homemade Christmas chocolate treats

Every year around this time I have fun making chocolate-covered treats for us and the people who stop by. I have occasionally bought organic chocolates, as usual checking the list of ingredients, but they are so expensive… They also are likely to contain sugar, and mine don’t, except of course for the one found in the dark chocolate I use. I fill mine with nothing but natural ingredients. Dates, oat flakes, tahini, optionally walnuts, or a mix of all natural unsweetened peanut butter and local honey for a treat very similar in taste to the famous Re***es Pieces, I have several variants as everyone at home has his/her own preference!

To shape the treats, I pour the chocolate inside tiny silicone molds, put those inside the freezer for a couple of minutes before filling and sealing them. This year, much inspired by the French TV show “Le Meilleur Pâtissier”, I invested in a thermometer to “temper” the chocolate, an action which makes it harder, and easier to handle while eating: it doesn’t melt until it reaches your mouth! It was a good idea… except that for my first batch of chocolate I didn’t realize the probe was protected by a case, and so I stuck the whole thing, case and probe, in the chocolate! I realized my mistake when I went to wash the thermometer… Silly me! Oh well, learn and live, and no, dear neighbors, I am not ashamed to tell you about my mishaps! Needless to say, I corrected my mistake for the second batch!

Ingredients (for 6 treats)

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– 60 g / 2.1 oz good quality dark chocolate, made with cane sugar, not white sugar

– 6 small silicone molds

DATE FILLING OPTION:

– 20 g / 0.7 oz oats / buckwheat flakes + 20 g / 0.7 oz shelled walnuts + 80 g / 2.8 oz pitted organic dates

OR 20 g / 0.7 oz oats / buckwheat flakes + 100 g / 3.5 oz pitted organic dates

– 2 tsp tahini

– 1 tsp coconut oil, melted

PEANUT BUTTER OPTION :

– 120 g / 4.2 oz all natural peanut butter (no oil, no additives) + pinch of sea salt + 1 TBSP raw honey (no funny stuff added, please) / pure agave nectar

How to:

1. Grind the oats together with the walnuts, if using. With the help of an immersion blender, blend all the ingredients into a paste. You may have to help your blender by removing the paste forming around the blades during the process. Set aside.

1. Mix peanut butter, salt and natural sweetener with a spoon.

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2. Melt chocolate over a double boiler (“bain-marie”) on low heat, stirring. If you want to temper it, remove from heat after it has reached about 45°C / 113°F, (apparently the max is 55°C) bring down the temperature to 25°C / 77°F, (this step can be done by simply stirring with a spatula, no need for a marble top) then back on the double-boiler until it reaches about 30°C / 86°F, never exceeding 32°C / 89°F. (YouTube tutorial here). Using a teaspoon, pour melted chocolate (tempered or not) into molds. You should have some chocolate left over. Put molds in freezer to set for about five minutes.

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3. When chocolate has set, spoon filling into each mold, then cover with the remainder of the melted chocolate, returning it to the double-boiler if necessary. Back in the freezer for a few more minutes, that’s it! All is left is to peel the silicone molds off the treats.

If you tempered the chocolate your treats can be kept at room temperature. If not, storing them in the refrigerator is best.

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