Day 99 – National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Well that’s pretty specific.  I don’t usually opt for bittersweet chocolate.  In my extensive two minutes of research, I discovered that you can use bittersweet chocolate interchangeably with semisweet chocolate when you’re baking.  That’s good to know, but I like my chocolate a little sweeter.  It’s not that I mind bittersweet chocolate, but whenever I eat it, I can’t help thinking that this would be better if it was just a little sweeter.

There’s something to be said for the bitter taste.  It’s distinctive and gives you a different taste than regular chocolate, which isn’t an altogether bad thing.  It’s just different.  My palate is used to the taste of sweet chocolate, but over time, I could get used to bittersweet.  I know there’s heath benefits to bittersweet chocolate too – less sugar being at the top of that list – so we can put that in the plus column for bittersweet chocolate.  I’m not anti-bittersweet, just a fan of sweetness.

For National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, I kind of felt I didn’t have to go crazy with an intricate and extensive recipe that included both ingredients.  I felt that this should be nice and simple, and I found a recipe online that did just that by making Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds.  It was actually from a blogger whose recipes I have used before, so I had faith in the quality.  It was pretty much just almonds covered in bittersweet chocolate and dusted with sea salt and sugar.

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You melt the dark chocolate in a double-boiler and when it’s nice and melted, you dunk the almonds in to coat them with the chocolate and then let them cool on a baking sheet.  You also sprinkle them with sea salt and sugar while they are still setting up.  It’s not unlike the same process I use for making my somewhat famous chocolate balls, although the balls are easier to work with because they are bigger.  I had some trouble getting each almond out of the chocolate without them clumping together.  I used a special dipping tool too, but the almonds kept slipping off.  Most came out alright, but I ended up with some pieces that were more like a chocolate bark than just a chocolate covered almond.  All in all, that’s not a bad problem to have.

They  are tasty and were a nice little treat for the day.  I ended up sharing some with my brother-in-law Pete who was having a bit of a day himself.  Naturally the kids wanted to try them when I brought them over, and even though I told them I didn’t think they would like them, they gave them a try only to spit them into the trash moments later.  Good thing I can take the harsh critique of the under 6 year old demographic.  Pete seemed to like them though, so I was glad that I could give him something to enjoy.  The rest I have stored in a  container for when Lola gets back.  She’ll like them too, although I hope I can make them last.

Today was one of those days when things take a turn you weren’t expecting and even though there’s nothing you can do, the thoughts just circle in your head.  It just seemed like everything was a bit off kilter for the rest of the day.  Maybe it was all just intensified by not having Lola around and by the angst of the impending election that is swirling around the world, but it was just a strange day.  Making the chocolate almonds was actually a welcome respite.  It gave me something to do and took my mind off it all for a brief time.  Plus it gave me a tasty treat to enjoy.  That’s how these celebrations go some time – a brief intermission from the world that’s spinning around.  I’ll vote for that any day.

Next Up – Harvey Wallbanger Day

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