The socials made me do it: The viral Dubai chocolate bar

I couldn't take it anymore. Maybe it's because I love pistachio. Maybe it's because of the crunch the bar makes when people bite into it. Though it's a chocolate bar, it gives an extended crackling sound when bitten. I am talking about the Dubai chocolate bar, and the world is losing its mind over them. Dubai doesn't ship to the U.S. and there is a black market for these chocolate bars now, at exhorbitant prices. 

candy molds with pistachio


I think what finally broke me was seeing Daphne Oz, who always looks at ease in her kitchen. Barefoot, mussed hair and effortlessly gorgeous, she glides around her sunny kitchen, kids akimbo, and whips up really inspirational stuff. This time she was in the kitchen with her family, just going for it. I immediatley got some candy-making supplies from Ladles and Linens.

I gathered my things, made my first batch, and I am happy to share my wisdom. 

melted chocolate chips in double boiler

What you'll need:

  • Silicone candy mold
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Chocolate chips (I used 2 bags and made a dozen bars)
  • Roasted, salted pistachios (at least a cup)
  • 1 jar of pistachio cream, which is, by the way, just...oh my god. Why don't we appreciate this heavenly concoction in the U.S.? I ordered mine from Italy.
  • Kataifi, which is a shredded wheat. But better because it's a shredded phyllo dough. This was a staple in my home growing up, as Palestinians use this for their desserts - mainly knafa. You can easily find this in a Middle Eastern or Greek grocery store. 

    Cooking instructions:

    • First, take your chocolate molds and decide whether you'd like to have a design on the top of the chocolate bar, such as crushed pistachios or drizzled white chocolate for contrast. If so, this is the time to add it to the candy mold. 
    • Next, make a double-boiler to evenly melt the chocolate chips. Fill a pot with water, then set in a large glass bowl on top, catching on the lid so not to be submerged in the water. Also, when the bowl sinks into the pot, be sure that water is not touching the glass. Only steam provides an even heat to avoid scorching the chocolate.
    • As the chips melt, keep stirring until the chips are melted and the chocolate is hot and a little runny. 
    • With a spoon, drop a tiny bit of chocolate into the molds, shaking the mold afterward to ensure an even cover. It's difficult, but try to avoid a thick first layer. The crunch in the middle really is everything, and too much chocolate will disguise the flavor.
    pistachio mix for Dubai chocolate bar
    • Refrigerate the molds while you grind up the pistachios in a food processor. The size of the chunks are up to you. Some like it creamy, but I prefer a chunkier chop, for texture and color.
    • Slowly crumble the kataifi into a pan of warm butter. Keep stirring so the butter evenly coats the shredded wheat, and be sure break up the wheat into crunchy little pieces.
    • When the kataifi starts to turn golden, add the pistachio cream. Ours was very thick and tended to make the shredded wheat clumpy. Next time, we will zap the glass jar of pistachio cream in the microwave, just until it's runny enough to be poured smoothly over all of the pan's contents. You live, you learn.
    • Add your chopped pistachios and stir. 
    • This is the best part. Taste the mixture. Could you just die? This is the part where you check to see if you'd like the mix to be saltier, as a contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. Plus, it will help you better taste the pistachios through the shredded wheat. 
    Dubai's viral pistachio bars
    • Let the mixture cool for a few minutes. While it's cooling down, start your second batch of melted chocolate chips in the double boiler.
    • Pull the cooled chocolate molds from the fridge. Sprinkle a generous, thick layer of the mixture on top of the chocolate layer. Leave minimum space for the last layer of chocolate. I can't stress this enough: the middle is what matters most!
    • Finally, pour over the second later of chocolate to completely enrobe the pistachio filling. Try your darndest to keep this layer thin. Too much chocolate will overpower the delicate flavor in the middle, and muffle that crunch. Easier said than done, by the way. We could not get the chocolate to be runny enough for an easy pour-over. It was very thick, so we pressed down with a spatula, and slid the chocolate from one end of the mold to the other. It wasn't the cleanest break between layers, but not bad at all for our first try.
    • Cool the bars in the fridge. Once completely cooled off, peel back the molds to unvover a gorgeous bar, and enjoy! 
    Dubai chocolate bar
    This was not all hype. It was delicious, inventive, different. It was heaven. Buy the supplies. Don't worry about precise measurements. Feel your way through it. Make mistakes. Post the photos. And for heaven's sake, don't forget to lick the spoon




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