Chocolate Cherry HiFi Buddy Bars—Prototype 1:

Given that chocolate and cherry are a popular Valentine's Day combination, let's make some HiFi Buddies for this romantic holiday. This particular recipe uses cherry butter, a pasty-textured cherry spread available (at least as of this batch's production) at Whole Foods Market.

This recipe is based mainly on Prototype 8 of the chocolate peanut butter bars. However, the cherry butter directly replaces the peanut butter. Due to exchanging this peanut butter for a sweeter ingredient, the sugar is omitted from the filling as well. The details are as follows:

6 oz. melted, semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz. cherry butter (combine quickly with the chocolate above while it is still melted, and blend in the next two ingredients shortly afterward)
3/4 cup sugar
16 oz. whipped lowfat cottage cheese
1 tbsp. skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here!)
8.8 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

6 oz. melted, white chocolate
2 oz. cherry butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (last ingredient here!)

Press the crust mixture into a 9" x 9" wax-paper-lined pan. Firm it up in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from whatever cooler was used, and add the cherry filling on top of the crust layer. Tip: if the filling is stiff, microwave it a little to soften, before it gets put on the crust (this is better than the broiler heat approach).

Place the pan in the refrigerator. Chill until the top filling is almost completely firm, about 60 to 90 minutes, then cut into bars. Return these to the refrigerator, and chill until fully firm.

Chocolate Cherry HiFi Buddy Bars—Prototype 1

I had difficulty detecting a cherry presence upon eating these bars. This may have been due to some cold symptoms which I had (which, by the way, moved me to be extra careful in regard to sanitary handling procedures). But these bars went over very well at Living Hope Church, where many people there could taste the cherry. However, I still wondered about that flavor's strength, whether it was too weak.

But a few days later my cold symptoms dropped off significantly, and my cherry detection picked up a lot better. At that point, I reasoned that I did not need to add more cherry flavor. I had gotten additional favorable comments from Lesa's friends. The balance between this flavor and the chocolate seemed to be on target. For me, personally, whenever I took a bite, the flavor actually varied throughout the chewing process, with cherry dominating at the beginning and chocolate doing so at the end.
Chocolate Cherry HiFi Buddy Bars—Prototype 2:

No need to add more cherry! No need to lower it either. But the quest was on for the filling to have a more reddish appearance. Repeat Prototype 1, but shift 1 ounce of the cherry butter from the crust to the filling (which would furthermore have more of a distinct cherry taste). This means 1 ounce of cherry butter for the crust, and 3 ounces of it for the filling.

Another change was to defer the crust's sugar until after the cottage cheese. In Prototype 1, there was a lumpiness problem in fully blending the semi-sweet chocolate mixture with the cottage cheese. This was likely caused by the cold cottage cheese being combined long after the chocolate was melted. What happened was that the chocolate mixture had an extended chance to cool back down, thanks in part to mixing the sugar into it before bringing on the cottage cheese. The mixing bowl used was metal, so microwave usage was not a suitable choice. A cautious use of a conventional oven would reheat the contents enough to produce a desired thorough blend. As for Prototype 2, a further step was to somehow preheat the metal bowl. One way of doing this was by heating it in an oven. Another helpful approach involved filling a sink with some hot water and placing the bowl of mixture there and blending the contents without getting any of the sink's water into the bowl.

Fast forward to the point after the top filling is spread over the crust! Place the completed pan in the refrigerator, and chill until the top filling is almost completely firm. But this time allow about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, due to a softer filling (because of it having more of the soft cherry butter), then cut into bars. Return these to the refrigerator, and chill until fully firm.

Chocolate Cherry HiFi Buddy Bars—Prototype 2

These bars fared well, and it seems that at least one of Lesa's friends liked this prototype better than the first one. I was fairly happy myself, at least with the taste, although the filling still looked too dark.

But despite the top lacking a bright red appearance, the taste was still great. Happy Valentine's Day!

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