Monday, March 6, 2017

Satisfying My Sweet Tooth with Homemade Almond Bark


Chocolate and almonds are good for heart health. Really! Almonds help prevent oxidation of fats, which leads to arterial plaque formation and chocolate improves blood flow to your heart and brain (healthyeating.sfgate.com). Does life get any better than this, with a medically-approved excuse to eat chocolate covered almonds? With this fantastic information, I set out to quench my sweet tooth, and on a budget, no less! I used grocery store semi-sweet chocolate chips and whole roasted almonds to make this confection, in my very ordinary kitchen; with mere minutes of hands-on effort; and using just my microwave, a sheet of waxed paper, and a glass bowl.



What I Did
I melted the chocolate chips in short bursts, with vigorous stirring, until the chips were a swirling, melty mass. After roasting the whole almonds, I spread them on a small sheet of waxed paper, followed by spooning the melted chocolate over all.


I tossed the coated almonds from the outside edges, and into the center, until everything was covered in chocolate. I let it sit overnight and that was it. Just to enhance the sense that this is indeed a treat item, after breaking into bite-size pieces I stored them in an empty See's chocolates box. "Make believe" is good.

The Exciting Part: Cost Breakdown

This product was probably the closest in quality to what I made at home. My candy had a higher proportion of almonds (the more expensive ingredient), but perhaps a slightly lower quality of semi-sweet chocolate.

I used about 1/3 cup of bulk bin whole almonds, roasted and unsalted, and 3/4 cup of WinCo semi-sweet chocolate chips. 1/3 cup of almonds weighs approximately 2.67 ounces, and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips weighs 4.5 ounces. My end product weighed about 7.17 ounces.

My almonds cost 75 cents for 1/3 cup, and the chocolate chips cost 63 cents, yielding a total cost for my candy at $1.38 for 7.17 ounces.

The Special Dark with almonds sell for $3.84 in a 12 ounce bag, at Wal-Mart. 7.17 ounces of Special Dark w/ almonds nuggets would cost $2.29, or 91 cents more than my homemade version.

Another way to look at the cost breakdown is this: the standard size Hershey bar with almonds weighs about 1.45 ounces. My product yields about 4.94 standard size bars. My cost per equivalent size bar is about 28 cents each bar. Not a bad deal for this chocolate-loving girl.

You already know that I am trying to stick to a budget and not buy luxury foods this month; making treats with the ingredients that I have in my kitchen is helping me maintain my resolve. I think I have some bags of milk chocolate chips in the pantry. Next time . . . homemade peanut butter cups!

14 comments:

  1. Yum, looks great. I think chocolate bark of any kind is one of the easiest "treats" to make, but looks and tastes very decadent. And what a great way to use the ingredients you already had on hand. Will you be sharing this treat with your family, or savour it for yourself? (LOL)

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    1. Hi Jayne,
      "Chocolate? What chocolate? There's no chocolate here," she says with the creamy, sweet smear on her lips. Am I going to be graded on how well I share with others?
      Have a great day, Jayne!

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  2. That does look good.

    I've been MIA since I took Friday off and had a long weekend. I had lots of little things to do and mom had a small list for me too! I happily work on her list since that means she is feeling good.

    We spent a bit of money on Saturday. We bought the 4-step fertilizer plan for the summer and new sidewalk solar lights for this spring. Ours are so old and now they are cracking and breaking so it's time for new ones.

    I made all our meals from the freezer--beef stew on Sat. and meatloaf on Sunday. Tonight will be homemade pizza.

    Hubby is home today and his assignment is to vacuum all the registers and mop the kitchen floor. We have wood-like linoleum floor and the chairs have pads on the bottom so the floor doesn't scratch but they come off all the time. His task is to find something that doesn't come off and scratch the floor.

    Alice

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like you had a busy long weekend, and got quite a lot done, for your household as well as your parents. I hope you also found some down time over the weekend. Good job on making your meals from what you had on hand! And pizza sounds delicious! Enjoy it!
      Have a great day, Alice!

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    2. You inspired me to make a treat with stuff in the house. So I made oatmeal bars. Oatmeal butter, sugar then after it was baked and cooled, it was topped with semisweet choc. chips and PB melted together. A sweet treat that freezes well.
      Alice

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    3. Good for you, Alice! That sounds yummy, and easy. Enjoy your treat!

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  3. Sounds delicious, Lili. I'm not sure semi-sweet chocolate chips technically qualify for healthy chocolate (I think your chocolate is supposed to be at least 70% cocoa beans something like that ... ) but I don't think I'd say no to your treats if you offered them to me! :) I'm thinking of making a chocolate treat for me family (or me ... ) today ... hmmm, you've got me pondering the possibilities!

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    1. Hi Kris,
      Okay, then I'll say I'm eating the semi-sweet chocolate for its iron content. Enjoy your chocolate treat today, Kris!

      Delete
  4. Hooray, Lili! Such a nice treat for you! I think that there's a certain mindset that goes with a well-stocked kitchen/pantry/freezer that can help you see the possibilities you have on-hand... even when the cupboard seems bare.

    I have always tried to point this out to our kids, and now that they're on their own, they don't necessarily HAVE to run to the store and spend more to have a treat or make one more meal. A great skill in a snowstorm or when cash or time are tight. :)

    Like you, I get a little charge of satisfaction out of "solving that puzzle" and coming up with something delicious. Sara

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    1. Hi Sara,
      I hope my kids have internalized that message, too. Knowing that you can make something delicious, while sticking to a tight budget keeps us from feeling deprived. And as you point out, sometimes it's a time-saver to make treats at home. We all could use more hours in a day!
      Have a great day, Sara!

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  5. As you know, nothing happens in our home, as far as our day to day quality of life existence, by design or great planning effort. However, we happen to be enjoying dark chocolate peanut mounds and dark chocolate dipped strawberries too. All started with 90 oz of Ghiradelli dark chocolate melts (I bought three 30 oz bags at 91 cents each at Sams Club), and in store sale on strawberries.

    I am thinking, next clearance, I will dehydrate some strawberries to keep on hand for our morning cereal. I like the result of dehydrating swiss chard stems. It's been a bit unappetizing to eat freshly steamed, so now I can add the dehydrated stems to fried rice, and other sautéed or stewed dishes. Not sure how well it will keep on the shelf without freezing, but I hope at least 6 months to a year, in a jar with a desiccant. I am also waiting for a good sale on mushrooms to dehydrate. We like to have mushrooms on hand for pizza making, so keeping in dehydrated form, mushrooms purchased at a good price seems to be a good idea.

    Have a good Monday!

    YHF

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    Replies
    1. Hi YHF,
      chocolate covered strawberries sound delicious! I am looking forward to berry season. It sounds like you're getting a lot of use out of your dehydrator. I've done mushrooms a few times and really like the texture of them after rehydrating. They add a meat-like texture to dishes. And the water that I've soaked them in to rehydrate makes a tasty soup stock.

      Enjoy your day, YHF!

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.