This month I got to make some chocolate for the creative issue of Love East Magazine. It’s the perfect last minute Easter present. I like to put the little delicate chocolates into pretty gift boxes and wrap them with colourful ribbons. It’s rather fun, delicious and you really get to be creative. So much so, that I even thought of stepping into the shoes of Vianne Rocher and open a ‘to die for’ chocolate shop in the German capital 🙂 .
Now, there are different ways of approaching the art of making chocolate. I went for the easiest option first, just using high quality dark organic chocolate bars as a base. It’s more economic and also quite a safe option for the first attempt. I will try the traditional and more challenging way at a later stage. For now, this is perfect to me. I love adding different flavours using a little sea salt, lavender or rose petals and decorating the chocolate with colourful freeze dried fruit, bee pollen or nuts and seeds . I went a bit mad, as you can tell by the picture. It kind of looks like art, doesn’t it? .
As a nutritional therapist I always like to look at the benefits foods can bring and try to consider this in my recipes. The dark chocolate (minimum 75%) in these colorful treats is rich in antioxidants and naturally low in sugar, which makes it easier not to over indulge. The toppings add a range of fibre, minerals, vitamins and some good oils. I really hope you enjoy making them.
With everything good, moderation still is key. I like to have a couple of pieces in the afternoon during the winter months, not so much in the summer. Easter is really kind of the end of my personal chocolate season. For those of you who like a good night sleep, I would not recommend to have any chocolates in the evening, as especially the dark variety is quite high in caffeine.
The best thing about this quick and easy Easter treat is that you don’t need many ingredients for the base. The garnish will take up most of your shopping list, if you went as mad as I did, that is. Any left over garnish can be saved as a porridge topping- delicious.
Ingredients: makes 12-16
2x 80g bars of organic dark (min 75% chocolate)
1 vanilla pod
1/4 Tonka bean- grated (optional)
For the garnish: please find below a selection of different toppings-there are of course many more- the chocolate garnish world is your oyster
2 tbsp pistachios – roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried mango – roughly shopped
2 tsp bee pollen
1 tbsp lavender or rose petals (natural or candied)
2 tbsp toasted coconut flakes- roughly chopped
2 tbsp toasted almond flakes- roughly chopped
2 tbsp of goji berries
3 tbsp freeze dried raspberries
Himalayan or sea salt , a pinch of chili flakes also works a treat
Start with breaking the chocolate bars into small pieces and place them into a glass bowl. Then add the vanilla pot seeds and the grated Tonka bean, if you have one. Melt the chocolate over a water bath. Please make sure the water does not boil. Once the chocolate starts melting take the pot off the hob, and leave the heat of the water to do its job. Whilst the chocolate is slowly melting, carefully stir a few times to combine the vanilla and tonka bean with the melted chocolate.
Tip: If you would like the chocolate to be nice and shiny once it is solid again, you need to use a thermometer and make sure the temperature of the melted chocolate does not exceed 30degrees at any time. Though I tend to make mine without a thermometer and they always turn out nice, as the garnish usually steals the spotlight.
Next prepare a tray, lining it with baking paper and then spoon the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, creating buttons or bigger dollops. I used some cookie stamps, as well as free-styling it. Now you can start adding the toppings to your liking. I tend to sprinkle the salt top last and I do add the more heavy toppings at the beginning, so they can sink into the chocolate and won’t fall off that easily once set. Leave to set in a cool place and keep in an air tight container in the fridge.
If you want to gift the chocolate, layer your gift boxes with white baking paper and place the chocolate inside. Wrapping the box with a pretty ribbon will give it a lovely finish.
Enjoy and Happy Easter.