Monday, December 27, 2010

Gourmet (Looking) Chocolate Bark

I saw this little two-page layout of gourmet chocolate bark in Food Network's holiday magazine, and I just had to try it.  The simplicity called to me.

All you need to make one batch is a pound of chocolate, 1/2 cup of crunchy topping and 1/4 cup of chewy topping.  Or as much as you want!

I decided to make two kinds, because sometimes I just like to be extravagant like that.

Fruity, Nutty Swirl:  a semisweet chocolate and white chocolate swirl, topped with sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and dried papaya.

If you decide on a swirl, use 8 ounces of each chocolate, for 16 ounces total.

First things first.  Wrap foil tightly (shiny side up; I cannot tell you why) over a jelly roll pan, smoothing out any wrinkles.  This is where you'll spread your chocolate and let it harden.

Then, chop your chocolate into 1/4" pieces so it melts evenly.  Set aside 1/2 cup to stir in with your larger portion is melted.

And here's the white chocolate...

Melt each chocolate separately, microwaving for about 20 seconds and then stirring rapidly.  When it's 90% melted, quickly dump in your reserved 1/2 cup and stir vigorously until it's smooth and shiny.  Obviously this was all happening so fast I couldn't get a picture of it.

Pour next to each other on your prepared pan.

Use your spatula to swirl the chocolates together.  I would have liked to a little more contrast in my swirl, but swirling has a surprising learning curve, if you ask me.

Quickly press your toppings into the chocolate.  Make sure to get bits of goodness in every bite!

Here's my final product.  Delicious fruits and nuts just swimming in a river of chocolate.  Let it harden for at least 1 hour (put it in the freezer if your house is toasty-warm).

Then peel it off the foil and break into bite-size chunks, taste-testing randomly to ensure quality.

So easy, wasn't it?

Next up.... White Chocolate with Peppermints!

I originally planned on using some marshmallows I found in the pantry.  In cutting them into small pieces, I noticed they were rather firm.  Upon tasting them, I noticed they were rather chewy and tasteless.  They didn't make the cut.

I crushed four peppermint sticks with a rolling pin, hoping to avoid the baggie blowout I've encountered so often.  Success!  A baggie full of perfectly pressed peppermints, without a gaping hole in sight.

I spread my melted chocolate out into another prepared pan and scattered the peppermint heavily across it.

This ended up being my favorite of the two.  Maybe it's due to my peppermint fixation.  But the creamy, unadulterated white chocolate, mixed with the bright crunch of the peppermints... yummmm...

We had to share these at a family gathering rather than keep them in the house.

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