Lately, I have been reevaluating my spending. Upon reflection I found that my chocolate bar habit was up to about $90 a month! I like high quality dark (70 – 90%) chocolate. Some might even go as far as to say I self-medicate. I adhere to the theory that chocolate is an essential anti-oxidant – vital for good health.
In any case, I realized that by purchasing my chocolate from the local bulk food store – By the Pound – I could get Callebaut chocolate for between $5.99 and $6.99 per pound. My usual chocolate bar costs approximately $3 for a 3.5 ounce bar. So, I was paying about $13.70 per pound for chocolate. After some fancy math we can then conclude that by making my own chocolate bars I could cut my chocolate bar expense in half, down to $42.70 per month. And yes – I know I could just eat less chocolate.
The bulk chocolate comes in unsweetened, 52% and 60% cocoa. So if you want a 70 – 80% dark chocolate just mix roughly half unsweetened and half 52% or 60% to get your desired cocoa content – experiment with different ratios. I use a brownie baking pan that has dividers in order to make the bars come out reasonably rectangular, but you could also purchase candy bar molds.
DIY Chocolate Bars
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 ounces 52 or 60% dark chocolate, chopped
1/8 cup roasted almonds, chopped (optional)
8″square brownie pan lined with parchment paper, separator removed.
Mix the chocolate pieces and place about half of them into a metal bowl. Place the bowl above a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted remove the bowl from the water and place it on a folded towel on the counter. Add the remaining chocolate and stir with a spatula until it is smooth. If it does not all melt completely return the bowl to the pan of simmering water for a minute or so and then continue to stir. Use the spatula to spread the chocolate out in the bowl to help it cool and to incorporate the not yet melted pieces.
Once the chocolate is all melted and has cooled down pour it into the parchment lined brownie pan and spread it out to the edges. Sprinkle the almonds over the top and press down slightly. Then shake the pan just a bit to smooth it out. Next place the separator into the pan and make sure it is firmly pushed into the bottom.
Set the pan aside for several hours in a cool place. Once the bars have set up, lift the separator gently, many of the chocolate bars will probably stick to it. Carefully remove them one by one.
If your chocolate bars have streaks when they finally are cooled then your chocolate was likely too warm when it went into the pan. Next time melt less chocolate over the simmering water and add more chocolate chunks after the chocolate comes off the heat, melting them with only the heat remaining in the bowl.
I like to store the chocolate bars loosely wrapped in parchment paper inside of reclosable plastic bags. Keep them in a cool place.
Remember Baking Pure and Simple has many more ways to get crazy in your kitchen…