Sunday, January 02, 2011

December 24-25, 2010: Dark and white chocolate tiles

My family is pretty casual about Christmas (see, for example, last year's menu of pizza and icecream) so I went low-key when planning dessert for our lunchtime picnic.  After flicking through a few cookbooks I found the perfect things in the dessert-focused Tempted.  This book was a Christmas gift from Michael's brother Matt a few years ago, which made it even more perfect. 

I've played around with the basic fruit-and-nut-chocolate idea many times before but these recipes, for rum and raisin bagatelles and white chocolate bark, used combinations I wouldn't have thought of myself.  Even better, they made use of white chocolate, raisins, currants and shredded coconut left over from our Xmas party dishes.

I was particularly pleased to use up the white chocolate, as Michael and I don't much enjoy eating it on its own.  We did not expect the white chocolate bark to be our favourite of the day but it was the picnic's prom queen.  It's sweet, sure, but the apricots were tangy and the roastedness of the macadamias added a little depth.

Rum and raisin is an old favourite combination of Michael's yet not one I'm fond of.  But there we were with raisins and even white rum in the house so I soaked those raisins, melted some dark chocolate, and stirred through some shredded coconut and pine nuts as directed.  Yes, pine nuts!  I was intrigued and, sadly, disappointed.  All the pine nuts around seemed a little stale and there were too many of them here.  If I were to make this again (and I'm pretty sure Michael would like me to), I'd double the rum and raisins and halve the quantity of pine nuts.  I still believe they've got a 'lil something to contribute.

The rum and raisin bagatelles were supposed to be shaped into haphazard little balls but they pretty ugly to boot, and I decided to mimic the first recipe and form an equally ugly but much less fiddly sheet of chocolate to break into tiles.  It might be prettier, on reflection, if half of the pine nuts and/or coconut were reserved for sprinkling on top.  No one was too fussed on Christmas day, though - we had a very pleasant couple of hours lazing and grazing in a nearby park, prioritising relaxation over presentation.

White chocolate bark
(a half-quantity of a recipe in Tempted: 150 Very Wicked Desserts)

75g macadamia nuts, chopped
125g white chocolate
60g dried apricots, finely chopped
25g currants

Preheat an oven to 180°C.  Line a tray with baking paper and spread the macadamias over it.  Roast the nuts until lightly browned, just 5-6 minutes, and give them a couple of interim shakes for even cooking.  Set the nuts aside to cool, reserve the tray and paper for the chocolate.

Gently melt the chocolate in a saucepan, then stir in two-thirds of the macadamias, apricots and currants.  Pour the mixture onto the lined tray, spreading it to less than 1cm thickness.  Sprinkle over the remaining macadamias, apricots and currants, gently pressing them into the chocolate.  Refrigerate the chocolate until set, then break it into chunks to serve.

Rum and raisin tiles
(adapted from a recipe in Tempted: 150 Very Wicked Desserts)

100g raisins (next time I'd double this)
1 tablespoon white rum (next time I'd double this)
50g shredded coconut
100g pine nuts (next time I'd halve this)
400g dark chocolate

Stir the rum through the raisins in a small bowl and leave them to soak for at least an hour.

Preheat an oven to 150°C.  Line a baking tray with paper.  Spread the coconut over the tray and gently toast it until golden, 5-10 minutes, giving the coconut a couple of interim shakes for even cooking.  Set the coconut aside and use the same method to gently toast the pine nuts.

Gently melt the chocolate in a saucepan.  Drain the raisins and stir them into the chocolate; stir in the coconut and pine nuts.  (Alternatively, reserve half of the coconut and pine nuts for a prettier presentation.)  Pour the mixture onto the lined tray, spreading it to less than 1cm thickness.  If you have reserved coconut and pine nuts, sprinkle them over the chocolate sheet, gently pressing them into the chocolate.  Refrigerate the chocolate until set, then break it into chunks to serve.


  1. Yep, I have to comment on the chocolate post ;) I love using tangy fruits (like dried apricots) to cut through the sweetness of white chocolate. That particular combination of yours is so tropical-ish!

    Now, if only I could stop myself eating all my chocolate before I cook with it...

  2. I have just had to use up some white chocolate I bought to top your christmas pudding bites - it melted in the car and had to all be used - might have been tempted by this if only I had macadamias! Sounds like a pleasant Christmas

  3. Hannah, the eating-before-cooking of chocolate can be a problem here too... except for white chocolate.

    Johanna, I think this technique's a good one for whatever scraps of dried fruit or nuts you have in the cupboard!

  4. Looks delicious! Any chance of sending some up to the Sunshine Coast? Lol!

  5. Spencer, I'm pretty sure it'd melt on the journey north. :-) Not to worry - it's easy to make yourself.

  6. Rum'n'raisin update: I made these again, using the new quantities above and reserving half the coconut and pine nuts to press into the top. They looked like this.

    They were better, I think, though not all the toppings were successfully pressed into the chocolate. I'd reserved no more than a third of those bits for topping in future.