So, after last week’s mammoth post – here’s to hoping you guys enjoyed it anyways~! – I turned on my heel, so to speak, and crunched my grey cells for a while in order to find the speediest and possibly non-fussiest member of my Chocolates & Fruit Bites recipe collection.
While the Summery temperatures outside haven’t quite reached the “Chocolate? Are you insane?!” levels yet, I suppose they will hit in the forseeable future, so I also had to look for one low or even zip on chocolate without hitting the fruit bites just yet… and one that’s best served ice cold… Aha! After I had narrowed my list down to about 4 possible yummies, my pantry took care of the final decision – the ingredients used for these are all permanent residents of my pantry and all of them either frequently re-stocked anyways or in no (peckish hubby) danger of disappearing without my notice. So, perfect candidate for sudden growth of a sweet tooth, hot temperatures, little-to-no-time-for-fuss people – this takes about 10 mins of active-time – and, despite the whole “sweet” thing, for health conscious eaters. Power food, in all aspects of the word, I’d say~!
The Sesame, Date & Cherry Bites
110g Tahini – well-stocked supermarkets will have this somewhere in the international delicacies/organic food/middle- and near eastern sections or (mis)placed next to peanut butter in the breadspread section.
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, the firm white stuff – if you can’t find it in your usual supermarket hunting grounds, the next best organic food stores has it.
120g Dried Dates, pitted – for once, I wouldn’t recommend going with soft-dried ones, the bites don’t set properly if you do. By the way, if you love your food processor, re-check the dates for pits, even if the packaging says they’re pitted…
30g Cranberries or Cherries – dried cherries and sesame are a wonderful match, but those never survive my presence in the kitchen. Give them a shot if you have a firmer grip on yourself than I do~
5 heaped Tsp Roasted Black and White Sesame Seeds – I always have a small jar of a 2:1 White:Black blend in the house for anything from asian’ish dinners to a sprinkle on top of a breakfast fruit salad, toasted as soon as I get home from restocking them, so I don’t forget.
150g 75-80% Dark Chocolate – if you don’t like it or can’t get it for some reason, skip it entirely, do not use milk chocolate, it doesn’t work with the sesame at all.
Fleur de Sel Flakes
1) Add the dates and cherries/cranberries to a food processor.
2) Drop in the Tahini – don’t forget to give the delicious sesame paste a good stir before spooning it out of the jar, the stuff likes to split for no apparent reason. Keeps itself fresh that way, though, so I won’t complain…
3) Sprinkle everything with 3 of the 5Tsp of the sesame seeds and whizz the lot into a smooth’ish purée. Once the dark brown and red spots of the whizzed dates and cranberries start to look about to be the size of the sesame seeds you’ve held back, you’re golden.
4) Add the remaining seeds and give the mixture another few pulses to incorporate them into the mix.
5) Pick up a square/rectangular container roughly the size of a brownie tin – about 23x23cm, variable in any direction and line it with baking parchment. Basically you’re looking for any sort of container that will hold the contents of your food processor in a 1-2cm thick layer. Whenever I make these, I either use my brownie tin or a smaller tupperware number and 2 gimmicky silicone heart-shaped ice cube trays I never use otherwise. Just on a side-note, if you’re going the ice-cube path, rub the insides with a very thin sheen of coconut oil to make the bites pop out in one piece later.
6) Tip the seedy mixture into the tin/tray/container of your choice. Make sure the mixture is evenly spread out in the tin or, alternatively, firmly packed into the ice cube tray. Use force in the form of a palette knife for the tin and a teaspoon for the tray.
7) Tap the container onto your work surface a couple of times to pop out air pockets, even out the surface and pop it into the fridge to set for 2 hours.
8) In case you’re a bit impatient, follow the ice-cube-tray suggestion and pop it into the freezer for 15-25 mins and 45 mins into the fridge. This will speed up the process without freezing them solid – which would make the evenly-chocolate-coating-process a rather difficult one since the liquid chocolate sets around the frozen bits within half a second.
9) By the way, if something goes wrong and the mixture doesn’t set, that’s your safety pin. You will have to freeze it until it’s hard enough to cut, then freeze it again until the individual bites are rock solid.
10) Once that’s done, you can encase them in a thick layer of chocolate, sealing the oozy-once-thawed center like you’ve intended that outcome all along~ Just make sure you have enough (about 300-400g chocolate) in the house.
11) Assuming everything’s going according to plan, use the parchment as levers to lift the sesame brick out of the tin once it has set.
12) Cut the brick into bite-sized squares/pop the bites out of the ice cube tray and place them back in the fridge for about 30 mins.
13) Melt the chocolate in a waterbath, set it aside and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
14) Line a large tray or cutting board with a sheet of baking parchment and sprinkle it with the sea salt flakes.
15) Gently turn the date bites in the chocolate with the help of a (pâtisserie) fork until they’re evenly covered with the chocolate, then set them onto your salted tray.
16) Once you’re done with the chocolatey business, place the tray in a cool spot for about 1-2 hours until the chocolate cover has set completely.
17) Move the lot into an airtight container and place it in a conveniently accessible spot in your fridge.