Chocolate Slabs – The Perfect Christmas Gift

Chocolate Slabs

by Azélia on 19/11/2010

in Chocolate,Featured Sidebar Post,Gluten Free,How To Make

Here it is.  I’ve had this idea now since last year and it has finally made it to fruition.  A few years ago when I saw these type of chocolate slabs in Hotel Chocolat I was immediately drawn to them on the sheer scale of chocolate they contain…greedy guts…you don’t need to tell me…but they look so impressive.  It’s like having a year’s supply of chocolate in one bar, ok I exaggerate…a month’s supply. The possibilities too of combinations and the decorations to use, you can let your imagination take hold and do what crazy ideas comes to mind.  The whole point of these chocolate slabs and why I made a mould for them as appose to let the melted chocolate spread out freely is the thickness of the wedge of chocolate.  Your big greedy chocolate eye looks at that thick wodge of chocolate and just goes wow look at that.

I’ve kept these very simple but if I was to say make one for my oldest daughter I would add rice crispies and crushed biscuit.  There’s the obvious nuts & dried fruit variations you can make.  Why not popping candy?  I searched for a while to buy freeze dried strawberries as I thought the red would look very pretty against a white chocolate background.  Also what came to mind are those little sugared violet flowers you buy in cake decorating shops, they would look different.  Now tell me, who wouldn’t want to receive a m&m’s heart this Christmas?  I think anyone you make one of these for…will have to love you forever…and ever and ever.

The idea that’s at the top of my list and will be making it for Christmas, a present to self, is swirling in some dulce de leche (carnations brand do a very good inexpensive one) adding a little Maldon sea salt to make Salted Caramel then swirl it into the very best chocolate which for me happens to be dark.  I can picture it so vividly in my mind right now I’ve just gone to chocolate heaven….and just maybe throw in some toasted almonds…Spanish ones if I had the choice.

Yes I think that will be my boxing day treat.  After all the hard work on Christmas day I need a reward.  Boxing day for me is kids occuping themselves with their gifts…afterall that’s why you spent so much money on them…and me sitting down reading a cookery book with cup of coffee in hand served in my mug and a piece of this Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Slabwould round it off nicely.  That’s Christmas sorted.

There is no recipe for this as all you are doing is melting chocolate of your choice and then pouring into the moulds you have made.  I will give you the tips and pitfalls of my experiences and roughly the sizes and amount of chocolate I used.

The Most Important Thing of All
You can not make this with sub-standard chocolate, absolutely not.  For that you might as well throw it in the bin afterwards.  There is no butter, no sugar or cream added to this, yes you may add nuts, dried fruit, rice crispies but none of those are going to make up for the quality of chocolate you use here.  You are eating chocolate in the pure form you bought it, you’re adding bits  and for that reason you have to enjoy eating it as is.

Cooking Chocolate – Eating Chocolate
If you already cook with chocolate or read chocolate recipes you’ll know normally they suggest good quality chocolate for the recipe and sometimes the only place you can guarantee a good quality slab is in the baking section of the supermarket where the cocoa content is high and the slab is full of cocoa butter and not other rubbish like vegetable fat.  We’re lucky now in the UK as even in petrol stations I see good quality eating chocolate brands like Green&Blacks or Lindt or Divine and others.

My advice here is to tell you to choose the chocolate bars you enjoy eating raw for the same reasons above.  Yes you can buy excellent quality chocolate for cooking but if you wouldn’t eat that bar straight out of the packet then don’t put it in here.  It’s very much personal choice, if you’re a dark chocolate lover you’ll already know which is your favourite bar.  As a rough guide for milk chocolate you want something containing 30% and higher of cocoa solids and for white 25% or more of cocoa solids, most packs here will have that breakdown on the back.  If money is short make a small one like the round star below.

If I’m working with chocolate say making patterns and decorative pieces and need a mould or pattern I will choose foil over the usual baking paper because foil stays in place and is easier to manipulate and it’s also cold so the chocolate cools down quickly. I made the shape Hotel Chocolat uses for their slabs, a heart and a small round disk but let your imagination take place and choose something you fancy bearing in mind the limitations of the foil mould.

