You'll find vanilla extract in nearly every sweet recipe. However, you pretty much never see any love for chocolate extract! I am here to tell you that this overlooked extract can be your secret weapon in your chocolate baked goods! Homemade Chocolate Extract is easy, delicious, and it makes a fabulous gift!
Lots of folks make Homemade Vanilla Extract, but I want to get Homemade Chocolate Extract on the map! There was a time when I hadn't considered adding chocolate extract to my chocolate sweets. I mean, they *already* taste like chocolate, either from the addition of cocoa powder and/or actual chocolate, right? Then I learned that I was missing out!
Why Use Chocolate Extract?
Chocolate extract doesn't just make your baked goods taste like chocolate. It makes them taste like all the flavors that the cacao *had* (past tense!) before being processed into cocoa powder or chocolate. The depth of flavor that you get with the addition of chocolate extract is just lovely, and for me, was eye-opening!
Why Make Homemade Chocolate Extract?
As with nearly everything homemade, it's just better than the store-bought stuff! You control the ingredients, and you control the depth of flavor through the amount of time you wait before starting to use it. The recipe calls for letting the extract sit for at least three months, but the longer you wait, the more flavorful it will be. I typically use raw cocoa nibs for my extract, but it's also delicious using toasted nibs! (Directions to toast cocoa nibs are included in the recipe!)
Making Chocolate Extract
You really only need three things: cacao nibs, alcohol, and a glass bottle(s)!
- Cacao nibs can be tricky to find. I've never seen them consistently in a grocery store. If you can't find them, you can buy them online here.
- For the alcohol, any quality will do--so no need to break out the expensive stuff! I used vodka, but you could use bourbon or rum if you prefer.
- Note on glass bottles: You'll want to make sure that the bottle is large enough for the nibs and the alcohol. I use 12 oz bottles like these, then transfer the finished extract to smaller, 4 oz bottles like these.
One thing to keep in mind if you're planning to gift the chocolate extract is that a large amount of your bottle's volume will be taken up by the cacao nibs. If you want the bottle to be full when you gift it (after the cacao nibs have been strained out), you'll need to make more than one bottle and then combine them later, or gift the extract in a smaller bottle than you made it in.
How to Use Chocolate Extract
Lastly--but importantly--what can you use chocolate extract in? Think amping up the chocolate flavor in chocolate cake, brownies, or mousse. Add some to your hot chocolate! Add chocolate extract instead of, or in addition to, the vanilla extract in a recipe.
Check out my "Chocolate Dessert Recipes" board on Pinterest, or click the links below to see some of my favorite chocolate recipes!
Cookies & Brownies
Cakes & Cupcakes
- Neapolitan Cake
- High Hat Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream
- Classic Chocolate Cupcakes
- Death by Chocolate Cupcakes
Pies & Tarts
- Cookie Dough Brownie Cheesecake
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Date Caramel
- Peppermint Brownie Cheesecake
I can't wait for you to try Homemade Chocolate Extract for yourself! It really does give your chocolate bakes a little extra oomph--and who doesn't want that? Please let me know all about your chocolatey adventures! Go ahead and leave a rating/comment below, and tag me on Instagram to I can see what you've been up to! 🙂
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(Last updated 9/17/2021)
Homemade Chocolate Extract
- ½ cup cacao nibs, crushed (see note)
- 8 oz vodka, bourbon, or rum
- If you would rather make your extract with raw cocoa nibs, proceed to the next step.If toasting cocoa nibs (see note), preheat oven to 350° F. Spread nibs out on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring every few minutes. Allow the nibs to cool before proceeding to the next step.
- Slightly crush cacao nibs, helping them to release their flavor in the alcohol. Pour crushed cacao nibs in glass bottle (see note).
- Pour alcohol (vodka, bourbon, or rum) over the cacao nibs. Seal bottle and shake slightly.
- Store the bottle in a dark location for at least three months. Occasionally give the bottle a shake or stir (I stir mine with a chopstick). The longer you let the mixture sit, the more flavorful the extract will be.
- Once the extract has sat for at least three months, strain out the cacao nibs. The mixture may be a bit cloudy, but will smell only of alcohol and chocolate. Pour extract back into a glass bottle and store in a dark place until you make something chocolatey!Enjoy!