Cocoa butter, also known as "oil of theobroma," is the fat extracted from the cocoa bean, according to Drugs.com. It is bland in taste but has many uses in and outside of the kitchen. In the kitchen, it is used in making chocolate and gives chocolate confections their smooth texture. Outside of the kitchen, it helps to keep medications in capsule form and is a central ingredient in many cosmetics. Lotions, soaps and shampoo products often feature it as an ingredient, and topical application of it is thought to prevent stretch marks.
Clean the cocoa beans with fresh, cold water to remove unwanted residue and air dry.
Roast the cocoa beans at a temperature between 100 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes. Be sure that the heat is applied evenly among all of the cocoa beans.
Cool the beans quickly to room temperature with a fan to prevent scorching.
Use a hammer to lightly tap the cocoa bean to remove the inner nib--the part of the cocoa bean that is inside the shell--from the outer shell. The outer shells of the beans will already be loosened from roasting.
Place the crushed cocoa beans in a sieve with a bowl underneath. Gently press and shake the cocoa beans so that the nibs fall through the sieve into the bowl below. The shell will be too large to pass through and will remain on top.
Grind the cocoa nib into "cocoa liquor" with a grinder. The heat from the grinder will melt the fat in the nibs, turning the powdery nibs into a liquid.
Extract the cocoa butter from the cocoa liquor by passing it through an extrusion, expeller or screw press for a more commercial grade cocoa butter. Alternatively, strain the liquor through a cotton cloth to filter out the cocoa butter.
To obtain 1 qt. of cocoa butter, you will need about 22 lbs. of cocoa beans.
Sorting the beans according to size when roasting will provide an even roast.
When removing the shell, be sure to avoid crushing the cocoa beans into a powder.
Using an open flame is not advisable when roasting the cocoa beans because the shells are flammable.
Genevieve Gray has been a research scientist and a writer for an internal research newsletter at a nonprofit hospital in Seattle since 2005. She also writes for LIVESTRONG.COM, focusing on nutrition and health-related articles. Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in cellular biology and chemistry and is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience.