A few months ago, while at the grocery store, I noticed this in the candy aisle:
I bought one for some outrageous price, and life was good. :D
Then, last week I went down to Cedar City, Utah, again to take an acting class at the Shakespeare Festival. (Note: Utah teachers must continually jump hoops to prove we are qualified, and I'd rather see Shakespeare plays than sit in boring middle school conferences to earn my "points.") One morning on my way to a dance/movement class, I cut through the gift shop and found THIS:
Holy mother of Aztecs, Batman! Chiles with chocolate AND cherries? Had I died and gone to heaven?
Well, at $4.25 + tax for a single bar, I was not in heaven, but it was close. (The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, you know -- and that was before anyone ever added sugar to it!)
The Chocolove bar listed among the ingredients both ancho AND chipotle chiles, and that made so much difference! The Lindt bar just did not have the depth of flavor, nor did it have the sweet/sour cherries. (When you eat this, you get the chocolate taste and the cherries, but after you swallow the bite, you get the slight lingering warmth and taste of the chiles. It's marvelously addicting.)
Naturally, when I got home, I wanted to see if I could find this candy anywhere. Well, no local store had it, and online, the cheapest I could find was a pack of 3 bars, which, when shipping was added in, came to slightly over $20.00.
No freakin' way am I paying that much for candy.
But then it occurred to me that I always keep several kinds of dried chiles on hand, and among my two favorites are anchos and chipotles.
I could SO make this candy!
And tonight I did indeed create a very passable version of the Chocolove bar. And it's easy!
(OK, I had to work with the amount of chile peppers a bit, using the amounts necessary for a pot of chili as a basis, but I finally got it just right.)
Here's the recipe:
2 bags of Nestle's Toll House dark chocolate chips.
1 bag Craisins cherry-flavored dried cranberries. (You can use real dried cherries if you can find/afford them.)
2 rounded tablespoons Penzey's dried, ground ancho peppers. (Use the good stuff.)
1 rounded tablespoon Penzey's dried, ground chipotle peppers.
In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, pour in one bag of chocolate chips, then sprinkle with all the ground chiles and pour in the other bag of chocolate chips. Do NOT stir yet or all the chiles will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave until soft and gooey. (I have an older, less-powerful microwave, and this took 3 minutes. I suggest you start with less time and add more as needed.)
Remove from microwave (it will be HOT), and stir the chocolate and chiles with a rubber spatula/scraper until very thoroughly mixed and until no chips are left unmelted.
Add the dried, cherry-flavored cranberries and mix again until the cranberries are thoroughly coated.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a jelly roll pan which has been lined with wax paper, and put the whole pan into either the fridge or the freezer until the candy hardens.
That's it. No candy thermometers. Nothing hard. Just good stuff very fast. And, because of the wax paper, the clean up is really just the mixing bowl and spatula/scraper.
Happy candy making! :)