It’s that time of year when I find myself perusing recipe and craft books for gift ideas for family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Today, I picked up Hand-Crafted Candy Bars by Susie Norris and Susan Heeger and found myself wanting to make nearly every recipe in the book. My friends and family may just be the lucky recipients (if I don’t eat them all myself) of Over the Moon chocolate bars, Molten-Chocolate Peanut Bars, or Dark Chocolate-Dipped Almond Coconut Bars (recipe below). Everything in this book looks delicious, check it out for some great hand-made gift ideas.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Almond Coconut Bars
1 cup whole almonds
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 batch Tempered Dark Chocolate
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Preheat the oven to 35o degrees . Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Place the almonds on one baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are aromatic and lightly brown.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the sifted powdered sugar and cream with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until you have a paste. Stir in the coconut and salt. Shape into 2-in firmly packed logs, each with a slightly flattened top, and put the logs on the second baking sheet. Put 2 almonds on top of each log and push them gently but firmly into the coconut mixture. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the logs from the refrigerator. Have the tempered chocolate at 90 degrees. Dip each log into the chocolate. Use two dinner forks or chocolate dipping forks to fish the log out. Shake the logs carefully with the forks until excess chocolate drips off, then slide them onto the baking sheet originally used to toast the nuts, after brushing it off or relining with parchment paper. Using a sifter or tea strainer, dust each bar with a little cocoa powder while the chocolate is still moist. Let the chocolate set at room temperature (a rotary fan aimed toward the bars speeds this up) or refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Once the chocolate sets, serve the bars at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container, a zip-top plastic bag, or plastic wrap at room temperature for up o 3 days, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for two months.
Tempered Dark Chocolate
3 cups ice
3 cups chopped high-quality dark chocolate
1. Put the ice in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Reserve a handful of the chopped chocolate, and melt the rest gently in a stainless-steel bow set over simmering water until it reaches 150 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a dry cloth to prevent water from splashing onto the work space.
3. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate into the melted chocolate and stir. Cool the chocolate by placing over the bowl of ice for a few seconds at a time, removing it, stirring until smooth, and repeating until the temperature drops to 82 degrees.
4. Heat the chocolate again by placing the chocolate bowl back over the simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Once its temperature rises to 90 degrees, the chocolate is ready to use in candy-bar production.