I remember a meal I had at a Michelin restaurant in the center of France where, at the very end of the meal, they brought a small tray to the table filled with chocolates, tiny lemony madeleines, and miniature cookies. The round chocolates spiked with almonds were so delicious that I tracked down a recipe for them and have made them ever since.
I played around a bit with a traditional recipe for Rochers aux Amandes and came up with this rendition, which I call Chocolate Rocks. They couldn’t be easier to make, or more interesting to experiment with.
Chocolate rocks are perfect for hiding things inside. A raisin. A hazelnut. Dried cherries or cranberries. Minced orange peel. Before you put the rocks in the refrigerator, you could sprinkle them with fleur de sel. Or roll them in grated coconut. Cinnamon dust. Star dust. Whatever you have.
They are elegant enough for any dinner party. And just one goes very nicely on the saucer beside your coffee.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter and the instant coffee granules together, then gently stir in the almonds. Remove from the heat and keep stirring until the chocolate mixture is cool enough to handle and shape.
Lay out a piece of parchment or wax paper on a baking tray and begin shaping the chocolate mixture into little balls. I use two teaspoons, one to hold the chocolate mixture, the other to push it off onto the paper. If you are “hiding” something inside, place it on top of the first spoonful of chocolate, then top with the second spoonful or chocolate and roll.
Refrigerate the “rocks” for 30 minutes, then serve.