I’m just going to come right out and say it. We.Women.Need.Chocolate.
The mood lifting qualities of chocolate cannot be denied. There is simply no such thing as too much chocolate. At least, that’s how I see the world – through chocolate tinted glasses.
Last week, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I began my adventure in chocolate candy making. What began as an experiment ended happily ever after with a blissful box of three varieties of dark chocolate candy.
My next adventure in chocolate candy making led to these two decadent delights:
Raspberry Chocolate Squares and Toffee Bites.
Raspberry Chocolate Squares
The first thing you do is gather about 18 to 20 ounces of chocolate, whether squares or chips. Determine what level of sweetness you really want. Of course, you may have to suffer through several tastings.
You can mix semisweet with unsweetened.
Or try bittersweet mixed with semi sweet.
One of each – how can you go wrong ?
If you’re unsure, here’s my recommendation. Go with the 60% bittersweet chocolate.
It’s da bomb.
Make your choice, then melt as follows: In a microwave safe bowl, melt on high for the first minute, then remove from heat and stir. Continue to microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until most of your chocolate is melted. Keep stirring until it’s all melted (do not overcook) and it looks like this.
Rinse your berries.
Optional: pour into fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.
Blend with 3/4 can of sweetened condensed milk.
Stir, then pour into mold of choice.
I used a flexible mini brownie mold.
Smooth with spatula.
Allow to harden for two hours, then pop out of mold.
Voila ! Your own homemade chocolate raspberry squares.
Delicious. And nutritious.
I’m convinced this counts as one portion of daily fruit.
Because of the sweetened condensed milk, these do not completely harden. They are more like really really dense fudge. A trivial detail to true chocolate lovers.
The Toffee Bites are crazy easy. Simply melt your chocolate as described above, then add half a bag of Heath toffee bits to the melted chocolate.
Pour toffee mixture into candy molds like these – they are found at craft stores or specialty candy supply shops. These I found at Michaels for $1.50 each.
Allow to cool for about two hours, then pop them out of their plastic molds. Smooth any rough edges with a zester.
It’s helpful to wrap your fingers in plastic, whether saran wrap or plastic sandwich bags, since the heat from your fingers will start to melt your chocolates while you file the edges.
Now for the candy boxes – they are a quick assembly with just a few supplies. If you can create labels on your computer with Avery Ink Jet labels, then you can make these.
First, I bought the white candy boxes at the craft store, some seasonal heart doilies, and bright red ribbon on a roll.
I made the labels on my computer (Microsoft Word’s ‘Label’ tab – just input the Avery number then choose your font). I printed them, then trimmed the edges with scalloped scissors.
Steps: 1) Assemble the candy box; 2) Use a glue stick to secure the doily to the top of the box; 3) Measure the amount of ribbon to wrap around box, 4) Trim labels with craft scissors, then 5) Secure ribbon in place around candy box with personalized label.
Distribute to all of your pals.
You’ll have a very happy troop of caffeinated fans. Enjoy !