What is old is often new again. The first chocolate bar was created in the mid 1800’s. I grew up eating candy bars as my go-to snack. Now in my travels and experience exploring the world of chocolate, pastry and baking, I am seeing a big increase in demand for chocolate snacks in a variety of forms – from bark, to nibs, to snack bars and snack cakes – and I have been having a ton of fun creatively bringing chocolate snacks to life. I have been creating my own chocolate blends to bring out the flavors of each unique ingredient and to give each product my own personal signature.
From a consumer perspective, a bonbon is a serious and special occasion treat. (Not to mention, one bonbon is never enough.) So, consumers are turning to more casual forms of chocolate to deliver on that snacking moment. One of my favorites is the chocolate snack bar. It gives today’s flavor-driven consumer a snacking treat that’s complex, satisfying and fun. It’s an eat-me-now snack that’s no longer meant just for a special occasion.
As a chef, I love making snack bars because they offer a bigger canvas to work with. I can deliver on texture, flavor, aroma and crunch all at once by layering a variety of complementary ingredients. I also love them because consumers love them. Having grown up in the pastry world, I am accustomed to overseeing the dining experience finale – where job number one is making sure the guest leaves wowed and delighted. I carry this consumer centricity with me in everything I create, and it has allowed me to explore new flavor combinations, new applications, and premium ingredients – and make modern versions of yummy things that everyone loves!
Recently, I have been working on a Chocolate Peanut Nougat Caramel Snack Bar – an homage to my childhood. The combination of flavors adds depth and complexity to this bar. Chocolate is the backbone of the confection and getting the chocolate right is the number one focus. Ensuring that the chocolate balances with the rest of the ingredients will allow for the entirety of the piece to come to life. I see the U.S. as the birthplace of the candy bar, so I chose to work with Guittard Chocolate, a family-owned American chocolate company that has been crafting premium chocolate for 155 years. They source cacao from around the world that they then craft into a variety of nuanced flavor profiles that allowed me to make the perfect blend for this bar. I selected three different Guittard Collection Etienne chocolates: Guittard Soleil d’ Or 38% Cacao, Guittard L’Étoile du Nord 64% Cacao, and Guittard Lever du Soleil 61% Cacao. The ensemble of flavors pairs perfectly with the caramel, salt and nutty flavors making each bite a memorable snacking experience. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Chocolate Peanut Nougat Caramel Snack Bar
By Kriss Harvey for Guittard Chocolate Company
PREPPING MOLDED SHELLS
Using Chocolate World Mold Ref. 2125, line and empty the mold with crystallized Guittard Lever du Soleil 61% Cacao chocolate. Allow to retract, remove empty shells and reserve.
- 500 g Guittard Soleil d’Or 38% Cacao
- 100 g Guittard L’Étoile du Nord 64% Cacao
- 300 g heavy cream
- 50 g invert sugar
- 7 g sorbitol
- 100 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- Melt the milk and dark chocolate by 50%.
- Warm the cream, invert sugar, and sorbitol.
- Pour over the chocolate. Using an immersion blender, blend thoroughly.
- Measure the temperature of the ganache, when the temperature reaches 104°F (40°C), add the room temperature butter and blend thoroughly.
- Use the ganache when the temperature reaches 90°F (32°C).
FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL GANACHE
- 237 g heavy cream
- 119 g glucose
- 59 g invert sugar
- 217 g granulated sugar
- 237 g Guittard Soleil d’ Or 38% Cacao
- 119 g salted butter
- 40 g cocoa butter
- 5 g fleur de Sel
- Heat the cream, glucose, and invert sugar to 194°F (90°C); set aside.
- Dry-caramelize the sugar to 379°F (193°C0. Deglaze with the cream mixture.
- Cool the caramel to 176°F (80°C). Pour over the chocolate and emulsify with an immersion blender.
- Add the butter, cocoa butter and fleur de sel when the temperature drops to 104°F (40°C) and blend with an immersion blender.
- Use the ganache when the temperature drops to 90°F (32°C).
- 230 g granulated sugar, divided
- 35 g egg whites
- 73 g water
- 45 g glucose
- 172 g honey
- 10 g fine sea salt
- Glucose powder, as needed
- 203 g peanuts, chopped
- Mix 10 g of the sugar with the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Cook the water, remaining 220 g sugar, glucose and honey to 284°F (140°C).
Pour over the sugar and egg white mixture, and whip on high speed in a stand mixer. Mix the nougat until it is developed.
- Switch the attachment from the whip to the paddle, add the salt and the ground roasted peanuts.
- Dust a marble surface with glucose powder and knead the nougat, then roll between 2 pieces of parchment paper to 5mm.
- Cut with a 2.4ʺ (6-cm) ring cutter and reserve on a Silpat.
- Dry roasted peanuts
- Pipe an even portion of the plain ganache into the mold, then gently press a nougat portion into the ganache.
- Pipe some fleur de sel ganache over the nougat, then sprinkle a few dry roasted peanuts on top.
- Allow to crystallize overnight at 64°F (18°C) and 60% humidity.
Enrobe snack bar with Guittard Lever du Soleil 61% Cacao. Use a fan setting medium/ high to remove excess chocolate. Dust snack bar with gold leaf while the chocolate is still wet.