Making 18th Century Chocolate Cream

We are a part of of Food and Literature class at the University of Texas at Arlington. transcribe recipes from an early eighteenth century cookbook (Folger W.a. 87); which means reading someone else’s handwriting (easier said than done).  And then we were tasked with making one of the recipes and writing about it for this blog. Figuring out this recipe proved to be an interesting endeavor, since there are no real modern measurements (1 cup, 2 teaspoons, etc.) provided, but it’s chocolate cream — nothing can be better than chocolate cream!

Transcription (in original spelling):

Boill a quart of cream till itt begins to be thick then putt

in 4 Sponfulls of sifted Chocolate and giv itt six boilings up

then strain itt through Tiffany, set itt open the fire a gain

an when ready to boill putt in the Yolks of 2 eggs beathen

with a Little orange flower water stir itt over the fire to thi…

ken butt boill itt not then take itt of and when almost

cold putt itt in a bason or glasses then take some cream with

a little white wine and sugar and whisk itt in a froth and

and put it on the Chocolate Cream and whith a little of the

Chocolate and putt th ffroth of it up and down amongst

the white froth and to serve itt up

Here is our modern translation and how we made the recipe;

  1. Boil 4 cups of heavy whipping cream in a pot on medium heat. Stir the cream every so often as it boils and begins to thicken.
  2. While the cream is boiling, finely grate about 4 teaspoons of milk chocolate onto a plate.
  3. Once the boiling cream thickens slightly, add the grated chocolate into the hot cream and stir slowly until it melts through.
  4. When all of the chocolate has melted into the cream, take the pot off of the heat until the cream is no longer bubbling. Stir the cream again, and put it back onto the heat until it boils. Repeat this process 5 more times, making sure to stir the chocolate cream every so often.
  5. Once the chocolate cream has been boiled 6 times, strain it through a metal strainer (although plastic is fine, as long as it won’t melt under the heat) and put it back into the pot.
  6. Add the pot back to the stove on medium-low heat and stir occasionally, making sure not to boil the chocolate cream.
  7. As the chocolate cream is rewarming on the stove, take the yolks of 2 eggs and beat them together in a separate bowl with a splash of vanilla extract.
  8. Once the chocolate cream is near boiling, slowly add the egg yolk mixture into the cream while stirring continuously. Continue to stir briefly after all of the yolks have been added to ensure that the egg does not cook inside the cream. Make sure that the chocolate cream does not boil.
  9. Take the pot off of the stove and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. As the chocolate cream is cooling, make the froth. In a bowl, add together ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream, 3 teaspoons of white wine, and ½ cup of granulated white sugar.
  11. Whisk them together until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches the ribbon stage, meaning that when the whisk is lifted over the mixture the froth falls slowly from the whisk and creates a ribbon on the surface which slowly dissipates.
  12. Once the chocolate cream has cooled and the froth has been made, divide the chocolate cream into separate glass jars (or whatever glass containers you wish to serve it in). Spoon the white froth in a thin layer on top of the chocolate cream, and either eat immediately or refrigerate for 2-8 hours. Enjoy!

The Recipe in Film:

Part 1 of 8:

Part 2 of 8:–g4uXZDQ6s

Part 3 of 8:

Part 4 of 8:

Part 5 of 8:

Part 6 of 8:

Part 7 of 8:

Part 8 of 8:

Even in the 18th century, chocolate was HUGE! The history of chocolate is a vast story that got its start when Spain first travelled to America. But the chocolate of that time was very different than what was used in this recipe.

A short history of chocolate :

From Cacao to Cocoa: A Short History of Chocolate in Britain by Finlay Greig

            Cocoa was first brought to Europe in the early 1500s when Christopher Columbus first  it back from the Americas to Spain; however it would be over a century later before it made its way to London. Britons first encountered cacao beans in 1579 when English pirates attacked a Spanish ship carrying goods; amongst these goods were cacao beans. The English pirates mistook the beans for “sheep droppings” and set fire to the ship. It would be nearly 80 years later until the New World product made its way back to Britain.

           In 1657, the first “Chocolate House” developed in London, operated by a Frenchman, where chocolate drinks were sold ready-made and available to drink in-house, or unmade and could be taken and prepared at home. Chocolate Houses caught on and became similar to pubs; however, the chocolatey drink was considered a luxury and the patrons of these establishments were rich and rowdy men. Francis White, owner of White’s Chocolate House, is credited as the first person to open a chocolate house in London.

“In Bishopgate St, in Queen’s Head Alley, at a Frenchman’s house, is an excellent West Indian drink called Chocolate to be sold, where you may have it ready at any time and also unmade at reasonable rates.”

            As chocolate drinks caught on, plantations were developed in the West Indies to produce more cacao beans to be brought back to London and sold by the pound. Over the next few years, the English would incorporate the cocoa powder into different recipes, like sauces and creams, but it would not be until the 1900s when the first chocolate bar would be made. Like the Spanish merchant ship carrying “sheep droppings”, chocolate spread like fire throughout England, and remains a significant part of British diet.



In Review:


This proved to be an interesting endeavor. For one thing, the recipe actually came out well; despite not having modern measurements. Our project was also a learning experience, mainly reading and understanding someone’s handwriting from several hundred years ago. But the experience was and is for educational purposes. Thanks for joining us on this fun cooking adventure!

-The Chocolate Crew

Alethia Nason, Ariel Robinson, Calvin Johnson, Emily Rogers, & Hannah Su

University of Texas, Arlington, Students of Dr. Amy Tigner

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