I don’t know about you but at this time of year, with the holidays around the corner, I’m always looking for simple, easy to make treats which I can put together in about 1 hour and which can be presented at a moment’s notice for guests or toted to a dinner party as a quick hostess gift. My chocolate lollies are the quintessential solution to this dilemma. They are incredibly easy to make, take about 30 minutes to put together and then only about another 30 minutes in the freezer. I’ve talked already about how much fun it can be to bake with your kids. Making chocolate lollipops together is a sure fire recipe for happiness. What could be more relaxing than melting chocolate together, stirring in a nut butter along with some crushed crisped rice cereal and a hint of sweetness and then placing the heady mixture into molds.
This treat is so easy, it doesn’t even require a formal recipe. Follow my step by step pictures the first time and the next time you make them (and the next and the next) you won’t even have to reference the words at all – it’s that simple.
Peanut Butter/ Sun Butter Chocolate Lollies
A few words first. I did try this recipe with different nut butters before finalizing which one worked best. Why include nut butter at all, you ask? Well, the most straightforward answer is that I wanted to include quite a bit of protein. Call me a health nut if you must. The second reason is that I wanted to impart a creamy texture and we all know that nut praline is incomparable in flavor.
But I certainly did not forget about those of you who have a nut allergy. Far from it. Below I have provided an alternative by substituting sun butter for peanut butter. I have found that many of my clients are leery of using sun butter, either because its texture is drier than that of regular peanut butter or because their experiences in the past have put them off this particular product. It’s true, sun butter is not quite as moist as conventional peanut butter. All that is required, however, is a little tweaking to the proportions and a lovely lolly can be enjoyed by all.
Chocolate Know How
Coarsely chop 3-1/2 ounces of good quality bittersweet or white chocolate. Chopping the chocolate coarsely actually makes the chocolate easier to melt in less time.
Transfer the chocolate to the top of a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl set atop a pot of lightly simmering water. One of the keys here is to make sure that the water is lightly simmering and not boiling. You don’t want the water to boil and run the risk of having some of that water inadvertently comes into contact with the chocolate and “seize” it. “Seizing” is a technical term that refers to when a disproportionate amount of water comes into contact with some melting chocolate. What happens next isn’t pretty. The chocolate will immediately resolidify into a mass. “Seized” chocolate is irrecoverable! I tell you this not to frighten you off because it’s simply not going to happen if your water is only at a light simmer.
Let the chocolate melt slowly, refraining from stirring it until 2/3 of it has already melted. If you stir it sooner than that, you are actually encouraging the melted chocolate to resolidify. As soon as at least ¾ of the chocolate has melted, feel free to remove it from the top of the double boiler and stir gently, coaxing the remaining ¼ to melt.
Meanwhile, place 2-1/2 cups of crisped rice cereal into a ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, lightly crush.
Once the chocolate has been removed from the heat and is completely melted, stir in ¾ cup of smooth peanut butter. Once the peanut butter is incorporated, stir in the crushed crisped rice cereal. Stir in ¼ cup of agave nectar or pure maple syrup.
Variation: If you are using sun butter, please use the following proportions. Melt 5 oz of dark or white chocolate as instructed above. Once melted, stir in ½ cup of sun butter. The amount of crisped rice cereal and agave stay the same.
Place lollipop sticks into molds.
Spoon mixture into molds, filling completely.
Place molds in freezer for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pop chocolates out of mold. Do not lift by the lollipop stick which encourages breakage. Tie up decoratively in cellophane wrapping or place in your favorite collectible tin or gift box or even in a small planter to act as a centerpiece on your holiday table.
Next week: Exciting new recipes from Estee Kafra, Norene Gilletz and Nechama Cohen.