This is the irresistible and the quintessential holiday treat; the deliriously good chocolate bark!
The school holidays have begun and the girls are home, which means I have a lot of time and I also do not, at the same time. I will make this short and sweet.
If you still thinking about making gifts at home, do consider making some chocolate barks. They do make fantastic home-made gifts, for the seasons and even good for hostess gifts. These are so simple and easy to make that even children can make it with little help from adults. Believe me. a small boxful of the chocolate barks made by the children makes delightful gifts to the teachers.
When I saw Sylvie’s Bark (and she used ginger!), I got inspired and decided that I had to make the Barks before the year went by. And I knew I had to add ginger.
I have used a combination of dried fruits and nuts, some ginger and zest and salt. But anything that you love can go into these. So use your creativity when you make them.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Dried Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark
Ingredients: (makes an approx. 4 inch by 9 inch rectangle – to be broken into desired number of slices)
- 2-1/4 cup chopped semisweet/or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup mixed nuts (I have used walnut, almond and pistachio; use the kind you want)
- 3/4 cup chopped mixed dried fruits (I have used dried cranberries, cherries and apricots; do use whatever you want to)
- 1.5 tablespoon very thinly sliced crystallized ginger
- a teaspoon of orange zest
- coarse salt or fleur de sel (optional) - I have used a kind of coarse Himalayan Pink Salt
Note: If you want a spicy bark with a slight kick, use chocolate which has chili or you may combine a tiny bit of cayenne or even crushed pepper to the melted chocolate.
Lightly toast the nuts (this step is optional), in a skillet or in a pr-heated oven (350 F) for about 6-8 minutes, or until just fragrant. Cool them completely.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan, (or double boiler) of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally. It should be a smooth shiny mix. (Be careful of the chocolate “seizing” here – even a little bit of moisture in the chocolate will prevent it from melting and turn it into a dry grainy mess).
Alternatively, the chocolate may be melted in the microwave (and this is a better option as there is less chance of the “seizing”); place two third of the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about one and a half to two minutes at thirty second interval, stirring the chocolate in between each thirty seconds. You will have to watch this carefully as the time will vary with each microwave. When the chocolate looks almost melted combine the other half and gently stir until you have a smooth shiny texture which coats the spoon/spatula.
Gently stir in the zest with the melted chocolate.
Line small baking sheet with parchment or foil. Pour melted chocolate onto foil, spreading with spatula to thickness of approx. 1/4 inch. Scatter nuts and dried fruit over chocolate. Shake off the excess; all the fruits and nuts need to be in a single layer and stick to the melted chocolate base. Sprinkle the coarse salt/ or fleur de sel.
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Peel off parchment/foil. Break or cut the bark into pieces.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes approx.
Cooking Time: about 3-4 minutes (to melt the chocolate)
Standing Time: 30 minutes to chill until firm
Yields: a 4″ x 9″ rectangle, which can be broken into barks