Monday, March 2, 2015

Instant Cocoa -- Broma, Soluble Chocolate and Racahaut

By 1845 there were several 'mixes' to prepare hot chocolate.  Fry's Broma and Soluble Chocolate required no boiling or milling to keep dissolved.  Ads for Baker's cocoa stressed that it could be made in 1 minute at the table. 

Early chocolate had to be boiled then mixed in a chocolate pot with a molinillo, (more HERE), but in 1828 a Dutchman created a chocolate press which removed half of the fat/cocoa butter so cocoa powder could be made, and it meant less separation of the chocolate and liquid when mixed.  Broma and Racahout mixtures had cocoa powder or grated chocolate combined with rice flour, arrow root, (or sago or other fillers), so it was soluble in boiling milk or water.   The drinks were promoted as healthier, perfect for the sick (in 'Invalid' sections of cookbooks) and for those who found chocolate too rich.

An 1842 description of Racahout des Arabes stated that it "has been puffed into notice, and is sold at a high price, is nothing more than a mixture of chocolate powder and arrowroot."  Merle conceded it's convenience for travelers by simply pouring boiling water or milk in it, but felt boiling improved the flavor.

Broma - the name was taken from the scientific term for chocolate -  'Theobroma cacao' (food of the gods) was half cocoa powder and half filler:  “This consists of about 8 ounces of pure cocoa, 3 oz of sugar, and 4 oz of sago meal, arrow-root...”  The Druggist's General Receipt Book by Henry Beasley, 1886

Racahout des Arabes had a smaller proportion of chocolate than Broma.  Originally “a preparation of acorns...but it is imitated by the following…Chocolate in powder 1 oz., rice flour 3 oz., sugar 9 oz., potato arrow-root 3 oz., vanilla…” or other ingredients.  The Druggist's General Receipt Book by Henry Beasley, 1886

Home-made recipes -
In addition to purchasing the mixtures, there were recipes in cookbooks to make Rac-a-haut, an early one is in Ellizabeth Ellicott Lea's Domestic Cookery. 1846. That recipe (below) has equal proportions of chocolate and rice flour (for thickening), a little arrow root (for smoothness), with sugar added at the table.

Modern interpretation:  A later recipe (in the photo and below) from Mrs. B.C. Howard, also of Maryland makes a nice mix.  To make about 1 cup of mix (about 35 t)- 1 oz chocolate (grated on a micro-plane) to 2 oz rice flour (dissolved with a little milk), 1 oz sugar and 1/2 t arrowroot.  Spoon 1 t for each cup of milk.  To prepare a drink add boiling milk to mixture diluted with milk, and then boil again until the ground rice is soft and incorporated.  Pour through a sieve (to remove any 'skin') into cups or a pot.  Some recipes suggested adding vanilla.

Racahaut.  Howard's Fifty years in a Maryland Kitchen.  Baltimore: 1873
One pound of rice flour, half a pound of chocolate grated fine, two table-spoonfuls of arrow-root, half a pound of powdered sugar. Mix all well together, and make with milk as you would chocolate.
To a quart of milk four dessert-spoonfuls of the mixture. Mix it like starch in a little water, and pour the boiling milk upon it. Then put it on the fire and boil it well.

A New Mode of Preparing Chocolate, Lea's Domestic Cookery. Baltimore: 1846  
Have a pound of chocolate pulverized, and put in a jar, with the same quantity of rice flour, and an ounce of arrow root; put on coals a quart of milk; when it boils, stir in a heaped table-spoonful of the above preparation, (dissolved in a tea-cup of water;) keep stirring it until it boils again, when pour it out; drink it with sugar and cream to your taste.
This is called by some Rac-a-haut chocolate, and is very nice for delicate persons, as well as those in health.

Baker's Chocolate powder mixes
Racahout des Arabes.
Dissolve two tablespoonfuls of Racahout in a little cold milk. Heat gradually a quart of milk to boiling; add the above and let it boil (stirring meanwhile) until it begins to thicken. To enrich for dessert, add two eggs to the mixture before putting it into the boiling milk. Strain the whole when cooked.

Baker's Broma
In 1-2 lb. packages (tin),
Is a preparation of pure cocoa and other highly nutritious substances, pleasantly flavored and sweetened. It contains a large proportion of theobromine, and possesses powerful restorative qualities. Its delicacy of flavor and perfect solubility have made it a favorite drink among thousands.
Cocoa and Chocolate: A Short History of Their Production and Use, by James McKellar Bugbee.  Boston: 1886

Fry's Chocolate mixes
From the year 1728, when our manufactory was established, until 1822, Churchman's Patent and other Cake Chocolates, and Fry's Patent Cocoa, were chiefly used. ...Fry's Chocolate Powder, Chocolate or Cocoa Paste, Soluble Chocolate, and Broma, all of which are soluble, by the addition of boiling water, and require neither boiling nor milling, have subsequently been much used.   ...a cup of Chocolate or Cocoa may be made in one minute at the table.
Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry  1851 ad

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
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