An irresistible medley of bitter-sweet dark chocolate, fiery red chili flakes, crunchy nuts, candied fruits and tiny bits of refreshing orange zests❤️😋
Simple, uncomplicated recipe made with very few ingredients that are commonly available in your pantry. Melted Dark Chocolate is tempered and mixed with interesting flavourings. Here, I have used a combination of nuts, candied berries, dried raisins and orange zest that imparts sweet-bitter-tart taste. You can have variations with choice of nuts & fruits or flavours as per your liking. Endless options we have!
Tempering of Chocolate
Since the recipe calls for Dark Couverture Chocolate, tempering of the chocolate needs to be done. Tempering is done to achieve stability, shiny, smooth melt-in-the mouth texture with a good snap.
If you don’t temper and just melt Real or Couverture chocolates, the fat molecules present in them stays apart making the chocolate turn sticky, soft with uneven texture.
Difference between Compounds & Real or Couverture Chocolates
If using chocolate compound, skip tempering. However, using compounds won’t be a healthy choice if you relish chocolates quite often. Compounds consist of vegetable fat and cocoa powder whereas Real or Couverture Chocolate contains good amount of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Compounds have a high melting point, say 45 C making it harder in your stomach and doesn’t get digested easily. Also, the presence of vegetable fat or cocoa butter in chocolates brings out a huge difference when it comes to stability of the chocolate, its non-grainy taste, melt-in-the-mouth, smooth and shiny texture.
Tempering refers to the process of heating, cooling and again reheating the chocolate to control the fat molecules present in the cocoa butter. When the molecules are bonded together by tempering, chocolates gets perfect snap and glossy texture.
Tempered chocolate is perfect for making candies, truffles, chocolate confectionaries or to frost and decorate cakes.
The temperature for melting, cooling and reheating differs as per the cocoa percent present in chocolates. Of various methods of tempering, I prefer seeding method as it hassle-free and quickest way to achieve the desired result.
In Tempering by Seeding method, first step is to melt 2/3rd of the chocolate and take it to a specific high temperature. Then cool it down to a certain low temperature by stirring vigorously with a spatula. Final step is to add the remaining 1/3rd of unmelted chocolate(seed) to the melted lot and reheat it to a medium temperature suitable for that particular type of chocolate(dark, milk or white).
Temperature monitoring is done with the help of a candy thermometer or a digital food-scale thermometer. Manual observation may not be accurate and we may not like to spoil the expensive couverture by over or under heating.
After seeding the chocolate, the crystals or molecules present in them gets arranged in a specific design to get the familiar snap or shiny texture.
Once the tempering of chocolates done properly, it can used as the base in any recipe where the stability, texture and snap plays a role.
Here, I have used Van Houten 55% Dark Chocolate which has a perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness. For tempering by seeding, it is melted at 48 C, added seed then cooled down to 25 C and again heated to 32 C.
Here’s the recipe for Rustic Dark Chocolate Chili Barks
- Dark Couverture Chocolate – 300 g (preferably 55% cocoa)
- Red Chilly Flakes – ½ tsp
- Chopped Nuts – 2 tbsp (almond, hazelnut, pista, cashews)
- Dried Fruits – 1 tbsp (cranberry, blueberry, black and golden raisins)
- Orange Zest – 1 tsp
- Red Chilly Flakes – 1 tsp
- Chopped Nuts, dried fruits and orange zest – amount as per your preference
- Double Boiler Or Microwave Safe Bowls
- Candy Thermometer
- A Serrated Knife
- Lined tray
- Finely chop or cube dark chocolate using a serrated knife. Even chopping helps in quicker melting.
- Set aside 1/3 of the chocolate. We need to use this as the ‘Seed’.
- Transfer 2/3rd of the chocolate to a Microwave safe bowl (no glassware as it retains heat for a longer time).
- Change the MW power setting to 50% (half power).
- Melt the chocolate at 30 sec intervals till it reaches 47 C to 49 C. (Always use a candy thermometer to food-scale digital thermometer for measuring the heat)
- Bring down the temp to 24 C to 26 C by beating it with a spatula.
- Once the temp reached 25 C, add the seed (remaining 1/3 of the chocolate).
- Heat again in MW at 40% power.
- Heat the chocolates till 31 C to 33 C.
- Remove from MW and give a good whisk.
- Check the temp again. It should be at 32 C for us to proceed with the recipe.
Making of Chocolate Chili Barks
- Once the tempering done, the melted chocolate is good to go as the base for our Rustic Chocolate Chili Barks recipe.
- Add above mentioned (in ingredients section) chopped nuts, dried fruits, orange zest and red chilly flakes. Mix well.
- Pour it on a lined tray. Using the spatula level it and smoothen the surface.
- Garnish with red chilly flakes and other ingredients given above (For Garnishing)
- Refrigerate it for 2 hrs. Once set, break it into barks and relish.
- This can be stored in an air-tight container for months. Perfectly tempered chocolates stays good at room temperature.
- Never let the temperature of chocolate go above the given limit. It spoils the flavour and texture. And also, doesn’t stay stable at room temperature.
- If using double boiler to melt the chocolate, make it sure the chocolate doesn’t come in contact with water droplets or steam. Water makes it to seize and become lumpy.