Picture of Chocolate Extract
Chocolate extract can be added to all sorts of baked goods (like super decadent flourless chocolate cupcakes or a rich chocolate terrine) to add some extra chocolaty oomph. The yummy rich and smooth flavor of chocolate extract goes perfectly alongside vanilla, coffee, and other flavorings, and makes any sweet treat extra delicious (and as an added bonus, it's also awesome in mixed drinks)!

For additional chocolaty goodness, check out these Cookie Spoons and this amazing Chocolate Sourdough Bread!

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Picture of You'll Need. . .
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I like to use a dark chocolate cocoa - dutch processed is suggested)
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jackm182 months ago

Get your free Steam Gift Card at http://getsteamgifts.com/ I recommend this!

belsey2 years ago
This might be a silly question, but what is the advantage of using this when baking (cake or cookies, for example) rather than just using cocoa powder? I can see the advantage when making drinks (although I've made some pretty tasty cocktails with cocoa powder) but for baking it seems like it would just add more steps for similar results. That said I still think it's cool and I'm going to try it out, but I thought you might have an answer before I launched into a full double blind scientific study...
rfakhre belsey5 months ago

My plan (after seeing this) is to make the extract then use it in a cookie recipe. Here's why: it's a choc. chip cookie recipe that calls for instant vanilla pudding (and vanilla extract too) added to the dough. and it turned out great. so now I am gonna switch it up and add choc. instant pudding and choc. extract and use peanut butter chips. and make my own reeces type cookie, still staying true to the textures of the ingredients only changing the flavors. hope it works.

shesparticular (author)  rfakhre5 months ago
Great idea - can't wait to hear how it goes!
is there a substitute for the alcohol?

maybe propylene glycol

sure... you can probably boil the cocoa powder in 200cc of distilled water and let it cool.. Add diethyl ether to the mixture and gently shake, Not to much because you don't want to make an emulsion that's hard to separate. Let rest overnight. Decant the water. The ether/essential oil mixture will be on the top. The ether will contain a very small amount of water, You can remove this by using a desiccant if you wish. Evaporate the ether by using a hot water bath .Ether boils at 34,6c/92.28f. Do this outside in open air and don't smoke while you're doing it. You now have pure essence of cacao. No open flame or heat source. Very dangerous unless you know what you are doing.

shesparticular (author)  AussieAnglerGal2 years ago
Unfortunately alcohol is kind of the basis of this and other extracts. It does cook off when the extract is used though.
thehbird1 year ago


scree2 years ago
A lot of hoopla surrounding the 'necessary' amount of alcohol to extract flavor compounds from the cocoa powder. I'd just like to throw my two cents in about the fact that I love that the water is in the shot glass and the vodka in the not-a-shot glass :)
bgoldberg13 years ago
I wonder if steam distillation would produce similar results.

It certainly would be faster.

If anyone does try making steam distilled cocoa, please post an instructable! Also, please try a few different liquids (water, vodka, everclear) as solvents, and tell us how the taste changes.
chikid684 years ago
I wonder if everclear or some other higher alcohol content liquer would yield a more potent extract .
I know it does when making vanilla extract from vanilla beans so I would assue it does with chocolate as well
Actually, I read an article where they tested this, and they found that 10% more vanillin was extracted at 47.5% ethanol than 95% ethanol. Standard vodka will do better than everclear (for vanilla).

Remember, a lot of the flavor compounds you're extracting are alcohol soluble, but some of them are water soluble. If you don't have enough water, you'll lose out on that flavor.

(Data Source: http://www.reunionfood.co.nz/vanilla-research.htm)
shesparticular (author)  starthorn4 years ago
Thank you so much for that additional info, starthorn! That makes a lot of sense.
shesparticular (author)  chikid684 years ago
Could work - please let me know how it turns out if you try it! I've only ever made vanilla extract with bourbon but higher content booze would likely make the extract more potent.
i will let you know how it turns out although i ay do 2 batches one with vodka and one with everclear to compare results
shesparticular (author)  chikid684 years ago
Sounds great, thanks!
I LOVE This!!!!
shesparticular (author)  lynnejackson4 years ago
Thank you!
I used this, but with dried chipotle peppers instead of cocoa powder, and I used gin instead of vodka. it turned out great, actually.

