CHOCOLATE: Homemade Designer Chocolates

Chocolate tastes WONDERFUL and is GOOD for you — dark (70% or more cocoa) chocolate, in small quantities, that is.

While a chocolate bar with 70% or more cocoa contains lots healthful anti-cancer substances, it also contains saturated fat and sugar – unfortunately.

So…the challenge I gave myself was to figure out how to enrich a 70% cocoa chocolate bar with more cocoa — without creating a bitter or grainy chocolate. With the help of a few enthusiastic German exchange students who happened to be visiting, we came up with some DELICIOUS designer chocolates!

In fact, I think that these chocolates are so good that I plan to give small boxes of assorted Homemade Designer Chocolates for holiday gifts this year (pretty boxes lined with wax or parchment paper and filled with a layer — or a few layers — of assorted Homemade Designer Chocolates)!

HOMEMADE DESIGNER CHOCOLATES

Nutrition and health tip: As with any food that contains sugar, it’s best to consume it at the end of a meal — not between meals. This is because any food containing sugar) when eaten at the end of a meal raises blood sugar less than when eaten between meals. And since blood sugar control is important to preventing cancer, it makes sense to finish off a meal with these delicious chocolates, but not to snack on them between meals.

Designer Variety #1: Coffee Bean Chocolates

Ingredients

About 6 grams of a dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa) chocolate bar

  • Six grams is about 1 square of an Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate 72% bar or ½ square of a Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% Cocao bar. Just do the math and you’ll know how much chocolate is approximately 6 grams. Most likely it’s a small square or half of a large square.

½ teaspoon of cocoa

¼ teaspoon crushed coffee beans

  • Decaf or regular coffee beans are fine.
  • Just crush the beans with a meat tenderizing mallet (if you have one) or the back of a glass.

¼ teaspoon canola oil

½ teaspoon agave nectar

½ teaspoon chopped walnuts

  • I used the Trader Joe’s Walnut Baking Pieces

Directions

Note: These directions are for making one piece of chocolate. It’s just easier to explain it that way. But of course, you will be making enough to fill at least one silicone mini-muffin pan.

  • Use a sharp knife to cut the chocolate bar into squares (along the scores lines).
  • Place a piece of the chocolate bar (about 6 grams) into each opening of a silicone mini muffin pan.
  • To the chocolate in the mini muffin compartment, add the cocoa, crushed coffee beans, canola oil, and agave nectar.
  • Place a cup of cold water into the microwave oven. This is just to protect the microwave oven, because in the next step you will be heating a small quantity of food and that could harm the microwave oven.  Note:  If you are making more than one bath (pan) of chocolates, then before making each subsequent batch, replace the water in the cup with cold water. This way it will take about the same length of time to melt each batch of the chocolate mixture. Also, this prevents the cup of water from boiling over after several batches!
  • Place the silicone mini muffin pan with the chocolate and other ingredients into the microwave oven; heat on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  • Remove the silicone mini muffin pan from the microwave oven and using a chopstick (or perhaps a small butter knife), stir the warm chocolate mixture to mix well.
  • If needed, heat for another 15 seconds in the microwave oven; stir.
  • Sprinkle each chocolate with walnuts, pressing them lightly into the chocolate.
  • Place the filled mini muffin pan into the freezer.
  • When frozen, pop your Designer Chocolates out of the mini muffin pan and serve. Or store your Designer Chocolates in freezer bags in the freezer for enjoying later.
  • Note: These chocolates do not have to be eaten frozen,but they’re very nice frozen or slightly defrosted.
  • While I haven’t yet tested this (because they disappear to fast around here), I imagine they can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or more without a problem
  • A friend of mine to whom I gave some chocolates put them into a decorative box and kept them on her counter for a few days.

Note: Because these chocolates aren’t high in saturated fat, they will be firm but not hard (unless frozen). When you eat them, you may find that a little chocolate sticks to your warm fingers. That’s fine; just lick! I served these chocolates at a party, and everyone loved them. No one seemed to mind their slightly chocolate smudged fingers.

 

Designer Variety #2: Ginger Cherry Chocolates

I LOVE these Ginger Cherry Chocolates! In fact, now that I’ve tasted these chocolates, plain chocolate bars are rather dull and boring – even the best of them!

Ingredients

6 grams of a chocolate bar with 70% or more cocoa OR 6 grams (2 teaspoons) of chocolate baking pieces (chocolate chips)

Some suitable chocolate products:

  • Chocolate bar: Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate 72%
  • Chocolate bar: Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% Cocao
  • Chocolate bar note: I don’t suggest the Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Bar 100% Cocoa because it’s a lot higher in saturated fat than the products I have recommended.
  • Chocolate chunks (chips): 365 Dark Chocolate Mini Chunks 70% Cacoa (Whole Foods product)
    • Mini chunks (and chips) are less expensive than chocolate bars.

