Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs – Edible Gift Giving 2015

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Holiday gift giving 2015 will soon be in full swing and there are so many ways to make it easier and more personal. I am not much for shopping but I do love to make things. This is the first in a series I will post every so often during November and December. Easy edible food gifts to help get you through the Holidays with a sense of well-being and sharing.

My recipe, if you want to call it that, for “Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Cocoa-coated Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs/Cacao Nibs” is amazingly easy. It takes no special skills and it allows for lots of experimentation. The time for this batch was about 15 minutes! It doesn’t get any better than that! Don’t you feel more relaxed already?

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Olive and Sinclair Mexican Chocolate bars melted with some Nestle’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels in the top of a double boiler….

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…poured out on a flat pan covered with parchment paper & spread around with a rubber spatula….

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…dusted & studded with toppings.

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A quick chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes and it is ready to break up into bite-size pieces.

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The dusting of chipotle chili and dark espresso powders give this chocolate an indulgently intense flavor that will appeal to all your chocolate obsessed friends.

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Place pieces in decorative tins or boxes for gift giving. Great host or hostess gifts.

Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs - Edible Gift Giving 2015

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Olive & Sinclair Mexican Chocolate Bars (or any other bittersweet chocolate)
  • 8 ounces Nestles semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other brand)
  • Chipotle Powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa covered whole almonds or regular almonds, rough chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • flakey sea salt such as Maldon
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Gather and prep all ingredients before you start melting the chocolate.
  2. Melt chocolate in the top of double boiler pan until smooth and without any lumps.
  3. Remove from heat, wipe pan bottom with a kitchen towel and pour/scrape melted chocolate out onto the parchment paper. Smooth with a dry rubber spatula.
  4. Dust over the entire surface with chipotle powder. More or less to fit your palate. I like more.
  5. Dust with the espresso powder and sprinkle with pistachios, almonds, sea salt & cocoa nibs generously. Press larger nut pieces down into chocolate gently with fingers.
  6. Place pan in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove when chocolate is hard, break into pieces. Store pieces in airtight containers. Best made and gifted within a couple of days.

Note: I made this up on a whim using what I had in my pantry, but you can totally experiment and add chopped dried fruit, coconut flakes, white chocolate chips, black pepper, etc…

Teresa Blackburn     teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      foodonfifth.com

“E.A.T. #2 Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix”


#2 E.A.T. Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix

This is #2 in my E.A.T (Easy as That) series on how to make lots of delectables at home that are much tastier, less expensive & better quality that buying pre-packaged from high-end groceries & specialty  markets.

Hot, spicy cocoa mixes…..You might know the ones I am talking about…they are packaged in beautifully printed boxes that reflect fabrics from whatever country’s spice profile is represented? Mexico, Peru,  India….I really love these very peppery hot cocoa mixes & their beautiful little decorative boxes that unfortunately contain just a few tablespoons inside for over $8.00! I received a box as a gift last year & was hooked, but quickly realized that my palate, my pocketbook  & my psyche were miles apart.

 I am one of those coffee drinkers who love a cup of strong black coffee laced with a generous dollop of hot milk and a tablespoonful of a spicy hot cocoa mix. To the coffee purists among you this is probably just too much gilding the lily, but it is the most comforting of hot drinks on still chilly early Spring mornings. The aroma is both earthy & ethereal.

Ingredients:

8 ounces good quality cocoa

1-2 cups raw sugar

1/4 cup espresso powder

5-6 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate (I used 2 Olive & Sinclair Mexican Style Stone Ground bars)chopped into small pieces

1 generous tsp each freshly ground black pepper & sea salt

1 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cardamom pod

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used almost 2, but I like it hot)

Instructions:

1. Place all  ingredients in a food processor. Process until chocolate pieces are ground finely with other ingredients. Remove lid, taste, adjust to your taste. Add more sugar or cayenne, espresso powder? Whatever you like.

2. Store “Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix” in jars with air-tight lids. This makes a fine gift for a fellow hot cocoa lover.

3. To make a hot cup of “Spicy Mexican -style Cocoa Mix” I heat 1 to 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk in a pan over medium heat. When milk just begins to bubble around the edges of the pan I stir in 1 generous tablespoon of the mix. Stir until dissolved in the hot milk. Serve in your favorite cup or mug.

“It’s as easy as that!”