For this Valentine’s Day, I am sharing a chocolatey story and recipe.
Chocolate bars with one or more wafer/biscuit layers are very popular all around the World. Here in Canada, I was able to find several examples:
In the photo below, with cross sections, counter clock-wise from top left (all names in bold in this post are ™): Canada’s own Coffee Crisp, introduced in 1938, with its unique layered wafers and coffee flavoured sweet filling; Great Britain’s McVitie’s Club, a chocolate-covered orange flavoured crunchy biscuit; globally known KitKat, original layered wafers with milk chocolate (now in hundreds of flavours, from white chocolate to green tea), mini sticks; and Kit Kat Chunky, the largest version; Australian TimTam, a chocolate biscuit sandwich with chocolate cream filling (now also in other flavours); Kras Original Choco Napolitanke, from Croatia, with 5 layers of wafer, chocolate cream and dark chocolate; and finally, at a Mexican grocer, I also found Tin Larín, a wafer sandwich with peanut-flavoured filling and covered with milk chocolate:
Fábrica Modelo de Chocolates y Dulces Larín opened as a chocolate and candy factory in Mexico City, way back in 1892. It grew into a very well established business, with many stores selling fancy chocolate boxes and other arrangements; the brand name also brings to mind several chocolate bars that were sold at corner stores and supermarkets, including the favourite, Tin Larín. The wrapper has not changed its bright yellow and green colours, and has always portrayed happy children, although the design has changed over the years. In the photos above, recent examples, and below, a TV ad from the 1980s:
A village made of candy serves as the backdrop for “casa Larín“, which is discovered by two children. Inside, a geometrically shaped character (the iconic company’s logo for many years) shows his amity to the young visitors by preparing a fresh batch of chocolate bars (in this case, Tin Larín.) Larín became the second largest chocolate company in Mexico, after La Azteca, which was bought by Quaker in 1970; in 1988, Larín was also purchased, and in 1995, they all became part of giant multinational Nestlé. Since then, many chocolate products in Mexico have disappeared, and others have changed, sometimes not for the better, becoming artificially flavoured or of lower quality. Unfortunately, Tin Larín seems to have gone down that road; when my husband and I tasted all the different bars pictured above, our favourites were: first, British McVitie’s Club and second, Australian TimTam, then Kras Choco Napolitane, Coffee Crisp, a tie for the two KitKats, and the very last place was, sadly but unequivocally, for Tin Larín. The chocolate coating tasted artificial and too sugary, and the wafer sandwich felt dry, with hardly a trace of peanut flavour.
That was enough to decide to make my own, old-fashioned, homemade version; it was not hard to improve on the commercial bar, by choosing good quality ingredients, such as semi-sweet chocolate and all-natural peanut butter.
Wafer Chocolate Bars with Creamy Peanut Filling
Ingredients (for four bars)
1-2 wafer sheets (such as those used for German torte*)
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (preferably all-natural)
1 tbsp margarine (non-hydrogenated)
1 tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 oz (57 g) baking semi-sweet chocolate
Place one wafer sheet on a perfectly flat cutting board; using the tip of a very sharp knife, trim the edges if from round shape, then slice into strips, approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) in width (photo below, left). Cut sections from each strip, to obtain 1.5×6 in (4×15 cm) rectangles (photo below, right):
Repeat with the second wafer sheet, if needed, to have at least 8 rectangles. Set aside.
Place the peanut butter, margarine and sugar in a small bowl (photo below, left), and mix thoroughly until creamy and uniform (photo below, right):
Arrange four of the reserved wafer rectangles on the working surface, with the grid pattern facing up; divide the filling amongst them, spreading to coat, then close with another wafer rectangle (grid facing down) to form sandwiches:
Place the chocolate in a heatproof container (photo below, left). Using the microwave oven, or placing the container over a bath of hot water, melt the chocolate. Dip each sandwich in the melted chocolate, spreading to cover over all sides (photo below, right):
Transfer to a rack, and repeat with the rest of the sandwiches. Once they are all covered, allow to rest on the rack, until the chocolate sets:
In the photo at the top of this post, my homemade wafer bars, whole and in cross section, and below, a comparison between a commercial Tin Larín bar, on the left, and my homemade version, on the right:
I have to admit that my bars look rougher than the bought ones, definitely handmade (LOL), but the flavour was so much better; the chocolate coat was very rich, and the filling was far tastier and had a pleasant and distinctive peanut flavour. When tested against all the other commercial bars, my homemade Tin Larín-style bars did not beat the original top choices (British McVitie’s Club and the Australian TimTam), but they got a decent third place, at the same level as the Croatian Kras Choco Napolitane, and above Canadian favourite Coffee Crisp.
* For your convenience, click on the images below for products available on Amazon™. DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you (thank you to readers who have bought other products starting with a click from my links!):
I am sharing this post at Thursday Favourite Things #477, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode. Special thanks to Bev, for featuring my Coffee in Mexico and Café con Leche at this party.