Fresh Fruit Chocolate Bar

I once read that you should always keep a notebook and pen near your bed. The idea being that when you wake up with an idea or a worry in the middle of the night, you can simply jot it down, putting the idea or worry to rest on the nightstand until you wake in the morning with the energy to take action.

Awesome advice that I RARELY follow. But the other night, as I slowly drifted into that foggy twilight before sleep, I had an idea that I didn't want to forget. Without a notebook, I sent myself an email.

All it said was "fruit chocolate bar idea."

Subject line: Genius

(Ever modest. I know.)

The idea was simple: to make a homemade chocolate bar filled with surprising bits of fresh fruit throughout. Pretty apt subject line, I'd say!

I love chocolate-covered fruit in the summer. It's the perfect sweet ending to a meal and doesn't require that you turn on the oven or even the stove to prepare. I love that burst of bright fresh fruit beneath the thin shell of bittersweet chocolate. I regularly dip strawberries and blueberries in chocolate and leave them chilling in the fridge for a quick dessert I also love to freeze chocolate covered banana slices. This was a way to wrap all of that into one delicious chocolate bar!

To make the bars, I started off by prepping the fruit. I cut a banana and a few strawberries into thin slices--about 1/4" thick. I then divided the raspberries into three pieces, which would flatten nicely. The blackberries I essentially cored, slicing them delicately along the center to make a few flat pieces. A bit finicky, but quick and necessary in order to keep the chocolate bar at a relatively normal thickness.

I used bittersweet chocolate, which I melted in the microwave until smooth. It took two cups of chocolate chips (1 normal size bag) to make 4 bars. As my mold, I used mini-loaf pans (specifically, this mini loaf pan). They're about 2" by 4", and the perfect size for a chocolate bar. You can also just use one large loaf pan to make a giant bar or use a muffin tin for round ones.

I used foil, which I sprayed with a bit of oil, to line the pan, letting it overhang so that it would be easy to pull the bars out once set. If you use a muffin pan, just use cupcake liners.

Spread a thin layer of the chocolate--about 1/2 inch--and then arrange the fruit closely together. Top it off with another tin layer of chocolate, spreading it to make sure it's all covered. I like to wrap the pan against the table a few times so it all settles smoothly. To set, just pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Run a warm knife along the edges and then lift the bars up. Peel the foil off and serve! These will keep best in the fridge for up to 24 hours--any longer than that and it really depends on the fruit you used as the moisture will start to seep out a bit. I think it would be fun to serve a few of these at a party, letting folks bite into them for the surprise.

What fruit do you love most dipped in chocolate?

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Fresh Fruit Chocolate Bar Recipe
Makes 4 chocolate bars

1/2 banana
4 large strawberries
10 other berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) or other ripe fruit
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Equipment: mini loaf pan, foil, cooking spray

Prepare the fruit, slicing the banana and strawberries into thin 1/4" slices. Slice the raspberries and blackberries into 1/4" slices. Cut blueberries in half.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until smooth and completely melted.

Line the loaf pan with strips of foil so that it overhangs on each side. Spritz with a bit of cooking spray so that it peels off easily.

Spread a thin 1/2" layer of chocolate in the bottom of each well. Arrange the prepared fruit closely together. Top off with another thin layer of chocolate. Tap the pan against the table so that everything settles and to get rid of any air bubbles. Add additional chocolate on any parts where fruit peeks out.

Place in refrigerator and let chill 30 minutes or until chocolate is completely set. Use a warm knife to loosen the edges and then lift out of the mold. Peel off the foil and serve immediately or store in fridge wrapped in foil up to 24 hours.

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