Tis the season: Holiday Bark

Tis the season to eat chocolate! Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la!

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Doesn’t chocolate make you sing? Smile? Dance? Jump for joy? Hallelujah.

Good, me too.

CHOCOLATE BARK. Sneaky and sinfully deceiving. While it appears elegant, sophisticated, complex, too-good-to-eat, not to mention, delicious, in reality, it is one of the simplest things to make.

I’ll share the secret…but first, some vocabulary.

  • base chocolate – the foundation of your bark. It can be dark, milk, or even white chocolate. I love using Trader Joe’s Pound Plus varieties.
  • flavorings – these enhance the flavors of your base chocolate. My favorites are vanilla extract, rum, coffee, sea salt, browned butter!
  • mix-ins – these are ingredients that serve as the filling of your bark. When you bite into a piece, you see these inside. Dried fruit and nuts finely chopped work well. The options are endless.
  • toppers – these are the ingredients that decorate your bark. I love sprinkling sea-salt and crushed nuts on top.
  • drizzlers – often times, I take another type of base chocolate, and drizzle it lightly over the bark, for a beautifully delicious effect.

General instructions for all sorts of chocolate bark.

  1. Spread parchment paper or foil over a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, melt your base chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil and flavorings. Keep stirring to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.20140108-224843.jpg
  3. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in your mix-ins.20140108-224834.jpg
  4. Pour your chocolate onto the baking sheet, using a spoon to spread it evenly to the edges. The more you spread it, the thinner your bark will be.
  5. Top the chocolate with your toppers and drizzlers.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for it to firm up.
  7. Break into uneven shards, arrange on a platter, or package into bags.20140108-225045.jpg

 

Now onto the recipes!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate + Ginger + Pomegranate Bark

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Summary: I saw this recipe in the New York Times and just had to try it. Wow! This one is unexpectedly delicious. The fresh pomegranate bursts in your mouth along with deep dark chocolate and spicy ginger. Not for the weak taste buds.

Ingredients

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  • base chocolate: 500 grams super dark chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • flavorings: 1 tsp vanilla
  • mix-ins: 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds and 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • toppers: 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds and some sea salt

 

Recipe: Cranberry + Walnut

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Summary: The tartness of the cranberries with the sweet chocolate creates a lifelong duo. The rich walnuts balance out the flavors. A fast favorite.

Ingredients

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  • base chocolate: 500 grams good dark chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • flavorings: 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • mix-ins: 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • toppers: 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, sea salt
  • drizzlers: 100 grams milk chocolate

 

Recipe: Apricot + Almond

20140108-224920.jpgSummarySo, at the Pune Baking Company in the Marriot hotel, they make an Old Fashioned Chocolate cake. The secret (shh!) is a hidden layer of apricot jam, which you can’t directly taste. It makes the chocolate cake taste AMAZING. Who would have ever known about the secret love affair? I had to recreate these amazing flavors in this recipe.

Ingredients20140108-225027.jpg

  • base chocolate: 500 grams good dark chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • flavorings: 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • mix-ins: 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds
  • toppers: 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds, sea salt
  • drizzlers: 100 grams milk chocolate

Recipe: Coffee + Toffee

20140108-224854.jpgSummaryMy perfect sundae at Fenton’s Creamery is coffee ice cream, hot fudge, and toffee bits. A bit of crunchy almonds and a touch of sea salt? You have yourself some trouble! For the coffee lovers.

Ingredients20140108-225005.jpg

  • base chocolate: 250 grams good dark chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • base chocolate: 250 grams milk chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • flavorings: 1 tsp vanilla, 2-3 heaping tsps instant coffee, 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • mix-ins: 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • toppers: 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toffee bits, sea salt

**In this bark, there are two base chocolates swirled together. Melt both with the flavorings. Add the mix-ins. Spread the first base chocolate (dark). Then top it with the second base chocolate (milk). Using a butter knife, swirl the two together. Then add your toppers, refrigerate, break, and enjoy!

 

Of course, feel free to modify and experiment with your own bark! I’d love to hear what you create. Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Much love,

More later,

SONIA

 

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