Monday, 2 December 2013

Fairtrade coffee bean chocolate bark

The key ingredient for this recipe is Fairtrade coffee beans (whole). Coffee is another one of the most successful Fairtrade products in the UK. Most big brands and supermarkets have their own Fairtrade lines and there are also many specialised and boutique brands.

I love coffee.I wish I could drink more of it! but I can only handle 1 cup a day before I have trouble sleeping at night... but I do cherish and look forward to my 10:00 a.m. cup, once Lucas goes down for his morning nap.

Like wine or tea or beer I suppose, I find that coffee has such a culture around it, from how anyone prefers to drink it, to its origin, all it's tasting notes and the snobbery around 'ruining it' by adding milk or sugar.

I wanted to find a recipe where coffee was not just another ingredient, like in many of the cake ones I came across... but where it was king! and so I remembered a Cafe back home, where instead of crisps, they would offer you a small bowl of chocolate covered coffee beans and how divine it was to crunch the beans and get the sweetness and creaminess of the chocolate. It was then that I stumbled upon the concept of chocolate 'bark' (looks like tree bark, as in the picture above) which is a popular handmade gift in the US... so with the festive period approaching (and a Xmas party around the corner) I decided to give it a go.

It's actually very simple... and I warn you... I'm not sure I can really call it cooking... but in any case here it goes:

- 150 grs of dark chocolate
- 150 grs of white chocolate
- 1/4 cup of fairtrade coffee beans (whole)


1) Prepare a sheet of non-stick baking paper.

2) Grind the coffee beans a bit, but so that some of them are still whole.

3) Break the chocolate into small squares and melt it. I  just used the microwave, but you need to remember to only blast it for 30 seconds at the time, then stir and repeat until it's all melted.
Do the same with the white chocolate.

4) Spread it on the paper, sprinkle the ground coffee and then using a spoon, spread the white chocolate on top making lines for the bark 'look''.

5) Or you could spread the white chocolate and just sprinkle the coffee on top.

5) Pop them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours until they become solid again and you can peel them off the paper.

6) That's it, simply break them into pieces and enjoy!

The verdict

Well, they were nice, but I think you have to really like coffee to love them... it could easily be too strong a flavour for some. I also thought they would make great handmade gifts, but because they were quite delicate and prone to melting... it could be difficult to either wrap them or get them to their destination intact. 

I also felt that actually they needed to be part of something else, like perhaps to sit on top of the coffee cake i didn't make!

The best part for me was how fun it was for my daughter to make her own version...

Will I make them again? I don't think so... but I still want to experiment with coffee, so I'll continue researching ideas, especially since I've had a mysterious anonymous delivery of Fairtrade coffee, which I plan to use next time!

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