Homemade chocolate bars with nuts, dried fruits and pistachios

IMG_9055It´s that time of the year again. The Christmas lights are up, Christmas markets all over Germany are open and everybody is getting busy baking cookies, or as we call them Plätzchen. I made my first batch of cookies already but this post is more about the difficult situation I am facing each year: what kind of presents should I get for my loved ones? If you are anything like me, you either have an idea right away or you will be stuck thinking about finding something the whole December. And then get busy at the last possible moment and try to get all the presents two days before Christmas. Well, worry no more, because I got an idea for you. How about homemade chocolate bars?

Since I love to cook, bake and most of all eat, I often resort to homemade things when I need to find presents. Chocolate, candy, cookies or jam, I think it’s great to get creative instead of just buying something. I even made my own Nutella one time, which was a huge hit. But for now, we will stick to chocolate.

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I explained last year how to make your own chocolate bars. You´ll need a thermometer, coverture and patience. The coverture needs to be tempered, which means that it is melted, cooled down and then warmed up again. If you don´t temper your chocolate, it will turn out dull and crumbly, so make sure to get the temperatures right. It sounds more complicated than it is, once you´ve got the hang of it, it´s really not that hard.

I knew right away that one chocolate bar had to taste like Christmas, so I decided to use whole-milk coverture, cinnamon, pine nuts and candied orange peels. The other one is white chocolate with roasted almonds, cranberries and pistachios. Of course you can go ahead and make up your own recipe. Nuts, dried fruit, coconut or gummy bears, go crazy if you like.

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Before you start with the recipe, please read the information about tempering chocolate carefully, (which I wrote down for you here) in order to avoid mistakes.

For the Christmas chocolate:
250 g whole milk coverture
2 tbsp. candied orange peels
2 tbsp. pine nut + more for decoration
1 tbsp. cinnamon

1) Chop the coverture. Roast pine nuts in a pan without oil until they turn brown. Melt the coverture in a bowl set over simmering water that has a temperature of no more than 55°C.
2) As soon as the coverture has reached a temperature of 40-45°C, put the bowl into a pot filled with cold water (with a temperature of max. 25°C) in order for the coverture to cool down to a temperature of 27-28°C.
3) Now, the coverture needs to be heated again. Set the bowl over simmering water with a temperature of no more than 35°C and stir the coverture until it has reached the final temperature of 29-30°C. Once it has reached that temperature add pine nuts, candied orange peels and cinnamon and fill the chocolate into their molds. Decorate with more nuts and candied orange peels and place in the refrigerator on top of a cutting board for five minutes. Afterwards, let the chocolate cool and harden at room temperature.

For the white chocolate:

250 g white coverture
2 tbsp. chopped almonds
Cranberries and pistachios for decoration

1) Chop the coverture. Roast almonds in a pan until golden brown.
2) Melt and temper coverture according to the right temperatures. (Melt at 40 – 45°, let cool to 26 – 27°C and reheat to 28 – 29°C).
3) Add almonds and fill chocolate into molds. Decorate with cranberries and pistachios.

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