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Salted almond butter chocolate bars

Hello there. The last few days have been busy, busy, busy. Monday was a day that could only be described as torture - our new boiler and gas pipes were fitted. Yes, that's a good thing of course, especially as we've actually been without hot water since May! But the noise level was stressful, the elderly moggy thought it was the perfect time to barf up on the carpet and me straight after the water had been turned off. And we had no wet wipes. So for a couple of hours I stank of cat vomit. The whole experience left me feeling like I wanted to hit the bottle by 9am. However, it's now installed and we can have a shower again. We've been getting a wash by kettle and a very large saucepan for weeks.........It's not been fun. 

Tuesday was better all round. A pizza and cinema day with the Boy. We went to see Ant-Man, which was utterly hilarious. I do love a good Marvel movie and this one really was one of the best. I can highly recommend it if you've slightly older kids as it's a 12A. 

Today however, has been slower, calmer and offered me a chance to do some baking. I was super excited to get my new copy of Anna Jones new book, A Modern Way To Cook. Being such a huge fan of her first cookbook, I knew it would be full of great inspiration for mealtimes. All Anna's recipes are vegetarian or vegan (or she suggests vegan ingredient alternatives). It's all about eating fresh, seasonally and most importantly, quickly. In our house we are constantly eating later and later due to work committments, so it's great to have a vegetarian recipe book that divides up into meals that take only twenty minutes or 'in the time it takes to set the table'. I've yet to try any of the savoury dishes, although tonight we're making the Lentil Ragu Agrodolce with pappardelle, so bring on teatime. This afternoon we're all about the chocolate though, and the perfect quick treat - Salted almond butter chocolate bars. 

Adapted from A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones

Ingredients:

200g almonds

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I'd never used this before, but it was lovely and was like inhaling a Bounty bar whilst it melted!). 

3 tablespoons runny honey

the seeds from one vanilla pod

150g unsweetened desiccated coconut

A pinch of sea salt. 

200g dark chocolate (70%) - now I found this only coated about half the bars, obviously I got a bit carried away at this stage,  so I did the other half in milk chocolate as I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate anyway. A big old bar of Dairy Milk was used for the remainder!

 

Method:

Line a small square tin with greaseproof paper. 

Put the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for about five minutes until the nuts are beginning to turn into a soft butter. Add the honey, the coconut oil, the vanilla pod seeds and a good pinch of salt and blitz to combine. Add the desiccated coconut and blitz again until you have a dough-like mixture.

Tip the dough into the lined baking tray and push it into the tin until it's even in depth.

Put the tray into the freezer for a couple of minutes. Break the chocolate into a bowl and gently heat in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. Let the chocolate melt slowly. 

Take the almond mixture out of the freezer and cut it into 24 bars. (I actually only cut 20 but probably should have done them a little smaller as mine are pretty big!). Pop them back into the freezer to chill. 

Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and allow it to cool and thicken, stirring occasionally. Cooling the chocolate a little is important, so that the bars will be thickly coated. 

Line a second baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take the frozen bars out of the fridge and dip them into the chocolate, using two forks to turn them, then lay them on the paper. Once you have coated all the bars, put them into the fridge to set. 

I've decorated mine with a little sea salt on the top too and for a little bit of colour, some edible violas I bought at the Secret Herb Garden. 

Perfect for an afternoon treat with a cuppa. Enjoy.