I wanted to make something Pittsburgh themed for a family get together and decided to make a custom flavor of chocolate.
Initially, I was going to use Oodaalolly 70% dark chocolate as a base that I'd pair with licorice and yellow sea salt; symbolizing the city's grit and determination. I like licorice and chocolate (very popular in Iceland) but the more I thought about it, I accepted the fact that most people aren't huge fans of that amazing flavor combo.
I needed something black to go with the gold though! Then I realized I had a bunch of bamboo charcoal peanuts in the pantry. How could I have forgotten? They are such a tasty snack.
If this sounds like something you might want to do, read on and see how I made some Pittsburgh Themed Black and Gold Mini Chocolates.
- A Double Boiler - This is the best way to melt chocolate. If you apply heat directly to your chocolate it could easily get burned which spoils the entire batch. Here's a link to a cheap one on Amazon. You can also put a sturdy bowl on top of a pot as a makeshift double boiler. You can use a microwave but you don't have as much control over the chocolate.
- OODAALOLLYChocolate - The most important ingredient! If you want really flavorful chocolate you need really flavorful cacao. And the most flavorful cacao comes from the Philippines and Oodaalolly chocolate chooses the best Filipino cacao for their bars. I am lucky to be good friends with the owner, Hernan Lauber. I'd still seek out this chocolate even if I didn't know him though. It has a remarkably memorable flavor and once you get the taste for it, nothing else will really do - at least when you want "the good stuff."
- Gold Salt - I used Caravel Gourmet saffron sea salt. It's bright gold and has a subtle saffron aftertaste. Very yummy.
- Black Peanuts - Bamboo Charcoal covered peanuts are really tasty to snack on. I have no opinion on the supposed health benefits of consuming bamboo charcoal. I just like how they taste. You can probably find these at your local Asian grocery store - call ahead though. If you don't want the peanuts you can get just the charcoal at health/supplement stores.
- Mini Mold - I used a silicone ice cube tray. Here's one on Amazon. If you're near an IKEA, they have some that have fun shapes.
- Assorted bowls and a mortar and pestle - to store ingredients and grind peanuts
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Step 1: Oodaalolly, Oodaalolly, Golly What a Day!
If you use peanuts like I did you'll want to grind them up a bit. Not into a powder but not too big.
Some will be placed right into the melted chocolate and some will be sprinkled on the mold.
Step 2: Havin' Such a Good Time
Get out your chocolate and get it heated. I actually use two bars of chocolate to fill my mold.
NOTE: if you are going to temper your chocolate save a few bits or make some shavings. Tempered chocolate doesn't melt as fast in your hands and it doesn't get white discoloration when it cools. It also lasts longer.
I didn't temper this batch of chocolate because I knew it was going to be eaten pretty fast. If you would like to know more about this process check out this informative post at Ecole Chocolat.
Step 3: Reminiscin', This-'n'-thattin'
Melt your chocolate - keep the lid off though since you don't want any steam to condense and drip into your melt.
Prepare the mold for the pour. VERY lightly sprinkle some salt and charcoal bits into the mold. You do not need a lot of salt. It's just being used for color and as a flavor enhancer.
Once you're ready, pour your chocolate.
TIP: If you want less messy mold pours do it yourself. If you want a bit more fun, have your five-year-old help you with the pour. I went with the helper method.
Step 4: Walkin' Through the Forest . . . of Pittsburgh Chocolate!
Black and Gold chocolate!
Even my skeptical wife thought it tasted very good. So you know it can't be bad.
Chocolate making is fun and eating it is as well. Come up with some unique flavors to share with folks you love. Who knows? Maybe you'll find you have a knack for it and will want to become a chocolatier or a chocolate maker.
And check out OODAALOLLY Chocolate. It really is a very good chocolate. Hernan goes to the Philippines and meets with the local growers and buys his cacao direct. He then brings it back to his family chocolate factory to continue the process. It takes a lot of hard work and quite a bit of skill to produce a really memorable chocolate experience. Give it a try!
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