I’ve become quite addicted to the combination of dark chocolate (and caramel) with sea salt but I rather resent paying through the nose for what is simply a clever combination of everyday ingredients.
So I borrowed and adapted this recipe from my culinary hero, Nigel Slater and although Nigel’s are prettier than mine (he also decorates his with French sugared violet and rose petals…hard to find in the Colorado Rockies), the slightly-sweet toasted almonds are perfect when accompanied by just a few flakes of Himalayan pink salt and the resulting sweet/salty crunch makes these crisp dark chocolate discs irresistibly good.
They’re easy to make and because they look professional, they’d be a perfect gift for a chocoholic friend if you can bear to part with them.
You don’t necessarily have to use Himalayan pink salt (which I’m reluctant to call ‘sea salt’, although it did originate from the ocean a godzillion years ago) – there are so many varieties of salt available these days, ranging in color from black to white with all shades of grey in between – but I wouldn’t recommend using iodized table salt as they do require something a little more elegant.
BTW, the quantity of flaked almonds suggested here will leave you with some left over but as they’re wonderful sprinkled on yoghurt or ice cream, just store them in an airtight container.
DARK CHOCOLATE DISCS with TOASTED ALMONDS & SEA SALT
(Makes approx ten 2-3 inch/50-80cm discs)
4 oz (100g) of good quality dark chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
2 oz (57g) of flaked almonds
Half a teaspoon of fine white sugar
A few grinds of pink Himalayan or your favorite sea salt
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a wide non-stick pan, stir the almond flakes with the sugar over a medium heat until the sugar crystals have dissolved and incorporated with the almond flakes and the flakes have turned golden. Take them off the heat.
Put the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come into contact with the water. Cover the bowl with a lid and check it after about 5 minutes. Stick a fork in there and swirl the chocolate around, making sure it’s completely melted. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl of melted chocolate over the pan of hot water while you make them.
Using a tablespoon or large dessertspoon, scoop up some melted chocolate and drop it onto the baking parchment, then gently using the back of the spoon in a circular motion, create a thin circle of chocolate about 2-3 inches across (really easy). Immediately scatter the chocolate disc with a few flaked almonds and a pinch of salt, then repeat until you have about ten in all.
Put the tray in the fridge for an hour or so to set and chill the chocolate, then lift the discs off carefully with a thin metal spatula and store them in an airtight container. They’ll be quite fragile and very, very good.