Making Your Own Cocoa Butter Colours

Here’s a quenelle mould with a blend of orange, yellow and green.

My motivation for making my own cocoa butter: I used to buy coloured cocoa butter, but in addition to the price of each colour, I’d often end up having to pay a cost associated with shipping and customs, increasing the average price per bottle. To bring down the price, I would end up getting a few more bottles, which I likely did not need in the first place. The other issue with buying coloured cocoa butter is that most companies offer the same range of colours, so if you want something different you’ll have to mix your own colours anyways…So why not just start with primary colours and mix small batches?

To make your own cocoa butter colour: The easiest way is to start by melting cocoa butter to 45-50°C. Next, add 5-10% fat dispersible pigment (depending on colour and concentration you need), blend with immersion blender, and then crystallize it. In the video below, I start off with 400g of cocoa butter in a plastic litre container. I slowly melt it over a pot of warm water until it reaches 45-50°C. Once it reaches this temperature range, I add my pigment and another 200g of cocoa butter (basically the seeding method). After this, I blend my cocoa butter with an immersion blender. Once it is thoroughly blended, with any luck, I should be within the target temperature range of 29-30°C. I then either let it crystallize at room temperature or place it in the refrigerator for roughly 10 minutes.

To use the cocoa butter colour: I’ve seen many chefs reheat their cocoa butter colour in different ways. You can crystallize it in the microwave; you can melt it and then put it in a piping bag and roll it back and forth on marble/granite; you can crystallize it directly on marble; you can heat it up and shock it by putting the container in an ice bath. All of these methods work, you just `1need to figure out what approach is best for you in your given situation/working environment. For myself, I tend use a variation on the seeding method as follows: I heat the whole cocoa butter container slightly in a bain marie, melting part but not all of the cocoa butter inside. I then agitate the container by swirling the melted cocoa butter around and use the unmelted cocoa butter (that is already crystallized) to get the melted cocoa butter to the correct working temperature range. The main point is that you are going to use it at 29-30°C.

Here’s a video on how to make your own cocoa butter.

As I have mentioned before, I usually start with the primary colours and blend them with the help of a colour wheel for reference. I experiment by mixing small quantities first. *** Make sure you keep a note/log of everything so you are able to duplicate it. A scale that measures to a fraction of a gram helps too.

A colour wheel that can be useful for mixing different colours of cocoa butter.
To make black: 300 g cocoa butter, 16g blue #2, 8g red, 4g yellow
This year’s Valentine’s hearts. I start with white and red, and make a few different pinks by mixing 10% white & 90% red, 50% white & 50% red, and 90% white & 10% red. You get the idea.

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