There is no reason you can’t use a cake or tart ring (ones without a bottom) but then you have to think about removing it once the chocolate is set.  If you have a little cooking blow torch you can put it on minimum and for literally 2 seconds blow on the outside of the ring.  But if you don’t get it right you run the danger of melting the chocolate around the edges too much and distorting the shape.

Making a Mould
Choose something flat, chopping board or baking sheet and cover it with foil.  Take a piece of foil and fold them into strips, folding it over itself two or three times maybe more depending on the thickness of your foil to create a strip thick enough to stand up once it’s joined but not too stiff you can’t mould it.  Make 2 strips like this.

Once the strips are joined with sellotape place it on top of your prepared surface.  Shape as you wish.  Use a few strips of sellotape on the outside to keep it in place but also to pull the mould down to the surface to close as much of the gap as you can.  You may be left with one or two tiny gaps here and there but that will be fine if  most of the mould is quite firm in place and the weight of the chocolate can’t lift it upwards and keep running outwards from underneath.

Don’t forget you can make these moulds days in advance if you want to make a few for presents and it will breakdown the workload.

Think about chocolate you’re going to use and how much you’re going to need roughly.  Very importantly how you’re doing to decorate it.

For Hotel Chocolat slab:
9 x 7″ (23 x 18cm), roughly 300g  milk chocolate, 200g dark chocolate, 150g white choclate

For m&m’s Heart:
9 x 7″ (23 x 18cm), roughly 300g milk chocolate.

For the Round Star
5″ (12cm) across, 150g dark chocolate, 50g white chocolate

White chocolate buttons, white chocolate maltesers and little chocolate eggs.

These came from one of those old fashioned sweet shops, there’s popping candy in the middle, different flavour and colour sherbet and little pearls of sweets.  These I will be using for my presents for Christmas.

Avoid cutting yourself on the foil as no one will want bits of your blood in their chocolate matter how much they love you.

With the slab below I melted all three chocolates.  Pour in the milk chocolate first leaving some room for the dark.  Pour the dark chocolate to meet the milk one (see photo above) and then poured the white chocolate on top of the join of the other two.  If you do this while all of the chocolate is melted the white will blend in nicely by itself.

Take a skewer or anything of that shape and feather the edges.  Remember to stick whatever decorations while the chocolate is still liquid so they set.

When you’re melting large amounts of chocolate the over-melting mistake easily happens especially with white chocolate I find.  Whether you melt it over a bain marie or in the microwave you’ll have spots of chocolate melting before other parts do, you should stir it to spread the heat.  Bear in mind stirring chocolate (which I do) will also create little tiny air bubbles here and there, but to be honest no one is going to care…and if they do take the chocolate slab back, they don’t deserve it.

The other thing to point out here is having the chocolate like I do in a cold garage this time of year doesn’t help when it comes to melting it.  Best if you bring back to room temperature, it will melt quicker and you’ll have less trouble, unlike me below where the chocolate separated and once you’re at that point there’s no return.

This is how to melt white chocolate, Azelia!

For the white chocolate design in the m&m’s heart and the round dark slab with the star I used a cookie cutter to make the design but you can make them with a small strip of foil.  If using a cookie cutter just realise once the outer chocolate is set the cookie cutter is stuck and you can’t get it out unless you have a little blow torch to heat the cookie cutter for a second.  Obviously the beauty of using the foil strip is you can peel away with ease.

I weighed down the cookie cutter because of the large amount of milk chocolate I was pouring in I was concerned it would move it out of place.

If I point out below the tiny little mistakes.  You’ll notice on the milk chocolate section the texture of the surface has the ripples from when I poured the chocolate in.  When pouring in it starts to cool down and thickens and if you keep on adding it slowly the last bit left in the bowl won’t pour so well leaving marks on the surface.  You can also see on the right hand side of the milk chocolate tiny little dots from tiny air bubbles created while stirring.

