Guest Blogger: Chocri Chocolate on How to Make Your Own Chocolate Bars

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Bars

Making your own chocolate at home has obvious attractions – the smell of melted chocolate, the power over your creation, and not at last the left over chocolate in the forms and on the spoons that just begs to be licked off. But what others like just spells m-e-s-s-y for others, so I’m offering you two ways to create your own chocolate bars in the following: 1) at home and 2) with Chocri Chocolate.

1) Making Chocolate Bars at Home

You need:
* Two or three chocolate bars of a chocolate that you really like. I suggest Lindt or Tcho chocolate
* Anything that you want to mix into or put onto your chocolate bar. Suggestions: M&Ms, Banana Chips, Nuts, Marshmallows, little balls of Marzipan, Sprinkles, Gummy Bears, Granola, you name it.
* If you’re fancy, a molding form – that requires some online ordering or specialty candy supply store shopping. Generally though, you just need a relatively, not too flat form

In theory, you would now temper the chocolate (temper means you expose it to different temperatures in a strict order). However, that’s really tricky to do and really creates a mess because you will need several bowls and you have to keep transferring the chocolate mass from one to the other, so we’ll do the easy version here. If you like, you can also add a very little bit of coconut oil to the mix, which should take care of the blooming (white streaks on the chocolate if it isn’t well tempered).

Now, melt the majority of the chocolate in a bowl that you place over hot water. When the mass is nice and creamy, take it off, and add the rest of the chocolate, which should melt immediately and will cool the chocolate down a bit. Pour the chocolate immediately into the form. When doing that, make sure that you don’t fill as much chocolate in from the start as the form will hold – the chocolate will distribute evenly and fill out the corners even if it doesn’t look like that in the beginning. You will find out how much chocolate you need in the form, but start with little and then increase.

Next, shake the form with small but fast hits against the table, not only for the chocolate to distribute evenly, but also for the air to leave the chocolate. You might even see little bubbles come out of the chocolate. Once it’s evenly distributed, you can mix in your ingredients, or place them beautifully on top of the chocolate bar. That’s the best part! If you’re like me, you’ll find that it isn’t altogether easy to make it look pretty, so don’t fret if it doesn’t look perfect the first time – it will still taste great.

Now place the form with chocolate and ingredients into the refrigerator and let it sit there for 30 minutes. Afterwards, take the form out, cut the borders off and resist the temptation to bite into it immediately before anyone was able to admire your creation!

Chocri Chocolate Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

Now, if this sounds like too much mess and/ or time to you, consider this:

2) Create Your Chocolate Bar Online

Visit Chocri Chocolate and click on “Create a chocolate bar”. Choose a base chocolate (dark, milk ,white or a combination base), and then choose your toppings from a wide variety, spanning across fruit (strawberries anyone?), spices (hm, cinnamon), nuts (pecans!), confections (peanut butter drops), decor (a marzipan rose, so pretty) and grains (coffee and milk chocolate ROCK!).

When you completed your bar, don’t forget to give it a personalized name. It’s not only free, it’s also cute. Add your very own bar to the cart and repeat the process or pick one of our [recommended creations] And then order it and that’s it! We deliver it to your doorstep – without the smell of molten chocolate, but all of the excitement of holding your very own creation in your hands.

We use only fair trade, organic chocolate from Belgium, and our toppings are European quality ingredients. I’m sure you’ll love it! [Try us out!]

Chocri Chocolate's Chocolate Bars

Chocolate Salami, Mario Batali and Chocri Chocolate

Chocri Bars Being Created

Good news!  I heard from Chocri and they DO deliver to the United States.  The website was incorrect!  Yippee!  Order away my curious friends!  Thank you for letting us know.  I was feeling quite sad for us on this side of the pond.  We don’t like to be left out of chocolate sensations!  Thank you Chocri!  Everyone has to let me know what kind of chocolate bar they design for themselves.

Gail Ambrosius Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Well, my post is late today.  Went out to lunch with a friend of mine, first time I’ve gone out to lunch in literally months, and the lunch was sub-par at best.   How disappointing.  I can do much better at home.  The company was good though.  That always helps.  It’s another hot and humid day in Chicago.  We had a bit of rain and it pretty dreary out.  A good day for a nap.  Decided to have one of my Gail Ambrosius Almond Cherry Dark Chocolate bars instead.  Much better than a nap anyway. Gail’s chocolate never disappoints.  Not ever.

Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami!  You think I’ve gone mad, don’t you?  Well, all craziness aside, chocolate salami is a reality.  A fun reality.  I first heard of it when I was doing some research for the Turin Chocolate Festival.  The biggest chocolate festival in the world.  Chocolate salami is very popular in Italy where it is called Salame al Cioccolato. It’s also very popular in Portugal where it is called Salame de Chocolate.  So I’m going to give you two recipes to pick from or you can try both and see which country’s you prefer. These are great to make for gifts over the hoildays or even as hostess gifts through the summer!  It will leave people talking!

The Italian recipe comes from the kitchen of none other than Mario Batali.  I was excited the Food Network still had it on their website.  If you’re doing Italian, you really can’t go wrong following the master’s recipe.  I watched Batali make this on TV and I was mesmerized.  He made it look super easy.  Honestly, it was easy! My niece and nephew who were 4 and 6 at the time made miniature ones for themselves.  It was messy, but fun. Here’s Mario Batali’s recipe…

Salame al Cioccolato (Chocolate Salami)

Serves 12

Ingredients:
1/2 pound butter
4 egg yolks*
1/2 cup fine sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sassolino or other sweet liqueur
1/2 cup biscotti, broken into large pieces
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds

Directions:
Place the butter in a large bowl and soften it with the back of a spoon. Cream the butter, egg yolks and sugar, then blend in the cocoa, the vanilla extract, the liqueur, the biscotti and the almonds. Working quickly to avoid melting the butter, turn the mixture out and form it into the shape of a sausage. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it set in the freezer for 4 hours. Serve slightly thawed, sliced like a salami.

*RAW EGG WARNING
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Mario Batali's Salame al Ciocolato (Photo Courtesy of the Food Network)

The next recipe is from the blog Algarve Buzz.  It’s a fantastic blog devoted to Algarve, Portugal, although it doesn’t seem as if they’ve posted for awhile.  They say that the semi-sweet chocolate, roasted almonds and Port help give this recipe a more balanced sweetness, but if you like your sweets really sweet you can substitute the semi-sweet chocolate with a sweeter dark chocolate. You know my feelings…the darker the better.  Why deal with the guilt?

Chocolate Salami (Salame de Chocolate)

Serves 12

Ingredients:
3 ½ cups good quality dark chocolate (semi-sweet)
4 Egg yolks
2 rolls of Tia Maria cookies
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup roasted sliced almonds
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. Port wine

Instructions:

For the Mixture:
Break cookies in into large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 of Port wine, set aside.
Melt chocolate in microwave or medium bowl using Bain Marie method (Bain Marie: bowl over steam bath, do not let bottom of bowl touch water).

*Note remove chocolate from Bain Marie as soon as it melts, do not let chocolate over heat. If you test the melted chocolate with your finger it should just be warm to the touch. If too hot let cool until warm to the touch. If chocolate is too hot when adding following ingredients, egg yokes could cook producing something resembling chocolate scrambled eggs. So make certain chocolate is melted but just warm to the touch before moving to step 2.

When chocolate has melted, add butter, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and stir well to incorporate. Mixture will start to thicken into a dough like consistency and pull away from bowl.  Add chocolate mixture to broken cookies. Add vanilla, salt, rest of port wine and 1/2 of almonds, mix well until incorporated.

For Molding the Salami:
Lay out a long sheet of wax paper of 28in/70cm length. Roll the mixture onto the wax paper and shape into a salami shape length wise to the paper.
Mixture will be manageable by hand, now you can mold salami to the desired length and thickness. The length and thickness depends on taste, I would suggest somewhere between 7-10cm/3-4in – in diameter. This will enable nice size slices of approximately 3cm/1in, in thickness when done.
Sprinkle remaining almonds around salami and spread out as evenly as possible.

Bring salami to one side of paper and start to roll paper around log gently but firmly, once completely rolled, twist ends and refrigerate flat for at least 2 hours.

Note: Salami will be very firm when cutting slices, so its best to take it out of the refrigerator 20min before serving to facilitate cutting. Entire salami can be cut into slices and refrigerated to make it easier to serve later. Or if entertaining, salami can be presented whole and guests can cut their own slices, just like a real salami.

