Chocolate is one of the sacred things my wife and I enjoy sharing together. Not only is it delicious, it pairs great with wine, and is extremely versatile. Thinking back, I remember the first time I bought some Vosges chocolate for Valentine’s Day for my wife. Vosges, based out of Chicago; specializes in gourmet chocolate using the best regional ingredients from around the world to create unmistakable and truly unique chocolate experiences. From Sweet Indian Curry & Coconut to Ginger & Wasabi, the flavors are truly a foodie and chocolate lovers dream.
As someone who likes to cook a lot and carry ingredient, seasonal, or regional themes throughout meals; themed chocolates are the perfect idea. In our quest to reduce our grocery budget (or in other words to buy less chocolate because it gets expensive) I wondered if I could make it with some chocolate chips I had in my pantry. I was in such a hurry to eat my idea that I failed miserably that night. Somehow my vision of Chinese Five Spice and Orange Zest turned into a weird powder out of the microwave. And just like that my idea was nuked. Then to be fair to myself I thought about the process and decided to plan it out better for a weekend dinner and retry it.
Driving to my local Sur la Table I was convinced that I just needed to buy some chocolate molds (if they existed) that I would be able to figure out the rest. Success. They had these great silicone molds there that are genius. I think silicone in the kitchen is genius in general but these have changed the way I can approach dessert in the future and activities for my daughter and I in the kitchen as she gets older. Next I bought some bulk chocolate and dried fruits from Whole Foods and then returned home. At the dinner over the weekend with lemon basil sorbet I served the following four chocolates to our guests: Balsamic Vinegar + Dried Sour Cherries (Dark Chocolate), Lavender + Vanilla Bean (White Chocolate), Curry + Coconut (Dark Chocolate), and Habanero + Dried Mango (Milk Chocolate). Basically there are endless opportunities for creativity to take over and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Try it with anything you can dream up. Here is what I do:
Balsamic Vinegar + Dried Sour Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar Recipe
serves 4-6 (makes one tray)
· 1 cup Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped (chips work too)
· ¼ cup Dried Sour Cherries, finely chopped
· 2 tablespoons Aged Balsamic Vinegar (if you have the good stuff you will be rewarded)
· pinch of salt
1. Start by chopping the chocolate and cherries and placing them in a glass mixing bowl. Add vinegar and salt to bowl.
2. Build a double boiler by bringing water in a sauce pan(pot) on the stove to a boil and placing the glass mixing bowl on top of the pot. The water should almost reach the bottom of the mixing bowl.
3. Using a small silicone spatula continue to stir the chocolate mixture until it is completely melted and smooth in the bowl.
4. Once it is smooth and fully melted, use a spoon to spoon the mixture into the silicone mold tray. I have this ready on a small cutting board with some aluminum foil under and next to the stove for easy cleanup.
5. Once in the tray you can smooth out the tops a little and place tray in the refrigerator to cool. Allow 20 mins to fully harden.
6. I empty the chocolates onto the cutting board and cut them in half to make bite sized little chocolates.