Do I care?  No.  It’s home made with love…no will notice because their greedy chocolate eyes will be thinking about eating it.  Besides if you worry about that kind of thing just add nuts, dried fruit or rice crispies that way it’s suppose to be a funny texture.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kavey November 20, 2010 at 10:04 am

Wow, you are a SUPER star, these are amazing! Really, really fantastic!

I had a competition on my blog recently to win Chocri bars, which started when the founders did the same as you have just done – made their own chocolate bars with toppings for gifts for friends and family. I did one dark chocolate bar with rose petals, almonds and real gold flakes and a milk chocolate one with figs, walnuts and flower petals. I would recommend a quick look at their site if you want some more ideas for toppings that could be fun like gummy bears and various candied fruit.

Yours look so beautiful! I’m quite inspired!

Azélia November 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Just had a look at their site Kavey and saw the range of toppings including the dried strawberries, love the idea of rose petals.

Sasa November 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm

These are beautiful, you must have got through a craptonne of chocolate!

Azélia November 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I sure did!

Joanna November 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Lovely swirls on that bar and so many ideas you’ve shared here, fantastic work – I have dipped my fingers into chocolate only once and it’s really not that easy to make it look as beautiful as you have here. This is such a funny post, I was smiling all the way through. Or maybe I was just smiling at the chocolate… ;)

Have you experimented with the caramelised white chocolate thing ? I kept reading people blogging about it and eventually I tried it, it took for ever and the result was suspiciously like the ‘caramac’ bars I remember eating as a kid. I have a jar of solidified caramelised white chocolate somewhere. Once I had made it I didn’t know what to do with it, hee hee

Azélia November 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Seriously Joanna…you make laugh! I’m just about to settle down to a film and I had to read out to husband your comment about the jar of solidified caramelised white choc…..!! Yes how true, you make something because of a wave of craze around the food community but then not necessarily something you actually like anyway. It’s like the French flipping macarons, I just don’t see the big deal with them, sugar and whatever flavour you put in but then I’m not crazy about meringue so kind of figures….However I will make some as now I want to see if I’m capable of such skill but need to give them away, after eating one I’m done.

The white caramelised thing I first came across in David Lebovitz blog when he wrote in a post about taking a group of chocolate shoppers visiting a chocolate shop where there was some to try….shortly after he posted a recipe on another post.

I have a jug of solidified vanilla caramel I was meant to do something with…it’s still on my windowsill with the vanilla pods in it…I lift the jug to clean the windowsill and place it back down again…it’s been like that for 6 wks…erm maybe 8wks!

Becca Rothwell November 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

Wow they look incredible! You keep saying how they look home made as well but if I received one of those bars for a present I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between that and one from a professional shop!

Another great idea for Christmas presents this year, thanks!

Azélia November 22, 2010 at 7:46 am

hi Becca – glad you like them…they are ideal presents aren’t they…chocolate lover’s dream.

Chocoholic’s Partner December 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Thanks, for all the tips, Azélia. I wanted to buy my partner a chocolate slab from Hotel de Chocolat but couldn’t afford it. So I was going to make it myself. Your tips have helped me greatly.

Azélia December 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

It pleases me no end when someone feels they have gained from my experience Chocoholic’s Partner!

Victoria September 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Can you make these slabs using Cooking chocolate like Sliver Spoon Cake covering? Or is it best just to buy good “eating” chocolate??

Silly question, sorry :-/

Azélia September 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

hi Victoria – I’m quite sure choc flavour covering will melt and harden again but I’ve never used it but my question would be would you want to eat something made of vegetable oil flavoured with chocolate?

In the cooking section of supermarkets they have supermarket own cooking choc or in eating choc section they have supermarket own label chocolate that is actually very good and cheaper than brand names. My suggestion would be to use proper chocolate and make a mini slab instead.

Wanda November 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hi there,

I was wondering if you’d need to temper the chocolate. It seems like a very important step that you’ve missed out – even if you used the best chocolate, the cocoa butter in the chocolate would form crappy crystals and the texture would just not be right.

