is the object of all cooking to render raw material more palatable and more nutritious, and therefore more digestible. The cooking of cocoa and chocolate is no exception to this rule. Certain extractive principles are soluble only in water which has reached the boiling point; and the starch, which the seed contains, is swollen only at this temperature.

Chocolate or cocoa is not properly cooked by having boiling water poured over it. It is true that as the whole powder is in suspension and is swallowed, its food material can be assimilated as it is when prepared chocolate is eaten raw; but in order to bring out the full, fine flavor and to secure the most complete digestibility, the preparation, whatever it be, should be subjected to the boiling point for a few minutes. In this, all connoisseurs are agreed.

The making of cocoa and chocolate for drinking is largely a matter of taste, the best of cooks disagree, and their recipes vary; the following recipes, however, give almost universal satisfaction.

Baker's Breakfast Cocoa

Baker's Breakfast Cocoa © 1916 Walter Baker & Co., Ltd.

From the Boston Cooking School Cookbook 1896

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 teaspoons cooking brandy
  • Prepare as Reception Cocoa, and add brandy just before milling


  • 1 1\2 tablespoon prepared cocoa
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • Few grains salt
  • Scald milk. Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt, dilute with one-half cup boiling water to make a smooth paste
  • Add remaining water and boil one minute
  • Turn into scalded milk and beat two minutes, using Dover egg-beater


  • 1 cup cocoa shells
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • Boil shells and water three hours. As the water boils away, it will be necessary to add more.
  • Strain and serve with milk and sugar.
  • By adding one-third cup cocoa nibs, a much more satisfactory drink is obtained.


  • 1/2 cup cracked cocoa
  • 3 pints boiling water
  • Boil cracked cocoa and water two hours
  • Strain, and serve with milk and sugar
  • If cocoa is pounded in a mortar and soaked overnight in three pints water, it will require but one hour's boiling


  • 1 1/2 squares Baker's chocolate
  • Few grains salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups milk
  • Scald milk. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan placed over hot water, add sugar, salt, and gradually boiling water
  • When smooth, place on the range and boil one minute
  • Add to scalded milk, mill, and serve in chocolate cups with whipped cream One and one-half ounces vanilla chocolate may be substituted for Baker's chocolate; being sweetened, less sugar is required.

Caraca's Sweet Chocolate

Caraca's Sweet Chocolate © 1916 Walter Baker & Co., Ltd.


  • (for four cups)
  • 2 squares Baker's Premium No. 1 Chocolate
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups ice-cold milk
  • Melt the chocolate over boiling water; add the sugar, salt, and boiling water and stir until boiling, let boil five or six minutes, then set aside to chill. When ready to serve mix with the milk.
  • One or two tablespoons of vanilla ice-cream may be added to each cup after the chocolate has been poured into it.



  • (for one cup)
  • 2 level teaspoons Baker’s Breakfast Cocoa   
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 6 level teaspoons granulated sugar   
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold milk
  • or three minutes, then set aside to chill. When ready to serve stir in the milk.
  • (for four cups)
  • 1/4 cup Baker's Breakfast Cocoa   
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar   
  • 2 cups ice-cold milk

Stir the cocoa and sugar together; add the boiling water and stir until boiling; let boil two

From the Boston Cooking School Cookbook 1896

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • A few grains salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • Scald milk. Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt, adding enough boiling water to make a smooth paste
  • Add remaining water and boil one minute; pour into scalded milk
  • Heat two minutes, using Dover egg-beater, when froth will form, preventing scum, which is so unsightly; this is known as milling

From the Boston Cooking School Cookbook 1896

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