California Prune and Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
We all love a chocolate bar as a treat and especially dark chocolate with its intense luxurious long after-taste. Dark chocolate and California Prunes were made for each other, both intense and full of depth. These super easy bars have no added fat, wheat, gluten or sugar and have a fudgy texture. What’s not to like.
Makes: 20 barsPrep Time: 45 minutes
- 250g dark chocolate (65% cocoa solids or above)
- 500g California Prune purée*
- 200g crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp Maldon sea salt well crushed
- Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water but not boiling.
- In a bowl mix together the California Prune purée, salt and peanut butter very well. A wooden spoon makes this very easy or you can use an electric mixer.
- Now add the melted chocolate and mix well.
- Cut a large piece of baking paper and spoon out the mix.
- Fold the paper over and gently flatted with a rolling pin to 10 to 15mm thick.
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
- Once set trim any excess to create a square then divide and cut into 20 bars.
- Place aside for dipping in tempered chocolate.
*For the recipe for California Prune purée , Click here
Chocolate for dipping
- Melt 500 g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water.
- Take the temperature with a digital thermometer, it should be between 50 and 55°C.
What does tempering mean?
The definition is the addition of hardening crystals into melted chocolate and the methods are marble slab tempering or seeding. Tempering will make the chocolate smooth, shiny and give it snap.
It may seen daunting but be brave and practice, once you have mastered tempering there will be no stopping you and your chocolate making.
- Marble slab
- Chocolate melting pot or a mixing bowl and sauce pan
- Rubber spatula
- Palette knife
- Triangle scraper
- Optional – digital thermometer
- Over a bain marie melt at least 1kg of chocolate to a maximum temperature of 55°C. Do not let the water boil or simmer but keep hot and allow the chocolate to melt for at least two hours. This will ensure that all the fats, sugars and crystals have melted evenly.
- Pour two thirds of the chocolate onto the marble slab.
- Spread evenly over the slab with the palette knife and scrape back together with the triangle scraper.
- Repeat this action until the chocolate cools to 27-28°C which is when the chocolate begins to crystallise and begin to harden.
- You can check this temperature by using a digital thermometer or by touching some chocolate with a separate palette knife on to your bottom lip. The chocolate should feel neither cold nor warm but at body temperature. Practice is the best policy here and soon you will be able to determine the right temperature. This is my preferred method.
- Now scrape the cool chocolate in to the warm chocolate at 55°C and mix very well until fully incorporated, be vigorous and confident working smoothly at this stage.
- Mixing is very important and lots of it to bring the temperature even throughout the chocolate. The temperature should now be 31 to 32°C. this is called the working temperature.
- To check if the chocolate is tempered dip the end of your palette knife into the chocolate and place aside to set. If the chocolate sets with a shine and is crisp then you have tempered your chocolate perfectly.
- If the chocolate is streaky, grainy or dull then there are a few ways to determine what has happened.
- The temperature of the chocolate may still be too high and you may need to re temper on the marble slab briefly.
- You may need to continue your mixing to emulsify the chocolate together or you may have not melted your chocolate sufficiently at the beginning.
- Once you have your bowl of tempered chocolate it is ready to use but you must maintain the working temperature by warming briefly on the bain marie.
- Dip each bar length ways half way in to the chocolate, shake and scrape any excess chocolate from the bar and pace onto baking paper to set. This should take 5 minutes.
- Peel from the paper and enjoy or keep airtight at room temperature for two weeks.
Paul’s tips and comments
Try using any other nut butters if peanut is not your favourite.
If you have a nut allergy then use tahini (Sesame Paste)
Get creative and add toasted seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and even a touch of chilli powder tastes wonderful.