chocolate crunch

It was almost two years ago when I first read the story behind Mast Brothers Chocolate. 

The brothers’ chocolate factory was featured in The New Brooklyn Cookbook that I found sitting on my sister’s shelf in her Brooklyn apartment.

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Their story is one to remember. 

Rick and Michael Mast are two brothers from Iowa who are now living in Brooklyn, New York, where they started a bean-to-bar craft chocolate shop. The Mast Brothers, who began making chocolate out of their New York apartment and selling it at farmer’s markets, are now one of the few American chocolate makers to have this bean-to-bar craft chocolate system. 

The cocoa beans are roasted right there in their factory where they create small batches of chocolate that they wrap up and sell. Not only that, but the brothers maintain close relationships with the farmers who supply them the cocoa beans.

And to top it off, the chocolate bars are wrapped in the coolest matte wrapping paper.

it.is.all.just.too.awesome.

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While I was in Brooklyn this January, I had one destination on my mind: the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory.

The factory is in the trendy area of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The factory’s kitchen is all open and visible, with a tall warehouse ceiling and rustic walls of exposed brick. But, it is not too big, giving it a personal and welcoming feel.

Upon entering the chocolate shop, big burlap bags filled with cocoa beans were stacked by the brick wall.  A bowl of complementary chocolate granola and samples of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had were at the counter. 

Now, this is my kind of store. 

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This past fall, I had caught a glimpse of the brothers’ new Mast Brothers Chocolate Family Cookbook in Anthropologie. I immediately flipped through it and the first recipe that caught my eye was “Chocolate Crunch.”

The description hooked me in: “perfect for a long hike, breakfast on the run, or mid-afternoon cravings. Make plenty ahead of time and keep them handy.”

Seriously…any chocolate recipe that states it is good enough to eat for a nourishing snack is my kind of chocolate! 

I suddenly started seeing this book being sold everywhere I went.  So, you can bet my excitement this Christmas when my boyfriend gave me this chocolate cookbook… along with an avocado tree (yes, you heard me right) and a big bag of the softest candied ginger. You see, these are the little things that make my life complete.

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Well, I am finally in my kitchen with this book.

The first recipe I made that I must share is the Chocolate Crunch, of course!

This chocolate crunch is so simple to make, and it seriously just melts in your mouth after you crunch into it.

I know you will all loooove it as much as I do!

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Okay.

I know, I know…

I got a bit carried away with the story behind this recipe. 

But it holds a very close place in my baker heart. 

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I made my version a tad healthier than the Mast Brothers’ recipe by cutting the butter in half, using gluten-free brown rice puffed cereal, and Smuckers all-natural peanut butter. But don’t you worry, the flavor is still the same! 

So, aside from the butter, I would call this a healthy treat.  And, if you know me, you know I am all about healthy treats. 

Especially when they taste like this…

Chocolate Crunch

From Mast Brothers Family Cookbook

  • 1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) good quality dark chocolate, chopped (I recommend Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips)
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter (I cut this amount in half and used 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (I use Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups puffed rice cereal (I use gluten-free brown rice puffed cereal)

Directions:

- In a double boiler, or microwave in 30 second increments, melt the chocolate and butter. Add in the peanut butter and honey. Mix until it is all melted and blended.

- In a large bowl pour the puffed cereal and pour the melted chocolate over the cereal and mix until it is all coated in the chocolate (or just pour the cereal into the bowl on the double boiler).

- Press into a 9-inch square baking pan and press it down and smooth it out.  Let it set into the refrigerator until it is firm.  At least an hour. 

- Cut into squares or thin slices.

- MY TIP:  you can cut this recipe in half and it will use exactly 1 bag of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips, 2 cups cereal, 2 tablespoon of natural pb and ½ tablespoon honey. I cut the butter to 3 tablespoons.

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Peanut butter, chocolate, and a little bit of crunch…

I think the Mast Brothers would approve.