6  grams of chocolate is equal to…

  • about 1 square of an Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate 72% bar
  • ½ square of a Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% Cocao bar.
  • 2 teaspoons of 365 Dark Chocolate Mini Chunks 70% Cocoa

½ teaspoon of cocoa

1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger

¼ teaspoon canola oil

¼ teaspoon agave nectar

3 dried cherries

  • For dried cherries, I love the Stoneridge Orchards Cherry Mix (whole dried Montmorency, Balaton, and Bing Cherry Blend) from Costco. These dried cherries are the best I’ve ever tasted and $8.99 for 20 ounces is also a great price. For more about these cherries, see the Monamifood blog entry, Cherries and Berries with Yogurt.
  • Use the smaller cherries in this mix. They are sweet and slightly tart.

Directions

Note: These directions are for making one piece of chocolate. It’s just easier to explain it that way. But of course, you will be making enough to fill at least one silicone mini-muffin pan.

  • If using chocolate bars, use a sharp knife to cut the chocolate bar into squares (along the scores lines).
  • Into one cup of a silicone mini muffin, place a piece of the chocolate bar (about 6 grams) or 2 teaspoons (6 grams) of chocolate mini chunks.
  • To the chocolate in the mini muffin cup, add the cocoa, ginger, canola oil, and agave nectar.
  • Place a cup of cold water into the microwave oven. This is just to protect the microwave oven, because in the next step you will be heating a small quantity of food and that could harm the microwave oven.  Note:  If you are making more than one bath (pan) of chocolates, then before making each subsequent batch, replace the water in the cup with cold water. This way it will take about the same length of time to melt each batch of the chocolate mixture. Also, this prevents the cup of water from boiling over after several batches!
  • Place the silicone mini muffin pan with the chocolate and other ingredients into the microwave oven; heat on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  • Remove the silicone mini muffin pan from the microwave oven and using a chopstick (or perhaps a small butter knife), stir the warm chocolate mixture to mix well.
  • If needed to completely melt the chocolate, heat for another 15 seconds in the microwave oven; stir.
  • Place 3 dried cherries in each muffin cup and press them lightly into the chocolate, just enough so that they’re firmly anchored in the melted chocolate (not submerged).
  • Place the filled mini muffin pan into the freezer.
  • When frozen, pop your Designer Ginger Cherry Chocolates out of the mini muffin pan and serve.
  • Or store your Designer Chocolates in the freezer in freezer bags for enjoying later.
  • Note: These chocolates do not have to be eaten frozen,but they’re very nice frozen or slightly defrosted.
  • While I haven’t yet tested this (because they disappear to fast around here), I imagine they can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or more without a problem
  • A friend of mine to whom I gave some chocolates put them into a decorative box and kept them on her counter for a few days.

Note: Because these chocolates aren’t high in saturated fat, they will be firm but not hard (unless frozen). So when you eat them, you may find a little chocolate sticks to your warm fingers. That’s fine; just lick! I served them at a party, and everyone loved them. No one seems to mind their slightly chocolate smudged fingers!

Designer Variety #3: Cherry Almond Chocolates

These are great too!!!!

Ingredients

6 grams of a chocolate bar with 70% or more cocoa OR 6 grams (2 teaspoons) of chocolate baking pieces (chocolate chips)

Some suitable chocolate products:

  • Chocolate bar: Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate 72%
  • Chocolate bar: Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% Cocao
  • Chocolate bar note: I don’t suggest the Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Bar 100% Cocoa because it’s a lot higher in saturated fat than the products I have recommended.
  • Chocolate chunks (chips): 365 Dark Chocolate Mini Chunks 70% Cacoa (Whole Foods product)
    • Mini chunks (and chips) are less expensive than chocolate bars.

6  grams of chocolate is equal to…

  • about 1 square of an Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate 72% bar
  • ½ square of a Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% Cocao bar.
  • 2 teaspoons of 365 Dark Chocolate Mini Chunks 70% Cocoa

½ teaspoon of cocoa

¼ t canola oil

¼ t agave nectar

2 drops almond extract

  • I used Penzeys Spices’ Pure Almond Extract

3 dried cherries

  • For dried cherries, I love the Stoneridge Orchards Cherry Mix (whole dried Montmorency, Balaton, and Bing Cherry Blend) from Costco. These dried cherries are the best I’ve ever tasted and $8.99 for 20 ounces is also a great price. For more about these cherries, see the Monamifood blog entry, Cherries and Berries with Yogurt.
  • Use the smaller cherries in this mix. They are sweet and slightly tart.

Directions

Follow the directions for the Ginger Cherry Chocolates above, substituting almond extract for the ground ginger.

Enjoy and be healthy!

– Leni

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3 thoughts on “CHOCOLATE: Homemade Designer Chocolates

  1. Hi Leni, I just made the designer chocolates and they are fabulous. You are right they will make fabulous Christmas gifts. Thanks. Jody

    1. Hi Jody,
      I’m glad you made the chocolates and like them so much. I’ve been experimenting some more, and hope to add another variety or two soon. So by the time you actually make your Designer Chocolates for Christmas presents, you should be able to make a delicious assortment.
      -Leni

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