Have you heard about the Three Pleasures – a dessert challenge that circled in 2016 challenging chefs to create healthier dessert options using the Three Pleasures – dark chocolate, fruit, and nuts? For a cooking demo I’m working on we’re using these three ingredients as a healthier dessert option for diabetics – and if you just want to be healthier in general while satisfying your sweet tooth. While thinking of dried fruit and nut options for a chocolate bark I decided to get a little crazy and thought – what if I add herbs?!
In my humble opinion, the herbs were a genius way to go. Although I do always enjoy the peanut butter chocolate combo and find it hard to resist chocolate and caramel, the herbs have me thinking in a whole new way.
Since I only made 4 of each flavor (I can’t be tied down with only one flavor and 24 chocolates – I need variety!), they aren’t exact recipes, but I can tell you what you’ll need for each along with the base of: a dark chocolate of at least 60% cocoa, bitter sweet will also work; mini muffin tins; mini muffin papers; and non-stick spray.
I chopped and melted ~12oz of chocolate over a make-shift double boiler – glass bowl set over boiling/simmering water. Melt until just melted – don’t sit there and stir the chocolate for too long or it will eventually start to separate out and become hard because there isn’t enough fat to prevent over working. I then mixed about 2oz of chocolate with each of the described combinations. Spray your muffin paper with the non-stick spray before putting in the chocolate – it just makes them easier to remove. Let it set and then enjoy.
Walnut and goji berry – no additional spices, just toasted walnuts and gofi berries. I started you off with and easy one.
Lavender Blueberry – crush 1/2 tsp of edible lavender and mix in with chocolate – sprinkle top with additional lavender and top with dried blueberries. Crushing brings out more of the oils from the lavender along with the flavor (better than finely mincing).
Chili Cherry Pecan – mix chili powder in with chocolate, about 1/4 tsp (or as spicy as you like), top with dried cherries, pecans, and dusting of additional chili powder.
Lavender Thyme Pistachio – crush about 1/4 tsp edible/culinary grade lavender, finely mince 1/4 tsp fresh thyme, and mix with chocolate. Top with toasted pistachios and sprinkle with additional lavender. I’m also lucky that the Los Poblanos lavender farm is only a few miles away so I can get some culinary grade lavender at their store too. 🙂
Rosemary Sea Salt – mince ~1/4-1/2 tsp of fresh rosemary and mix in with chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt and place a sprig of rosemary for decoration – it’s a little too strong to eat with it, but looks pretty.
Last but definitely not least – I tried my hand with some edible flower over a cluster of dried cherries, blueberries, and pecans. The flower helps to hide the lumpy shape of the cluster.
Each chocolate is perfectly portioned for a great after dinner treat and the jazzed up flavors do make me feel more sophisticated. Each chocolate is about 1/2 oz of chocolate. Aren’t they gorgeous looking! Although I think they’re all delicious, I think my favorite at this time might be the lavender and blueberry. It just makes me think of the coming spring and makes me happy.
What are some of your favorite more “exotic” chocolate flavors? Have you ever tried to mix your own flavors at home?