If you are helping with a school party, are hosting a graduation party, or are looking for a teacher's gift, why not try your hand at making these edible leather books? I used raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and apricot fruit leather and found that the apricot leather was tougher, thicker, and dryer than the others. I had to add some honey to the pages to make them stick. Try to find fruit leather that are very fresh (look for the expiration date on the package) for the best results. The leathers should be pliable and a bit sticky on one side. Don't ask me why they are sticky on one side, I couldn't tell you, but they tend to be, and it works very well for this recipe.
Edible Books Made from Fruit Leather and Honey Scented White Modeling Chocolate (makes 12 books)
Before you begin: If you haven't made modeling chocolate before or haven't melted chocolate, you should read my chocolate making tutorial.. All brands of white chocolate or white candy melts have varying amounts of cocoa butter or oil, so this recipe is just a guide. You may need to add more or possibly less honey. I used Peters White Caps which are similar to Merckens Super White Coatings or Wilton White Candy Melts.
1/4 cup honey
12 assorted fruit leather bars (cherry, strawberry, and raspberry work best)
powdered sugar to dust work surface
Special Equipment Needed:
Melt chocolate or confectionery coating in the microwave or in a double boiler. If using the microwave, heat on high for 25 seconds, then stir. Heat for 20 seconds, then stir vigorously. If needed, heat for 10 second increments, stirring after each until melted. Allow the chocolate to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often. If you add the honey when the chocolate is too hot, the cocoa butter or oil will rise to the surface and you will have a greasy mess (if this happens, read this troubleshooting tutorial.) If you don't have a thermometer, test the temperature of the melted chocolate by putting a drop on your lip. It should feel cool. If it's hot, let it cool longer, stirring often to make sure the chocolate at the edges of the bowl does not harden.
Pour in the honey. Stir until well incorporated. The mixture will become thick very quickly, so scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the melted chocolate. Pour mixture out onto a counter top, preferably marble or granite. Knead until glossy and smooth. My hands tend to be rather warm, so I use a plastic bench scraper to help me knead the modeling chocolate, so that I don't over heat it as this can bring out the oils in the chocolate.
Lightly dust your work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll out the modeling chocolate to about 3/8" thickness. Use a ruler and pizza wheel or knife to cut 1 7/8" x 1 1/2" rectangles. Re-roll modeling chocolate as needed to create 12 rectangles.
Unwrap your fruit leather bars and set them, sticky side up, on a cutting board. Use a pizza wheel or knife to cut off the thicker rounded edges. Set one rectangle of white modeling chocolate on the right side of each fruit leather strip. Fold the left side of the fruit leather strip over and press down firmly. I found that the apricot fruit leather was not sticky enough to hold the books together, so I added a bit of honey. These books held together for a while, but did eventually open. The cherry, raspberry, and strawberry fruit leathers were more pliable and more sticky. To ensure the books would stick together, I covered them with some plastic wrap and set a baking sheet on top then added a heavy can to weigh it down. I left the books under this weight for over an hour. None of the books made with the cherry, raspberry, or strawberry leathers came apart even after a few days.
To serve, set the edible books on a wooden cutting board or a serving tray. Store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate or the fruit leather will harden and dry out. We've eaten all but one of the books within a few days, so I really don't know exactly how long they will keep if stored properly, but I'll guess about a week. If you do store them for a while, you may want to keep some weight on them, to ensure they will stay closed like a book.
Do you make special snacks for your kids on the last day of school or do your kids have end of the year parties? Let me know in the comment section below.
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Products used to make this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)