FESTIVE CHOCOLATE BARK & “COINS”

I call these yummy little morsels “guilt-free gelt” in honour of the Hannukah tradition of giving children bags of chocolate “gelt” (money). They’re quick and easy to make, fun for kids especially, and make a brilliant festive gift or treat whatever the occasion.

Why guilt-free? Because unsweetened chocolate contains polyphenols, antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats and vitamins B and E.

Mixing melted and unmelted chocolate together (a process known as tempering) gives the finished discs a lovely snap.

These are a festive variation of my Chocolate Pomegranate Discs.

CHOCOLATE COINS

100g 70%-72% dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp any or all of these toppings:
pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins or sultanas, soft dried apricots, goji berries, unsweetened dried coconut, chilli flakes, sea salt flakes
Edible gold spray and/or gold lustre dust

Line a tray with baking paper.

Put two-thirds of the chocolate chip into a heat-proof glass (Pyrex) bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has just melted then remove from the heat.

Add the remaining third of unmelted chocolate chips to the bowl and stir vigorously for a minute or two until smooth. If the mixture is still lumpy, warm it slightly, either by a 10-second burst in the microwave or over the hot water in the saucepan.

Working quickly before it starts to harden, drop teaspoonfuls of melted chocolate onto the parchment paper, spreading each one into a 5 cm (2”) circle with the back of your teaspoon, then stud each disc with your choice of toppings. This is a chance to be creative! Use the any combination, and feel free to make each disc slightly different if you want!

Leave for 30 minutes to an hour until the chocolate has completely set, then spray or dust the dsics with gold. Store in an airtight container in cool place (but not the fridge.)

VARIATION: CHOCOLATE BARK

Melt and temper the chocolate as for the discs, then pour it onto a lined baking sheet and spread it in an even layer using a long spatula or palate knife and scatter with the toppings. Once set, lift the paper and chocolate sheet out of the tin, peel off the paper and use your fingers to break the chocolate bark into shard-like pieces.

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