Fruit Leather Edible School Books

Last week one of my readers wrote to me asking if I knew of any alternatives to using corn syrup in a modeling chocolate recipe. As luck would have it, I had just created my Inside Out Chocolate Caramel Apples where I swapped out Dulce de Leche for corn syrup in my modeling chocolate recipe. I was really pleased with the flavor and texture of this new modeling chocolate, and wondered if there were other ingredients that would work as corn syrup substitutes. So, I searched through my pantry for thick sticky liquids and found a few things that I thought might work.
The first thing I tried was honey. Once stirred into melted white chocolate, I found that the texture of this version of modeling chocolate was just as smooth, soft, and pliable as it’s corn syrup counterpart, but it had a wonderful floral flavor that I really enjoyed.
I was happy with my first experiment, so I decided to work on another project that could be used as teacher’s gifts or end of the school year party snack. I had been thinking of unique ways to make school books, and knew the white modeling chocolate could easily be cut into rectangles to form the pages of some edible books. To create the book covers, I knew I could have wrapped the white pages in a thin layer of colored modeling chocolate, but I wanted more texture and flavor.
Stretch Island All Natural Fruit Strips, Cherry, 8-Count Strips (Pack of 6)I once again went searching through my pantry and came across some bars of cherry fruit leather. I sandwiched a rectangle of the honey modeling chocolate in between a long strip of the fruit leather, hoping it would taste good, hold together well, and be easily bitten into. Luckily, one side of the fruit leather was quite sticky, so it held the modeling chocolate in place. I took a bite – my teeth easily went through the sturdy chewy fruit leather and into the softer more pliable modeling chocolate. I was so pleased that the slightly sour cherry flavor blended so harmoniously with the honey scented, creamy vanilla, flavor of the modeling chocolate, but the best thing about this combination was that the deep burgundy colored fruit leather wrapped around the white modeling chocolate pages looked amazingly like a leather bound book.
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.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
12 assorted fruit leather bars (cherry, strawberry, and raspberry work best)
powdered sugar to dust work surface
Special Equipment Needed:
rolling pin
pizza wheel or knife
Instructions:
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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-Beth

Products used to make this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)




Thanks for sharing!

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks everyone. I'd love to hear what other things you create using this version of modeling chocolate.

    Diane, this modeling chocolate works exactly the same as modeling chocolate that uses corn syrup. You can sculpt with it and decorate cookies or cakes. I don't have any experience working with fondant. I haven't ever decorated a cake using it, but hope to soon.

  2. Anonymous says

    great i love it,but more than a book seems a wallet,
    i shall imagine when it already will serve this:'anyone here has lost his wallet?' :)

  3. Anonymous says

    These are adorable! I think I'll size them down a little bit more and put them on cupcakes. Thanks for the great idea.

  4. says

    Thanks everyone. It's so nice to see so many people like this idea. I've never made homemade fruit leather, but think it would make these taste even better. I'll have to try that someday.

    Beth @ Hungry Happenings

  5. says

    I just found your blog – via the Craft newsletter- and wanted to let you know I think it is so clever. Love the books and love the flavor profiles. I enjoyed reading about your thought process as you worked through your idea. I share those types of ideas on my blog but find most people don't. I can't wait to have more time to read your other posts and see all your clever food ideas.

  6. says

    I was thinking the same as Nadia, cheese would be a healthy, not to mention easier alternative to white chocolate. Just cut it up! lol Love the idea, they're so cute looking!

  7. says

    Am not very much into cooking baking kind of stuff. But this one just caught my eye…i had to compliment….it looks super adorable and i bet its yummy too!!
    Cheers!

  8. Eve says

    These look great! But living in Ireland, we don't seem to have "fruit leather" over here. Does anyone have any suggestions as to an alternative?

    Or is fruit leather just a name for something like Fruit Winders, or Fruit by the Foot?

  9. says

    Hi Eve,

    Fruit leather is made from actual pureed fruit which is cooked and dried then cut into rectangles. Although Fruit Winders and Fruit by the Foot are made from fruit, real fruit leathers are thicker, have more natural looking colors, and actually look a bit like leather. If you have health food stores in your area, you may want to check there. For years that is the only place I could find them. Now we have them in our grocery stores, but they are usually found in the health food section of the store. You can also make homemade fruit leather. I found quite a few recipes on-line. Some require you have a dehydrator, others simply use your oven. Hope you can find something to make this recipe work for you. Good luck.

    Beth @ Hungry Happenings

  10. Kathy the Cook says

    I did something similar years ago, but a savory instead of sweet. I used cheese and thick sliced deli meats. But for the life of me I cant' remember how I got it to stick together! I don't remember if I used toothpicks or if I put something between the cheese and meat.
    I wouldn't have thought of the chocolate and fruit leather. Brilliant!

  11. says

    I've had a lot of comments and pins (on Pinterest) about using cheese. Some will use it with the fruit leather, but it you want to use meat as the book cover as Kathy the Cook did, just spread some mayo or mustard on the cheese to help the meat cover stick. This would make a great first day of school snach.

    Beth @ Hungry Happenings

  12. Jal says

    Dear Beverly,

    We made these books today (New Year's day) and it eventually turned out fabulous. Not having a thermometer, we added the honey a bit too soon, and as you suspected the oil oozed out. Referring to your troubleshooting section, we persevered and it turned out really good. Many thanks. In fact, we have taken some pictures and would love to share them with you but we don't know where and how to post it on your site? Do let us know. Once again, our hat's off to you and your innovative idea!

  13. says

    Fantastic! I have never heard of modeling chocolate before – but I love the honey idea. My kids aren't quite in school yet (next year) but as a former teacher, I think these would even be brilliant at an end of year party. I'm bookmarking this for next year! Thanks. :)

    • says

      You can certainly use dark chocolate, but the flavor will be completely different. Dark chocolate is more solid than white chocolate, so start out with 3 tablespoons of the honey. If the modeling chocolate feels dry, you can add more honey. Just knead it in, I suggest wearing food handling gloves to do this as the honey will be very sticky.

  14. says

    Hello Beth… You are just amazing…your works are par excellent……. I visited your site for the first time n its awesome.
    I tried looking for the page on making white modelling chocolate n troubleshooting page but disappointingly it no more exists….kindly update it…. i would love to read it.

  15. says

    Hi Beth,
    You have excellent creativity n your works are par excellent…..
    I visited your blog for the first time n was really impressed…. I tried opening ur tutorials on making modelling chocolate n its troubleshooting but disappointingly it no more exists…please update it

  16. says

    Hi there, thanks for the tip on the honey. I have tried my first maple syrup recipe today but i find that it turns out to be really expensive because it is not a product easy to find in Portugal. The honey alternative seems interesting although question if you can taste the honey a lot. I don't like honey, but don't mind it in some recipes where it is mixed up with other ingredients and you can't taste it too much…

    • says

      Hi Sara,

      This modeling chocolate has a hint of honey flavor, but the white chocolate is really the more pronounced flavor. You can always cut the recipe in half or even in quarters and make a small amount to see if you like it.

  17. Anonymous says

    Hi,tried making this with 4 ounces of Dark chocolate and 2 tbsp of Honey.
    My flowers were breaking(cracking) while shaping them…Please help!

    • says

      You need to add more honey, a small amount at a time, just knead it in until the modeling chocolate feels pliable. Read my Chocolate Making Tips page for recipes and tips on dry modeling chocolate. Modeling chocolate made with dark chocolate requires more honey or corn syrup than that made with white chocolate and every brand of chocolate has varying amount of fat in it which changes the amount of corn syrup or honey needed.

  18. says

    This was such an adorable idea! I wanted to make them as a cupcake topper for my book clubs 10th anniversary. I followed the instructions to a T, but hardly any of them stayed closed. I even bought the exact same fruit leathers and made my modeling chocolate with honey (I usually do it corn syrup). I left the sheet pan on top of them overnight too. But to no avail. I was unable to use them as toppers since they wouldn't stay closed, but I served them as if they were a chocolate candy, just in a dish passed around the table. Everyone loved them nonetheless. It was eating a little bit of fruit with their chocolate, they said. I think if I do these again, I'll just use fondant instead of fruit leathers. Fruit Roll-ups or another not-as-good-for-you brand of fruit leather might do better than Stretch Island.

    • says

      I'm so sorry these didn't stay closed for you. Most of the fruit leather that I used was so sticky, I had no trouble. There was one flavor that was more dry, and when I added some honey they stuck quite well. I'm not sure why your's didn't stay closed, especially after pressing them down with the sheet pan overnight. I can only imagine the fruit leathers were just too stiff and dry. If you do make these again, be sure the fruit leather is really flexible and sticky. Or, you can make your book covers out of the modeling chocolate (made with either honey or corn syrup.) I was really trying to create a healthier version by using the fruit leather and honey scented modeling chocolate and I had great success with it. I know how frustrating it is when an idea just doesn't work. Sorry!

  19. Anonymous says

    What a fun idea! I will try them for my daughter's book themed baby shower, even though I haven't worked with modeling chocolate before.

  20. Dawn says

    This is adorable! Def making these for my daughter's graduation dinner- she's graduating with an English degree and wants to be a writer so this is PERFECT! And thanks for the cheese & meat version idea. Will be doing both- gosh I love a theme! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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