Friday, April 4, 2008

Chocolate Milk Powder Day

Van Houten Who?

It seems, many places across the internet have posted April 4, as the day "Casparus van Wooden of Amsterdam, patented chocolate milk powder." Even the very reliable resource, the food timeline calendar, verified it. Now, don't get me wrong, there's an abundance of valuable, reliable information amassed on the internet. It's just sometimes, it resonates like that game telephone kids use to play. By the time the information makes it around the, it changes just a "wee" bit. That may be the case with Chocolate Milk Powder Day and Coenraad van Houten. Let's hit wiki. Surprisingly, wiki didn't have an entry for Casparus van Houten, he is said to have received his patent from Dutch King William I, but it did have information about him listed under his son Coenraad Johannes van Houten or as some websites state. C. J. Van Houten.

Coenraad Johannes van Houten was the son of Casparus van Houten (1770-1858) and Arnoldina Koster. His father Casparus van Houten opened a chocolate factory in Amsterdam in 1815, with a mill turned by laborers. At that time, cocoa beans were ground into a fine mass, which could then be mixed with milk to create a chocolate drink or, with addition of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, made into cookies. However, the high fat content made the chocolate very hard to digest.

In 1828, Casparus van Houten Sr. (and not his son, who is usually credited) patented an inexpensive method for pressing the fat from roasted cacao beans. The center of the bean, known as the "nib," contains an average of 54 percent cocoa butter, which is a natural fat. Van Houten's machine - a hydraulic press - reduced the cocoa butter content by nearly half. This created a "cake" that could be pulverized into cocoa powder, which was to become the basis of all chocolate products. wiki

As you can see from the wiki information above, there is no mention of April 4th as being the date van Houten was granted his patent. I couldn't find a morsel of date verification anywhere not even in my little Van Houten chocolate recipe book pictured. What I did find, at the Van Houten website gave me the confidence to celebrate Chocolate Milk Powder Day today though. You see, it appears that the Van Houten® Chocolate company is celebrating its 180th year anniversary in 2008 and it all began with Casparus van Houten and his "Dutching" mill process. Here's the introduction to the undated Van Houten Chocolate recipe book and below it from thenibble.com website.

Coenraad Johannes Van Houten invented the process of making cocoa powder in 1828. His invention started the amazing development of the cocoa and chocolate industry all over the world into the tremendously important business as we know it nowadays.
Van Houten Process
Before van Houten invented the hydraulic press to press the cocoa butter out of the chocolate liquor (the product of crushed cacao beans), cocoa had been made by boiling and skimming the chocolate liquor to remove the cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor is a misleading term for a thick, gritty paste—a solid mass of ground cacao nibs that only turns liquid when it is heated. It is composed of about half cocoa butter and half cocoa solids—the pure ground product of the roasted cacao beans, and the base for all chocolate products. Instead of boiling and skimming this mass to make hot chocolate, Van Houten’s hydraulic press applied great pressure to the mass to press out most of the cocoa butter. What remains, the press cake, is then pulverized into cocoa powder. nibble

a flavor of romance, as meek as milk

Well, that pretty much sums it up. I'm certainly no chocolate connoisseur, and they say, "if chocolate is your down fall, you might as well enjoy the trip" so I have provided a few exciting places below for you to visit. Before I offer my contributions for Chocolate Milk Powder Day, I would like to share this other website I happened upon in search of van Houten, there's one for van Wooden I want to share also but first, off to the Puzzle Museum. It was a welcome surprise to stumble upon the Puzzle Museum. I had no idea there were so many ancient forms of puzzles. (and many modern as well) I did know many food manufactures used "novel" approaches to advertising their products. After all, I have many advertising promotional cookbooks in my collection. What I didn't know, was, many food manufacturing companies used advertising puzzles as a way of introducing future customers to their products. There was even a customs battle protest by C. J. Van Houten & Sons reported in The New York Times, February 19, 1914. At the Puzzle Museum I found so many amazing "jigsaw" puzzles I just had to leave you with the front page to the website. Look under August 2004 to find the Van Houten puzzle and be sure and come back and let me know what you think, plus, you need to come back for the recipes.

Van Houten Cocoa Recipes

Let's begin with Van Houten's recipe to replace chocolate in recipes:

Replace 1 sq. (1 ounce) sweetened chocolate by 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsp. Van Houten's Cocoa...Replace 1 sq. (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate by 2 tbsp. Van Houten's Cocoa only, or 2 tbsp. Van Houten's Cocoa and 1 to 2 tbsp. butter, margarine or other shortening.

The first recipe I would like to share with you is for "Cold Cocoa." The recipe reads, "In summer always keep a bottle of chocolate syrup handy in the icebox (recipe on page 20). Stir 1-1/2 tablespoonfuls (or more according to taste) into a glass of cold milk. This makes a delightfully refreshing and nourishing drink. Kids love it and so do many grown-ups." The recipe from page 20.

