Sunday, 16 September 2012

Kitchen Adventures

Being vegan there are limits to the choices of junk food you can indulge in easily, by easily I mean ability to pick something up at the grocery or corner store. I've been eying Cadbury's Toasted Coconut Cashew chocolate bar, I love cashew's and coconut so I thought why not make my own rendition of said chocolate bar. With my dad's birthday coming up next week I was at the local chocolate and nut store picking up some mixed nuts he so enjoys and saw a rather large 78% dark chocolate bar and thought it was the perfect way to make my own Toasted Coconut Cashew chocolate! I also picked up some cashew's there as I know they are always delicious and some coconut at the grocery store. Although next time I would like to find unsweetened large flake coconut, having only seen the exact coconut I'm looking for in Stratford I settled for what was available to me in the moment.

I decided to make the chocolate early because my dad has his longest day of the week tomorrow teaching in Toronto. He was just finishing up in the kitchen when I started so he actually decided to join in and toast the cashews and coconut for me, he does that sometimes!

I have not perfected a recipe and probably never will, but I will give a basic recipe and measurements I used or will be using when made again.

Toasted Coconut Cashew Chocolate Bark
1/2-3/4 cup flaked coconut
3/4-1 cup chopped cashews
2-3 cups dark chocolate

Prepare a small square or rectangle (depending on the desired thickness) baking pan, with parchment paper or greased with margarine and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a large metal or glass bowl over a boiling pot of water. Having enough water in the bottom of the pot to just touch the bowl, making sure the bowl is big enough to cover the entire pot if not be immersed in the pot as you do not want to get water in the chocolate or it will ruin the melted chocolate. (I do not have a double boiler, and have a hard time melting chocolate in the microwave without burning it or over cooking it). As the chocolate is melting place the cashews in a frying pan on medium to high heat depending on your stove temperature. Tossing the cashews lighty for 3-5 mins until golden brown, you will start to smell the cashews; tasting it to get the desired toast. Add the cashews to the melted chocolate and place the coconut in the same frying pan as it takes less time to toast (especially if it's sweetened coconut, it will burn easily), lighty toast the coconut and add it to the chocolate and cashew mixture. Spread out the chocolate into your prepared pan and let cool for 5 minutes before placing the pan in the freezer for 30-45 minutes or until hardened. Cut into desired sizes and enjoy!

I have never written down a recipe I made up, so I hope this is processable for anyone who chooses to try it! It turned out wonderfully, rich due to the dark chocolate but so delicious with the toasted cashews and coconut. You can use any nuts you desire as well as chocolate, I may even try doing the same thing with dried cranberries or blueberries for Christmas goodies! If you wish to make it into more of a chocolate bar as I had originally planned you can use more chocolate and just place the nuts and coconut in the bottom of the pan before pouring the chocolate evenly over the base and voila you have a homemade chocolate bar!

I have never tried the "real" chocolate bar as it's milk chocolate but my rendition is pretty spot on delicious if I don't say so myself. And considering my dad had devoured 1/4 of the pan after 45mins of it being in the freezer says a lot! I don't deny that he is a desert fanatic, but he also has a taste for dark chocolate and knows what chocolates he does and does not enjoy!