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Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

Bars are such an easy thing to make and serve. Rather than dropping dozens of cookies onto several baking sheets and switching pans in and out of the oven, you can spread the batter into one large pan and bake it in one batch. Once they are done and cool, you just slice and serve. Pieces can be as big or small as you want.

Since I have a ton of baking to do over the next month or so, I have found a few recipes that are less time consuming to mix in with the more complicated desserts. Besides, as it turns out, sometimes the easiest desserts are the most popular! I am really excited about the recipes I will be making over the next several weeks, and I think you will enjoy them as well. This recipe is a good start to the holiday baking season but can be used year round. I was excited when I found it because it uses almond butter as a main ingredient. I haven’t baked with almond butter before, I am more of a die-hard peanut butter lover, but I do enjoy it for variety. This Food &Wine cookbook actually has a ton of great recipes and this recipe for Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Bars is one of the more simple that I found.

cookbook

For a change, I didn’t make any tweaks, and I don’t think it needs any. These crispy and chewy bars would be terrific with a glass of milk, but I’ll be serving them among a selection of many other desserts.

The details to the recipe can be found here.

For this recipe you will need a food processor and just a few ingredients

all ingredients

Side note: the hardest part of making these was getting my food processor down from the back corner of my top kitchen shelf

Chop your nuts and set aside

chopped almonds

 

Then mix up the dough in the food processor (you don’t need to clean it between these steps)

food processor 1

food processor 2

food processor 3

food processor 4

dough 1

Stir in chocolate chips (I used chunks) and chopped almonds.

dough 2

dough 3

Spread it out in your baking pan

dough 4

Bake

done 1

Crispy, chewy, delicious

done 3

done 2

Have you baked with almond butter before?

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Often in the blog world, I find really exciting new foods that are much more expensive than their regular counterparts.  Sometimes I give in, but usually I remind myself that spending $15 plus for nut butter is a little bit insane.   Ahem, unless they come to me as gifts:-) However, there are occasions when I realize I can make the same item myself at a fraction of the cost.

Have you seen these websites where you can build your own chocolate bar?  The companies have all sorts of fun ingredients from dried fruit and nuts to cereals and spices.  I’ve checked out this website and this one too, but the high cost has kept me from ordering anything.  Lucky for me, and you, this is something fairly easy to do on your own!    Here is a very easy recipe for Mix and Match Chocolate Bars.

toppings on choc

Step 1: Pick out your ingredients.

The most important part is to pick a good tasting chocolate.  If the chocolate you start with doesn’t melt in your mouth and give you that rich satisfying flavor, the final result isn’t going to either.  I found Pound Plus 72% Belgium dark chocolate at Trader Joes for just a few dollars!  Note that you could make almost a dozen large chocolate bars for this amount of chocolate!  You could use white or milk chocolate as well.

TJs choc

As for toppings, feel free to use those websites for inspiration.  Go with whatever flavors you like.  I knew I wanted to have contrasting flavors and textures so I went with pretzels and peanuts for a crunchy and salty as well as a selection of dried fruits for chewy, tart and sweet.  You probably only need about 3 cups total of toppings per pound of chocolate.

all ingred

Step 2: Set up your space.

You will need 1 medium pot or microwavable bowl for melting your chocolate and a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper.

For ease of working, you will want to lay out your toppings so that they are easy to access once the chocolate is ready to decorate.

toppings 1 toppings 2

Step 3: Melt the chocolate.

choc in pot

melting choc

If you do this via microwave, take it slow.  Once the chocolate is about 75% melted stir it to eliminate any remaining clumps.

On the stovetop, work with low heat and stir constantly.  Again, remove the pot from heat a little before the chocolate is completely melted and stir the rest.

Step 4: Make your chocolate bar!

Spread the melted chocolate out on parchment paper to be about ¼ inch thick.

choc spread in pan

As soon as it is smoothed out, decorate it with your toppings.  Lightly push the nuts/candies/cereal pieces, etc. into the chocolate so that they will stay when it gets hard.  Imagine what you want to get in one bite and let that be your inspiration for how dense you want your toppings to be.

toppings on choc 2

Once you finish, let the chocolate cool and harden.  Cut bars to desired size.  I actually made mine more like bark because I thought it would be better for serving.

pieces 1

pieces 4

pieces 5

Store finished product in an airtight container (5 days) or refrigerator (up to 2 weeks).

Oh, and buy yourself something nice because you saved money on fancy candy bars!

Notes:

Don’t let the chocolate get wet at any point.  Your chocolate will discolor.

You can customize this recipe to do as much or as little as you want at a time.

This could make a great gift for the holidays .  Use crushed candy cane or ginger snaps for a festive theme.

Mix and Match Chocolate Bars

Ingredients:

1 pound of chocolate of your choice

3 cups of fun toppings

Directions:

Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Layout toppings to be easily accessible.

Melt the chocolate on stovetop or in microwave, being careful not to burn.

Spread the melted chocolate out on parchment paper to be about ¼ inch thick.

As soon as it is smoothed out, decorate it with your toppings.  Lightly push the nuts/candies/cereal pieces, etc. into the chocolate so that they will stay when it gets hard.  Imagine what you want to get in one bite and let that be your inspiration for how dense you want your toppings to be.

Let the chocolate cool and harden.  Cut bars to desired size.

Store finished product in an airtight container (5 days) or refrigerator (up to 2 weeks).

What is an expensive food product that you refuse to buy even though you REALLY REALLY want it?

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