Ice Box Chocolate Syrup
2 cups Van Houten Cocoa
1 qt. water
5 cups sugar
1/4 level tsp. salt, vanilla to flavor
Mix cocoa and sugar together dry. Put salt in water and bring to boiling point. (the use of a double boiler is recommended.) Gradually work in the cocoa-sugar mixture. Bring back to boiling point (stirring constantly to avoid scorching) and boil 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain, put in covered container and cool rapidly. Add vanilla when cool.
For glass of rich chocolate milk, mix 1 part of chocolate syrup to 10 parts of fresh milk. Excellent for children, for an afternoon snack...convenient, economical, and safe. Excellent as a sauce for ice cream, for chocolate sundaes, for topping mousses, gelatin desserts etc.
War Time Suggestion: For chocolate syrups, sugar may be replaced by half sugar and half corn syrup.

I just can't resist adding this suggested "quick snack" before I include Van Houten's detailed recipe for hot cocoa. "Children often suddenly go hungry between meals. Mix 1 rounded teaspoonful of cocoa with 2 rounded teaspoonfuls of sugar. Sprinkle on buttered roll or bread. This is made in a jiffy, it is very tasty and nourishing, and youngsters love it." (ed note: I know a few adults who do everyday:) just with a fancier name) they have chocolate for breakfast.

Van Houten Hot Cocoa
To make one cup, mix a rounded teaspoonful of the cocoa and double the amount of sugar together in the cup dry. Add just sufficient cold milk (or water) to stir into a smooth paste. Pour on milk, heated to boiling point (or boiling water, or milk and water if preferred) and stir vigorously while pouring.
If properly made by this method the cocoa will be frothy. This adds piquancy. The froth should remain until the last drop.
One pound of Van Houten's Cocoa is sufficient to serve three cups a day for a full month.

And what do we need to complete this sweet indulgence? Van Houten Brownies of course!

Van Houten's Nut Brownies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
7 tbsp. (tbs) Van Houten's Cocoa
2 eggs
few grains salt
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped nut meats
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar together. Add cocoa and cream well. Add beaten eggs, then flour and salt, nuts and vanilla. Bake in greased pan in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut in squares. My Note: This recipe is "signed" at the bottom but unfortunately, I can't make out the name. It appears to say F. Rumeary, Chef de Cuisine, Hotel Ambassador, New York City.

There are additional recipes in this booklet that have the signatures of famous chefs which are difficult to decipher so I will only include the hotels. There's a recipe for Van Houten's Cocoa Souffle from the St. Moritz, Van Houten's Devil Food Cake from the Hotel St. Regis, Chocolate Pudding from the Hotel Astor Afternoon Dessert Cookies from the Hotel Pierre and the two recipes I have scanned below. One from Louis Diat from the Hotel Ritz Carlton in New York City. Chef Diat's recipe is for Van Houten's Cream Pudding. The other recipe from the Hotel Plaza (I'm assuming the Plaza Hotel) is for Bavaroise Van Houten which sounds sinfully delicious! If you would like any of the recipes in this booklet, email me or leave a comment and I will be glad to include it. I don't know if anyone has ever been to Barry Callebaut's website but I was quite impressed with his list of "chocolate specialties that are easy to prepare." With names like, Bass in coarse sea salt with bitter chocolate, White chocolate mousse snow with banana liqueur and Spring fresh chocolate drinks, you know they have to be indubitably delicious!

Van Houten Cocoa Recipes
click on any image on this page

Did you see this poem titled In Praise of Cocoa, Cupids, & Nightcaps posted on Valentine's Day. It's cute:)


  • 1. Van Houten® Chocolate Anniversary
  • 2. Tom Chester's Ratings of Chocolate Bars
  • 3. Chocolate Timeline article
  • 4. The Lure of Chocolate
  • 5. The Psychology of Chocolate
  • 6. The Health Benefits of Chocolate
  • 7. The Chocoholics Guide to Chocolate


  1. I never knew about Van Houten. It's amazing the different perceptions one has between childhood and adulthood. I remember thinking that Nestle's Quick was the coolest thing when I was young. That would be what I would call Chocolate Milk Powder. Of course, then you grow up and discover that cocoa powder is a much classier product!

  2. Mmm...and indubitably delicious!

  3. Thanks for including such detailed information. The VanHouten Cocoa Powder can actually credits 'C.J. Van Houten' with the invention of a certain process, but I believe there were actually two inventions of two separate processes which gave us chocolate liqueur, so it could have been both of them. Would like to see the recipe for the pudding and the other sinful sounding dessert.

  4. For the last five years I am doing research on the firm of Van Houten.
    I am an historian from The Netherlands.

    Yours Peter van Dam (1948)

  5. Thank you for visiting Peter, I hope you found something useful in this post.

  6. Do you think I can find this book somewhere?


    1. i hav an original booklet pictured abovr

    2. I have the booklet pictured above it's very old


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