Chocolate Salami (Salame de Chocolate) (Photo Courtesy of Algarve Buzz)

Sex, Hangovers, Wealth, Gary Vaynerchuk & Chocolate

Did that get your attention of what?  It’s true though!  That’s what we’re going to talk about today…Sex, Hangovers, Wealth, Gary Vaynerchuk and more!  All having to do with chocolate.  Have I gone mad?  No, just found something fun yesterday via Twitter.  This place is called Chocri and you can select from a list of  ingredients to design your own chocolate bar.  How cool is that?  There was a cookie place like that in Austin, Texas.  It was always busy!

Chocri is a German company that started in 2008.  Their chocolate is Fair Trade and made in Belgium.  They donate part of their profits to DIV Kinder which supports children in the Ivory Coast.

Chocri Fair Trade Chocolate

So where does the Sex, Hangover, Wealth and Gary Vaynerchuk come in?  Well, if you have trouble making decisions, they have some ideas already made up for you.  Here’s the basics. ..

Select a type of chocolate: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate or combo of milk and white chocolates.

Select ingredients from a list of over 100 items or have something written on your bar. Ingredients can cause your chocolate bar to be a gourmet chocolate bar or a healthy mess of chocolate candy.  You decide.  Some of the really interesting additions include apple bits, candied lilacs, caraway seeds, chives, cinnamon cornflakes, date bits, fig bits, fennel, flower mix, jalapenos, licorice drops, mango cubes, marzipan carrots, museli, wasabi peanuts, gold flakes and sizzle rocks.  Of course, you can also get herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and additions that you know in the past have also been know to accompany chocolate such as almonds, cashews, cayenne pepper, bacon, goji berries and coffee.  The world is your oyster.  This would be a great gift for someone for either their birthday or for the holidays.  I am always a fan of treating myself too! They also offer quite a few organic options as well which was quite refreshing.

Chocri Bars Being Created

Here are descriptions of some of the recommended chocolate bars:

Pure Sex: Only for 18 and up!! This chocolate bar is Pure Sex. Eating it… feels like pure sex. Giving it to a lady… will lead to it. The ultimate seduction gift, or joyous highlight of your day, wait, week! The cocoa nibs get your juices flowing, the sizzle rocks sizzle it up, and the chili serves the kick in the end. Contains dark chocolate, ground chili, sizzle rocks and cocoa nibs.  Cost is $5.40.

Instant Wealth: This bar makes you instantly wealthy with it’s luscious raspberries and gold flakes. Money will fly at you, and all the world’s riches will be yours! Contains dark chocolate, real gold flakes and raspberries. Cost is $8.00.

Anti-hangover: You don’t believe us? Well, consider it tested and tried: This chocolate bar has everything to make your hangover go away: Milk to soothe the stomach, banana that gives you potassium, which was depleted during drinking. Similarly, salt has magnesium that you now urgently need, and coffee will help you wake up. But don’t forget to drink lots of water, too! Contains milk chocolate, ginger, banana chips, ground coffee beans and fleur de sel. Cost $7.30

The Gary Vaynerchuk Chocolate Bar: You know him already, don’t you? Gary Vaynerchuk is “changing the wine world” with his fun and informal approach to wine. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and speaker on branding and start-ups, and recognized “Innovator of the Year” (by Wine Enthusiast Magazine), so we just had to ask him to create a chocolate bar for SXSW.  SXSW is a great music festival in Austin, Texas.  You have to attend this one year.  Lots of movie stars, musicians and producers attend.  Funny side note.  They have free morning breakfast and concerts at the Four Seasons Hotel to kick the day offfor SXSW.  I was there one morning and Meg Ryan was complaining because of the noise saying she couldn’t sleep.  She was at a music festival where the entire city devoted itself to only that.  It was kind of funny. Contains white chocolate, real gold flakes, roasted peanuts, fig bits and vanilla. Cost is $8.50.

So you get the idea…they have three pages full of ideas if you can’t think of what to make for yourself.  There are a lot of choices, so many options.  Someone have the time to figure out how many options there really are…I’d love to know!

Have I told you the bad news yet?  They only deliver to deliver to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.  I’m so sorry… Maybe a friend can help you out?  Another idea?  Got some money and love chocolate?  Open one in the United States.  You’ll make a ton of money.

Chocri Going on a Trip