Azélia November 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Over here Wanda I’ve never had the need to temper chocolate, but then I’m not buying ‘baking’ grade chocolate.

Lisa December 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Noo i couldn’t resist just eating all the melted chocolate XD
Thanks for the very helpful article! i went looking round all the shops for chocolate slab moulds, very clever idea to make them yourself ^^

Carol January 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Hi there
As a keen cook, cake baker and icer, and chocolate lover, I had inspiration in November to make my own chocolate slabs for christmas, just for friends and family. I was inundated with orders! I am now branching out for valentines and mothers day, and have told my friends I will be available for birthdays or any occasion. I am researching tempering as some of my chocolate bloomed, but I am so excited after the success of christmas, and have now added truffles to my list. I have my own little labels, and beautiful bags and wrappings for packaging, I love it.
I realise now more than ever I should never have worked in an office, and only wish I had the bottle to make a proper go of it. Thank you so much for your inspiration on this site. I will be a regular visitor. Carol xxx

Azélia January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

What fantastic news to read Carol, congratulations…your gifts sound just delightful…I bet your family and friends are forming an orderly queue for them, I would.

Send me photos if you have any and I’ll post them up on the blog.

Carol January 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I have done my valentibe samples now and still eagerly await the tempering thermometer!! I have a few photos which I would love to share with you. Can I post them here, or how would I send them, and thank you for that lovely response x

Azélia January 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Email them to me Carol

Kiran June 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I love you… awesome ideas… m surely a big big fan of urs…. yeah baby…

Nicola June 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I am dying to try the dark milk and white choc slab – roughly how much choc do I need for this please? 100 or 200 grams or more? Many thanks Nicola

Azélia June 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

hi Nicola – it all depends on the size of the mould you make. For the larger ones I made I think I used about 300-400 grams of chocolate, the little round ones which were much smaller about 150grm.

Karen July 7, 2012 at 1:17 am

Dear Azelia
This is amazing and such an inspiration! Just thinking of the different moulds possible makes this gift limited not only to Christmas presents but also for other occassions. Genius! I’d just like to ask though, how does one go about leaving the chocolate to set? Do we leave it at room temperature or move it to the fridge, and if so, how long for?

Best wishes to you and your family.

Azélia July 7, 2012 at 6:14 am

hi Karen – leave it at room temperature, and use eating quality otherwise you might need to temper the chocolate first.

Carolyn Warlow September 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

Dear Azelia,

Thanks for this post-your slabs look fantastic and very professional. I was hoping to make some this Christmas, but looking at a number of recipes e.g.chocolate bark for information about shelf life, they seem to suggest a short shelf life of about a week. How long would you slabs last for? And do you store them at room temperature? Best wishes, Carolyn

Azélia September 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Stored them at room temperature Carolyn and I really don’t know how long as I’ve always eaten them too quickly.

Charlotte September 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm

These look amazing. Definitely going to try some of these for Christmas!

Sue October 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi can u tell me how u make the moulds cos I don’t understand how u stop then from leaking using tin foil.
Really want to make the slabs. I have spent a lot on hotel chocolate slabs and this would be south fun to do my own

Azélia October 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm

hi Sue – look at the photos I have of the molds I’ve made, can you see I’ve stuck cellotape on the outside? That’s just to keep the mold put and stop it from moving when you add the melted chocolate. When you cellotape it (on the outside) make sure the sides are down tight against the surface foil. The chocolate will be a thick consistency which helps not to leak out.

Sue October 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for the help with that, might be something I can try. Bought some mould but they are so smal and not what I want for the job really. X

sandy December 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hello, love these and made quite a few but after about a week all of them have become mottled. Is there anything I can do? Or start again and if so how can I avoid it happening again? They look AMAZING, so sad this has happened …

Azélia December 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Sandy – only thing can think of is that some chocolate needs tempering before using. Also I don’t store the slabs in the fridge either.

sandy December 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Thanks will have a look at getting a thermometer, will try and try again!

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