also, using scotch with vanilla is a really good idea, and goes good in chocolate chip cookies.
so then you didn't do this, you made pepper extract
well, yeah, but same concept. it's an extract, therefore, (almost) same product!
shesparticular (author)  FireLite MS24 years ago
I love doing vanilla extract in bourbon, but I'm sure whiskey would be great also! Awesome suggestion with peppers - that sounds great!
walshlg4 years ago
please never consume everclear or any other extra high potency alcohol. The concentration process uses toxins, like benzene and ether, these are known to cause cancer. Distillation is the only reasonably safe concentrating process used commercially that I've ever run into. You could extract the water with absorbants but I've not seen that for sale.
everclear is higly distilled alcohol nothing more, it is not "pure" there is water. and if higher potency booze yields better extracts then as mentioned before simply do not add water to the mixture. nice instructable, just like the vanilla bean extract one, which brought me here
tkjtkj walshlg4 years ago
I've no idea what 'everclear' is .. Is it some extra-concentrated alcohol? It's impossible to make 100% alcohol by distillation alone: but there are ways of doing so that do not involve adding anything at all to the highest-distilled alcohol , which i think is about 93% :

Im not recommending this for any purpose except for some laboratory use , but: If one puts a 'wide-mouthed' container (ie, a shallow pan) of alcohol into a closed space in which there is also a pan of H2SO4 (ya, sulphuric acid) , the acid will, over time , draw into it any humidity from the air in the enclosure. So that the partial pressure of water in the water-alcohol mixture is now higher and water will move from the mixture into the air, where the highly 'hydroscopic' acid will continue to absorb it. I recall that its possible to obtain very high concentrations of alcohol in such a fashion. Of course, upon storage, the alcohol will begin to suck up H2O from the atmosphere, so tight sealing is a container with little or no 'dead/empty airspace' above the alcohol is necessary.
Sulphur salts are not going to move into the air within the enclosure. Nonetheless, I suggest untrained/unprepared humans keep their sulphuric acid where it should be: in your car's battery!

I only mention this because its totally irrelevant to the 'structable, which is a fine project and well-explained!
Thanks, Shesparticular !
shesparticular (author)  tkjtkj4 years ago
Thanks so much for the info! Personally, I'll just stick to vodka since it works well and is more readily available in my area than Everclear (which also kind of makes me nervous).
Vodka was a good idea (unlike gin) because it is just 35% ethanol and 65% water. On a side note, if you wanted to find out the strength of a drink or any other ethanol diluted mix just use the following formula...
[(% alcohol) x (volume alcohol)] / (volume of final diluted ethanol mix) = (new % ethanol)
shesparticular (author)  firestarter244 years ago
Thanks for the formula, that's very helpful! Personally I wouldn't want to drink this (or any other extracts), as they're best used in things (I think).
everclear is 95% not 100% everclear is not some magic evil liquid. its just rot gut.
Everclear is 190 proof or 95% ethanol in water (same thing). It is the highest concentration of ethanol you can get using regular distillation methods. Most 200 proof or 100% ethanol are used for chemical research. These do contain ~0.01% benzene, ether, or another additive to break past that 95% concentration barrier, and for this reason, SHOULD NOT BE CONSUMED. There are some other ways to get 100% ethanol without the toxic stuff in it, but those methods are rare, very expensive, and used for chemical research that needs absolute purity. Bottom line is that if you buy it outside of a chem lab, distillation was used to make it, don't use any alcohol over 95%, and don't drink straight 95% ethanol.
as far as i have been able to find out it is just distilled.
Pattus4 years ago
Can I ask why there is water and not just the alcohol?
shesparticular (author)  Pattus4 years ago
Thanks for the question! As far as I know, both are used because if only vodka was, the alcohol content would be too high, causing the resulting extract to cook off too quickly when used and evaporate too quickly.
Thanks, I thought maybe there was something in the cocoa insoluble in alcohol.
shesparticular (author)  Pattus4 years ago
Well there's that also, but vodka is 80 proof (40 percent alcohol), so there is already some water present.

Awesome question, thanks!
What final volumes are people getting?

I looked to have about 30-40ml (30ml ~= 1oz) after a day or so filtering.

The mass was fairly solid but moist and I couldn't squeeze much out of it without tearing the paper.

It definitely didn't have another 60mls in it though.
shesparticular (author)  Pattus4 years ago
I ended up with roughly 1 1/2 to 2 ounces.
I think this doesn't make sense, the chocolate aroma will not evaporate along with the alcohol, because if it did, even adding water would not prevent its evaporation, besides, you still get chocolate flavoured food despite it being cooked on high temperatures.

I'd say it's perfectly okay to use just alcohol in the recipe!
shesparticular (author)  jsavinc4 years ago
If you want to use just alcohol, that's totally up to you - it's just been my experience that a 2:1 ratio of vodka to water yields a better extract than one that's alcohol alone. If you try different ratios and find that one is particularly effective, please do let me know!
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