Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tis' the season for chocolate...

If you need an excuse to make a chocolate treat... Valentine's Day is coming soon.
You can make something for an intimate dinner, to share with friends and co-workers or just to treat yourself. Love thyself first, right ??

Over the winter holidays, my dear friend Mita (The Clumsy Cook)  gave me two confections she made.

One was a dark chocolate bark studded with dried fruit and nuts.
I have never really been a fan of "bark" but this changed my mind completely.
The best part is how easy it is to make.

I wanted to make some treats for friends and family for Valentine's Day so I made three batches of bark. Each with a slightly different combination of ingredients. It's great because you can tailor it to the tastes of your loved one. Shhh, don't tell Bob, but I made him some out of milk chocolate, he prefers it to dark chocolate, one of his few flaws ;-)

Mita calls her recipe "trail mix bark", I like to think of mine as "chocolate bark goes for a hike"

Chocolate Bark Goes for a Hike


16 oz. chocolate: dark or milk
dried fruit, cut into bit size pieces
coconut flakes
Coarse grain sea salt

Instead of all the separate ingredients you can use your favorite trail mix to make it very simple.

1) Choose your chocolate. I used these Trader Joe's large bars. You can used higher quality if you choose. I would stay away from Hershey's, chocolate chips will do in a pinch.

2) Have your toppings ready before you start melting your chocolate. I used dried apricots, dried cranberries, toasted coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, honey roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds. You can also use your favorite trail mix to make it very simple.

3) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use foil and cooking oil spray.

4) Chop your chocolate into small chunks and place into a large microwavable bowl. The smaller your chunks the quicker it will melt. If you don't have a microwave, a double boiler on the stove top works just fine.

5) Cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir and repeat. The trick with melting chocolate in a microwave is to not overcook it. It partly depends on how much chocolate you have in your bowl, it you are using a smaller amount start with 30 seconds. As the chocolate melts decrease the time in the microwave. Eventually it will be smooth.
6) Pour the chocolate onto the prepared pan, use a spatula to smooth it into a round about a half inch thick.

7) Sprinkle with the nuts, fruit and seeds, don't be afraid to use lots. Press them carefully into the chocolate. Dust lightly with some coarse sea salt if you like that combination.

8) Allow to harden, this can be done in a cool room or the fridge if you are in a hurry.

9) Break into chunks and eat !! Or package it in tins, jars or cellophane bags and give it to the people you love.

If you want something a little fancier for Valentine's Day, here are a few of my favorite chocolate recipes from past posts.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, simple but very rich and elegant.

Molten Chocolate Cakes, great for a cold night !!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache, for the vegan in your life.

This decadent Chocolate Ice Cream would please even the most critical of your chocolate lovers.

No comments:

Post a Comment