Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A choc-coconut obsession: vintage recipe experimenting

Over at the wonderful Jessica's blog Chronically Vintage, she recently shared a vintage recipe (from an advertisement) for chocolate coconut marble bars as a treat she was considering making for her husband's birthday. I liked the look of them and decided I'd try them too.
1952 advertisement featuring the recipe. Original source here; via Chronically Vintage's post here

I made the recipe as written except I used their allowed  substitution of self-raising flour and instead of heating the chocolate, sugar and water in a double boiler I used the microwave, as I generally do for all chocolate melting tasks. I also skimmed over the pan size (inches too tedious to convert) and grabbed my default slice pan.
Take one: too cakey. 
They were tasty but were honestly cake. Does this resemble those flat slices in the advertisement? No.  And the chocolate mix to marble on top was just weird. A horrible consistency. It made way more than I needed for the drizzling on top. It did marble very nicely though.

Take two involved two pans, more in line with the actual specifications in the recipe. I went back to plain flour with the added baking powder and salt. I also halved the amounts for the chocolate mix and did it in a double boiler. This made it much smoother, but now it resembled hot chocolate - definitely chocolatey, but a thin liquid rather than the chunky suspension of version one.
Take two: where did my marbling go?
As a result, the marbling on this version was barely noticeable. These pictured ones have the most distinct marbling of the lot - many squares were just a uniform brown as the chocolate mix was making puddles instead of lines. The height was better but it still didn't seem as I'd imagined.

Take three involved two changes. First, I abandoned the chocolate sugar water mix and just used melted chocolate. Second, I used only two eggs, as modern eggs are generally larger. I added an extra half a tablespoon of milk to help compensate but I was being urged to by my toddler assistant and it could have coped without it.

Take three: so close!
I'm finally happy with the main bar height and consistency but I'm not sure the straight chocolate was great for marbling - it looks amazing on the surface but didn't go into the main body of the bars at all.

So if I made this again, I'd stick with only two eggs, and the two pans.  I might go back to the first take on the chocolate mix, but use half the amount of chocolate and a quarter of the sugar and water.  If I do though it will be in a while - all these experiments have made my household a bit tired of them. When offered a piece, my toddler announced "not that cookie". Oops. Perhaps I have been a bit obsessed.