Panela Dark Milk Chocolate 62%

A dark milk chooclate made with unrefined panela sugar. This recipe was originally produced by Damson Chocolate as Colombia Meta Panela Dark Milk.
Dom Ramsey / Damson Chocolate
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
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Last Updated
22 June 2020

Damson Chocolate


  • 43.5% Cocoa Nibs
  • 18.5% Cocoa butter
  • 12% Whole Milk Powder
  • 25.5% Panela Sugar
  • 0.5% Sunflower Lecithin

Technical Information

  • Roast: Standard (20 minutes @ 120°C)
  • Grind / Conch time:  Standard (24 hours for 3kg Premier grinders, 72 hours for 30kg CocoaTown melangers)


  1. If necessary, pre-process the panela sugar into a fine powder. See notes for more details
  2. Sort and roast beans.
  3. After cooling, break and winnow.
  4. Slowly add nibs to heated melanger.
  5. Add pre-melted cocoa butter. This can be added in parallel with the cocoa nibs to help speed the process.
  6. Slowly add the milk powder and panela. Give the melanger a few minutes to refine the powdered ingredients before adding more, so it doesn’t become too thick and unwworkable.
  7. Allow to grind / conch for prescribed time.
  8. One hour before the end of the cycle, add the lecithin.
  9. Pour into containers and allow to set.
  10. Temper as per the milk chocolate settings on your tempering machine.


Panela is an unrefined sugar cane juice common in Central and South America. It has a deep, molasses / caramel flavour that adds an exciting depth of flavour to the finished chocolate. Panela isdehydrated and formed into blocks. It is commonly sold both in block form and pre-ground into a powder.

For chocolate making, we need the powder, so it’s best to source it already in this form if possible. If you can only find blocks of panela, you can process it into powder in a powerful blender.

You may also find that there is still some moisture in your panela which will adversely affect your chocolate. If this is the case, you can spread the ground panela onto a metal tray and gently dry it in a very low oven prior to making your chocolate.

When adding panela to your chocolate, start slowly as it may not behave like regular processed cane sugar. Give any larger lumps time to refine before adding more, so as not to add undue stress to your melanger.

There are a wide range of milk powders available on the market, and we usually recommend going with a locally sourced product. Generally full fat cows milk will produce the best flavour.

Not all cacao origins work well as a milk chocolate, so some experimentation may be required to find cacao with a flavour profile that works well with the creaminess of the milk powder. For example, beans with floral or earthy notes may work better than those with higher acidity. The original chocolate to use this recipe was made with Colombian cacao from the Meta region which had unusual banana flavour notes. When combined with the panela and milk, the the flavour of the finished chocolate strongly resembled banana milkshake.

We like to use Sunflower Lecithin in our chocolate as this can also have a significant impact on viscosity and make moulding much easier. We use it in preference to Soy Lecithin which some people have allergies to. Again, if your chocolate flows readily you may want to omit this entirely and increase the nib content.


Creative Commons Licence
Panela Dark Milk Chocolate 62% by XTC Chocolate is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
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