Crunchy Caffiene

For some reason I’ve been craving chocolate covered coffee beans lately.  I don’t have them often as they seem too decadent and expensive to make a habit of purchasing.  And normally my cravings for them hit late at night when I have no intention of getting dressed to go out and scour the grocery store shelves.

But this evening, the craving would not be staved off by other things.  I had to do something about this.

So I decided to make my own.  After all, I had chocolate and I had coffee beans.  Really couldn’t need more than that, right?

I melted a little over 1/4 of a Hershey’s special dark bar in a double-boiler on the stove.  When it was nice a gooey, I dumped in somewhere between 1/3-1/2 cup of coffee beans I had on hand.  Stir to coat them.  Then I laid out wax paper on a cookie sheet and scooped the chocolate-bean-mush onto it and sort of smeared it about to separate the beans some.  Into the freezer, and wham, 15 minutes later I’m crunching away on a chocolate caffeine fix.  And while I waited, I got to lick the chocolate out of the pot.

Now, I’ll grant you, they don’t look all nice and smooth and shiny like store-bought versions (you know the ones that kinda look like a yogurt covered raisin?), but they taste good.  In fact, because I didn’t waste a lot of time separating the beans, what I got is kinda like chocolate-coffee-bean-brittle that I broke into chunks. After I’d completed my experiment I read up on some other methods of getting “nicer” looking beans–using candy molds and doing this one-by-one was a popular method.  Way too labor intensive for me.  But I liked another idea about adding cocoa powder or sprinkles before the whole thing dries.  Now that I could go for.

And at the rate I’m consuming these things?  Not only will I have an excuse to try again for the sake of replenishing my depleted supply, I will also be wide away to do it.

One Response to “Crunchy Caffiene”

  1. Teapot says:

    The secret that you’re looking for is the dark art of chocolate-tempering. My (professional) candy book devotes a chapter to this, in detail. It’s kind of impossible to describe, but once you’ve done it, it’s like magic and anything else you coat in chocolate will seem inadequate if you neglect to temper. Example: I set out to make buckeyes the other day. Simple, right? Except that somewhere along the way, they turned into refined-looking peanut butter truffles sprinkled with flaky English sea salt. Because that is how I roll.

    Anyway, you need to start with good tempered chocolate, which means not Hershey’s (probably– haven’t tried it), and absolutely not chocolate chips. The easiest way to temper chocolate is by incomplete melting, where you chop it up in a bowl and microwave it in very short bursts, stirring in between, taking it out well before everything melts. Under no circumstances do you want the temperature of dark chocolate to go above about 110F, otherwise you will melt out the stable Form V cocoa butter crystals, and they are what you want. Then I set the bowl of half-melted chocolate in a pan half-filled with water at 105-110F, and stir ’til mostly/all melted. Then you test it to see if it’s in temper, by dipping in the side of a metal spoon slightly and setting it aside. If the chocolate sets quickly (under 90 seconds) and has an even matte color and is quite hard, you’re good to go! Dip your beans or make your bark. If it’s not, stir in more unmelted chocolate, which should seed the melted chocolate with the crystals you’re looking for. Keep testing ’til you get there. There are several other methods, but this is the fastest I’ve found (for realz).

    BUT the incentive is that properly tempered chocolate is glossy and beautiful and has a wonderful snap and mouthfeel. And you get major culinary badass points for being able to do it.

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