One Word Photo Challenge: (More) Chocolate

"The Forest Floor" chocolate cookies

“The Forest Floor” chocolate cookies

In my world, “chocolate” means just that… chocolate!

I grew up the daughter of a “choco-holic” and learned early that an easy way to please my dad was to make him something with chocolate in it… the more, and the darker, the better.

So here are two variations on an  autumn treat which I’m calling, “The Forest Floor.”

I hope you will try it out this weekend.  If you like it, it might make a fast and easy addition to your holiday spread next weekend as we celebrate Samhain and Halloween.

October 23, 2014 chocolate 002

Spread out a cup of coconut, a half cup of sliced or slivered almonds, and a half  cup of chopped walnuts or pecans on a baking sheet.    Toast in a medium oven for a few minutes until they are fragrant and lightly browned.  Chop some dried cherries into small bits.   Prepare about a quarter to a half cup of dried fruit.  Chopped apricots, raisins or cran-raisins would also work well.

 

This tempered chocolate looks lumpy because the coconut, cherries, and nuts have been stirred in and coated in chocolate.

This tempered chocolate looks lumpy because the coconut, cherries, and nuts have been stirred in and coated in chocolate.

We begin by melting the chocolate. 

If you’ve worked much with chocolate you probably already know that you must keep water away from it as you melt and temper it.  That is why I prefer the microwave melting method to the double boiler method.  Too often the steam from my double boiler affected the melting chocolate and it “seized up” on me.

No worries, seized chocolate still tastes just fine.  It just doesn’t have the proper consistency for serious candy making.

Select a good quality chocolate, milk or dark, and place 10 to 12 oz. in a glass bowl or large measuring cup.

Microwave on “high” for 30 seconds, and stir.  Continue to microwave the chocolate, 15 to 20 seconds at a time, until it stirs smoothly.  Add 2 TB of real butter near the end of this process.  I also added 1/2 tsp. of good ground cinnamon to the chocolate with the butter for a richer flavor.

Stir the chocolate vigorously for a minute or two to temper it.  I use a rubber spatula to keep the chocolate neatly off the sides of the bowl.  Tempering gives the finished chocolate a smooth, crisp texture and clear color.  It hardens better when well tempered.

Stir a quarter of your coconut, fruit, and nuts into the chocolate as you finish the tempering.

Pour the tempered chocolate into a shallow mold, and tip with more coconut, nuts, and chopped dried fruit.  This milk chocolate is ready to chill.

Pour the tempered chocolate into a shallow mold, and top with more coconut, nuts, and chopped dried fruit. This milk chocolate candy is ready to chill.

The first preparation gives you a solid candy bar.

I used a shallow aluminum pan, left from some delicious frozen something from Trader Joe’s.  Use any shallow mold you have on hand.

Spread the chocolate fairly evenly in the mold.  Top with a generous sprinkle of toasted coconut, nuts, and fruit.

Use the spatula to gently push the toppings into solid contact with the chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap or slip the mold into a large zip-lock bag, and place the chocolate in the freezer for 10 minutes or the refrigerator for 30.

October 23, 2014 chocolate 009

When solid, cut into small servings.  Once hardened, this can be stored on the counter in an air tight container.

The second preparation is a bit crunchier and a bit less intense.  It also uses less chocolate for those watching either calories or pennies.

October 23, 2014 chocolate 001

Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and lay out a dozen graham crackers.

Melt and temper 10 to 12 oz. of  chocolate, adding cinnamon, coconut, nuts, and dried fruit at the end of tempering.  I used Hershey’s Special Dark baking morsels because my Dad loves Special Dark above all other chocolate.  Yes, these are going to be a gift for him.

October 23, 2014 chocolate 006

Divide the chocolate evenly between the crackers, dropping a large spoonful on each.

Spread the chocolate evenly on each cracker with your spatula or a small knife.  Sprinkle more nuts, coconut  and dried fruit on top.  I added chopped pistachios to mine, and finished with a light grinding of sea salt.

Oh, the salt makes all the difference!

 

October 23, 2014 chocolate 007

Cover the tray with plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30.  When the chocolate is hard, lift the crackers with a broad spatula and cut or break them into serving sized pieces.

October 23, 2014 chocolate 021

“The Forest Floor” chocolate cookies

 

These will keep in an air tight container longer than it will take you to eat them!

I hope these “Forest Floor” chocolate candies and cookies make it into your holiday menu, and that your friends and family enjoy eating them as much as you enjoy making them!

 

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

and her One Word Photo Challenge:  Chocolate

"The Forest Floor" chocolate cookies

Recipes  and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

14 responses to “One Word Photo Challenge: (More) Chocolate

  1. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Scarlet | Jennifer Nichole Wells

  2. Ohhhh….those look amazing! I’m thinking the top one would make good Christmas gifts in a homemade food hamper. Have you ever tried cutting them out into shapes with cookie cutters, or does it chill rock solid and just crack? Random shapes would look good too, I am just wondering…

    • Hi Jenny,

      I haven’t tried cutting them out, but I made peppermint bark IN cookie cutters a few years ago. Pour the warm chocolate into the cutter (on parchment paper), smooth, sprinkle the toppings, and chill. You give the cutter with the chocolate, packaged in one of those little clear plastic bags. They make nice gifts, especially for children or teens. You could also pour them into bar sized candy molds, and pop them out when hard. There are some great silicon molds on the market that release the chilled chocolate easily. Hope you enjoy them 😉 Thank you for visiting Forest Garden today, WG

  3. Thanks for this recipe. It looks pretty easy (important for me!) and I think it would be great for gift giving around the holidays. I’m drooling. 😉

  4. This sounds and looks so good! 🙂

  5. Sounds and looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. ….MMM I am drooling, love this recipe, looks delicious. I love chocolate especially dark chocolate! 🙂 I am going to have to try your recipe! If I lived near you I would be visiting you today!!!!

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