So today, I'm going to share a recipe with you. I'm going to show you how to make your own chocolate bars that taste much better and fresher than anything you can find in the store and you can put in whatever ingredients you want.
I use a ratio of about 2 parts chocolate to 1 part extra ingredients. I like nuts, so I add a lot. You can adjust up or down according to taste.
For the chocolate, find the best chocolate wafers you can. I recommend buying organic, fair trade, dark chocolate wafers with 70% or greater cocoa. (No, this recipe won't save you money over buying fancy chocolate bars, it just tastes amazing.)
For the extra ingredients I recommend a mix of nuts (almonds, pecans, etc.) & fruit (dried cherries, bananas, coconut, etc.), about twice as much nuts as fruit. If you're nut allergic, consider adding a pinch of spice, like cinnamon or cayenne for accent and a small amount of fruit.
Toast the Nuts
If you're using nuts, you'll want to lightly toast them first because it makes them taste SO much better. Spread the nuts in a nice even layer on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes at 350 F. (If you're using coconut flakes you'll want to toast those about 5 minutes.)
There are two ways to melt the chocolate using a microwave or a double-boiler.
The Microwave Method
Put the chocolate wafers in a glass bowl and put them in the microwave. If you're lucky enough to have a microwave with a melt setting, it probably has a chocolate option and you can enter the oz. If not, try a low power setting (10-30%) and cook for a minute at a time. Check and stir until melted.
I don't recommend using this method for more than 12 oz. It takes way too long and there's a risk of overheating the chocolate. If you're melting more than 6 oz., start with 6 oz. and get it melted first, then add 3 oz. melt, then add another 3 oz.
If you have a double-boiler, use it! If you don't have one, you can make one easily. You just need a pot and bowl that fits into it. Fill the pot with several inches of water and heat the water. The boiling steamy water will melt the chocolate on top in the bowl. Again, stir as needed to mix the chocolate.
Water is the Enemy of Chocolate
Apparently water makes chocolate "seize". I'm not sure about chocolate seizures, but water does ruin the consistency - so make sure your containers are dry and that your double-boiler does not allow water in your chocolate.
Score & Serve
Unless you're using chocolate molds, you'll want to score the chocolate to make it easier to break into pieces. I use a butter knife for scoring, then gently press the knife into the chocolate to perforate it and begin the breaking process. The rest I do by hand, using the parchment to prevent it from melting too much on my hands.
- 12 oz. dark chocolate wafers
- 2/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- Coarse sea salt (optional)
- Spread the nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes at 350 F.
- Gently melt the chocolate using a microwave or a double-boiler.
- Spread parchment paper in a 9"x13" pan, then pour in the melted chocolate.
- Add the fruit & nuts and stir to mix.
- Sprinkle the top with a pinch of coarse sea salt.
- Cover the pan and cool overnight in the refrigerator.
- Score the chocolate, then break into bite-size pieces.
Best served at room temperature. Can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.