I only discovered popping candy a couple of years ago, when I made the Masterchef Lolly Bag cake, and I have been looking for it in the shops ever since, because it is my new favourite thing. Well, around about Easter, I discovered that not only was it available at Woollies, but their particular variety was super popping. As in, I washed my hands after putting popping candy in something, and the sink crackled and cackled for about five minutes after I stopped running the water. Awesome.
Of course, the first thing one must decide is what to put one’s popping candy in, but to me this was easy. I mean, chocolate crackles are all well and good, especially if you take my approach and fill them with as much dark chocolate as they can hold, but their name is rather misleading, don’t you think? Chocolate crackles are chocolatey, certainly, and they are crunchy, too, but they hardly crackle.
Well, they do when you put popping candy in them. Boy, do they. For best results, I recommend not telling people in advance about the popping candy, either. (Even if one does tell people, the look on the faces of those who have never had popping candy before is quite priceless.)
This would have been my Eurovision dessert this year if I hadn’t gone all classy and stuck with proper Austrian food (Cross-Dressing Ken didn’t even make an appearance this year – I was too tired from work on the Friday, I was at a class on chou pastry on the Saturday, and I was not up for making a Cross-Dressing Ken cake that would be ready for our 5 am festivities when we got up early to vote. Fortunately, Conchita was so fabulous that Ken was not much missed.). It just screams Eurovision. Though for best results, these crackles probably deserve just a little bit of edible glitter on top…
This recipe is super-easy, as befits a chocolate crackle recipe. It makes about 16 quite decadent and rich chocolate crackles suitable for grownups – I use really dark chocolate and glacé ginger, so I’m not sure how child-friendly these crackles would be. But you could always use popping candy in an ordinary crackle recipe if you wanted…
Your shopping list
200 g dark chocolate (I like Lindt 70%)
75 g crystallised ginger
30 ml pistachio or almond butter
3 cups (750 ml) rice bubbles or their gluten-free equivalent
50 ml popping candy
Now what will you do with it?
Break your chocolate into small pieces, and melt it in a medium-large glass or plastic bowl. I do this by microwaving it on 50% for about 3-4 minutes, going 1 minute at a time and stirring in between. Chocolate can burn quite fast, so if you haven’t melted chocolate in your microwave before, please do go slowly and don’t forget to do lots of stirring.
While the chocolate is melting, chop your crystallised ginger finely.
When the chocolate is melted, add the pistachio butter, and stir well, so that it gets nicely incorporated into the chocolate. Then mix in the rice bubbles and the ginger, and last of all the popping candy – the candy will start going off as soon as it touches the liquid chocolate, so putting it in last means that it won’t go off all guns blazing while you are making the crackles, leaving no crackle left for when you eat it.
Spoon the mixture into patty cases (I got about 16 from this amount), or into a 20cm square tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm, or, if you are in Melbourne this week, just walk outside with it for 20 seconds and you’ll be done. If you’ve made this in a big tray, you’ll want to cut it into chunks before serving.
Serve, being careful to tell people that the crackles contain nuts, as they might have allergies, but absolutely avoiding warning them about the popping candy. The popping candy should be a magnificent surprise!
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free if you use the gluten-free puffed rice cereal that I am too lazy to buy unless I actually know I am entertaining the gluten-free, and low in fructose. It does, of course, contain nuts and it is not remotely low GI.
You can fiddle around with the flavours a lot – I like my crackles inky black and dark, but they would work just fine with white chocolate and a handful of freeze-dried strawberries replacing the dark chocolate and ginger, or with milk chocolate and coconut butter replacing the chocolate and the pistachio butter for a more traditional flavour profile. Go wild! Just don’t leave out the popping candy. According to me, all chocolate crackles should contain popping candy forever. Because otherwise, why call them crackles?