White Chocolate Candy Bars:
3/4 cup (75 grams) pistachios, chopped
9 ounces (255 grams) white chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest (the outer orange skin of an orange)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup (80 grams) dried cranberries or cherries, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (80 grams) dried apricots, cut into small pieces
White Chocolate Candy Bars: Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) square baking pan with aluminum foil.
In your food processor, place the white chocolate and process until the chocolate is in small pieces. Add the orange zest and juice and pulse until combined (just a few seconds).
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the cream and corn syrup just to a boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate in the food processor and pulse just until the mixture is smooth and the white chocolate has completely melted.
Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the chopped cranberries, apricots, and pistachios. Spread the mixture into your prepared pan and let cool to room temperature (about an hour). Lift the bars from the pan by holding the edges of the foil and place on a cutting board. Cut into 64 - 1 inch (2.5 cm) bars or 32 - 4 x 1/2 inch (10 x 1.25 cm) bars. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Serve in fluted candy paper cups.
Makes 63 - 1 inch (2.54 cm) bars or 32 - 4 x 1/2 inch (10 x 1.25 cm) bars.
White Chocolate Candy Bars combine melted white chocolate with dried fruits, orange juice and zest, and chopped nuts. An easy confection to make as the ingredients are just mixed together, spread into a pan, and left to set. This recipe makes an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan of squares. You can cut them into any size you like, but I find either thin long bars (shown in picture) or small squares to be very nice. These White Chocolate Candy Bars should be stored in the refrigerator.
White Chocolate has always been the mysterious chocolate, treated differently because according to the FDA, 'officially' it is not chocolate at all. That is because 'chocolate' must be made of cocoa fat (cocoa butter) and nonfat dry cocoa solids, an ingredient that is not found in white chocolate. So here we are, everyone thinks its chocolate, calls it chocolate, but its really isn't chocolate, its "white confectionery coating". The one thing we must do is to choose our white chocolate carefully, making sure that the label states that it contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, vanilla, and lecithin. White chocolate needs cocoa butter as this is what gives it that sweet yet mellow flavor and smooth and creamy texture. Inferior brands use vegetable fat as its substitute and their flavor is very sweet and artificial tasting. Another tell tailed sign its not good white chocolate is its color. White chocolate containing cocoa butter is pale yellow to ivory colored, whereas white chocolate containing vegetable fat is pure white in color. My favorite brands are Lindt and Callebaut.
Dried fruits are added to the melted white chocolate and while I have used dried cranberries (or cherries) and apricots you can use other dried fruits. Dried fruits have come a long way in recent years in both availability and quality but there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your fruit. First, try to buy in bulk from a grocery store or natural food store that has a high turnover. Not only will the fruit be fresher, but you can see, smell, feel, and often taste the fruit to make sure it is fresh and of high quality. Pre-packaged fruit can also be excellent but it is harder to tell the quality of the fruit through the plastic bag. Make sure to check the expiration date on the bag. Always look for dried fruit that is plump, moist, and has good color. Never buy fruit that is dried out or moldy. There is a debate about whether to buy 'sulphured' or 'unsulphured' dried fruits. Some like to buy 'sulphured' which means that it has been treated with a sulphur dioxide solution. This preserves the fruit's bright color and makes the fruit very soft and moist. The downside is that some people can taste the preservative while others are allergic. Of course, 'unsulphured' means it has not been treated before it is dried and some say the flavor of untreated dried fruits is far superior. The downside is that the fruit's color may be slightly faded looking, especially dried fruits (like apples, pears, and bananas) that oxidize quickly.