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Peanut and chocolate caramel bars

Peanut and chocolate caramel bars (For about 20 bars )

Ingredients and tools

2 cans (800ml) of unsweetened evaporated milk

400g of brown sugar

400g of castor sugar

300g of unsalted butter

8g of salt

2 cans (about 400g) of salted peanut - For the Peanut and chocolate caramel bars

1 can (about 200g) of salted peanut - For the decoration

400g of *compound chocolate (white/ dark as per your preference)

Rectagular pan of 23cm by 33cm

Cellophane bags

4-5 drops of green food colouring (optional)

20ml of vanilla essence (or 10ml of pure vanilla extract)

Candy thermometer

Note: Please see at the end of this recipe some information about the difference between 'compound' and 'normal' chocolates .


Procedure

Step 1 : Using your electric grinder, grind your salted peanut (~400g / 2 cans) until it becomes a relatively fine powder .

Step 2: In your pan (on low-medium heat), roast your peanut powder until it becomes slightly brown and smells heavenly ... Then transfer your roasted peanut in a bowl or on a piece of aluminium foil to cool. Set aside for use in step 7. Prepare your 23cm x 33cm pan (line with slightly greased parchment paper).

Step 3: In a large pan, add both brown and castor sugar, salt, butter followed by your evaporated milk.

Step 4: Mix mix mix (wooden or silicon spoon or spatula) while on medium heat and please be aware that your mixture will start to rise and foam (ensure that your pan is large and high enough ) as soon as it starts to boil as indicated below (right).

Step 5: Mixture rising and foaming while boiling ! (ensure that your pan is large and high enough )


Step 6: As soon as your mixture starts to thicken (takes about 15 minutes), get your candy thermometer and wait until it reads 115 to 116 degrees Celsius ('Soft-ball stage' in candy making) while continuing to mix with your silicon or wooden spatula .

Step 7 : Once the Soft-ball stage is reached (115 to 116 degrees Celsius), turn off the heat, transfer your mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes. After which add your roasted salted peanut .

Step 8: Then add your vanilla and green food colouring and preferably using your electric mixer, mix mix mix for about 1-2 minutes until your mixture has started to thicken and become gritty .


Step 9: Transfer your mixture into your prepared pan from step 2. Allow to cool completely, then wrap/ cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator to harden for at least 5 hours or overnight .

Note: You will remark that I have lined my pan with slightly greased aluminium foil. However I would recommend that you use slightly greased parchment paper instead as mentioned earlier in step 2 ...

Step 10: Using your meat hammer or rolling pin, crush your remaining peanut (1 can/ ~200g) coarsely as shown below (right) ...

Step 11: Melt your *compound chocolate in the microwave (you may use white/ colored compound chocolate or dark compound chocolate as per your preference).

* Please see at the end of this recipe some information about the difference between 'compound' and 'normal' chocolates.

Step 12: Take out your peanut caramel block from the refrigerator and its pan, remove the parchment paper and cut into bars as shown below... !

Step 13: Using a fork, take one bar and place it in your melted chocolate (for a chocolate bath ).

Step 14: Then before your chocolate starts to harden, quickly sprinkle some coarse peanuts (obtained in step 10) for that sexy look and voila !

Step 15: Repeat step 13 and 14 with all the remaining bars !


Step 16: Once the chocolate has hardened, seal all your bars in plastic/ cellophane bags as shown below .

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But what is the difference between 'compound' and 'normal' chocolates ?

Compound chocolate is normally made using vegetable fat (coconut oil, palm oil etc...) as shown below. The advantage with this type of chocolate is that it does not require any tempering, that is when you melt it, you are sure that when it cools down, it will return to its normal solid/ crisp state.

On the other side, normal chocolate is actually made using cocoa butter (reason why it is more tasty than compound chocolate ) as shown below (left). In this case the chocolate requires to be tempered for it to reproduce its initial solid, crisp and shiny state when it cools down after melting. The image below (right) shows the different temperatures required when tempering dark, milk and white chocolate respectively. Hope this helps...


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