Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: Chocolate Bark with Fruit and Nuts

You can't have the holidays without lots of chocolate. That's just the way it is, but sometimes the store bought stuff is just lacking. This recipe is so easy, and so fast. You can be finished in under 15 minutes including the clean up. We love making batches of this bark, packaging it in pretty cellophane bags and giving it as hostess gifts, or to coworkers as presents. And the great thing about this recipe is that you can change the goodies you put in the bark to suit your personal tastes.

Makes Lots! (Trust us you will need it)

20 oz chocolate (We prefer a combination of 12 oz semisweet, and 8 oz bittersweet, due to the sweetness of the fruit)
1/4 cup candied ginger, diced as small as possible
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened (not Craisins)
1 cup pecans
2 cups almonds, with skins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place pecans and almonds on the cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake for 5-8 minutes to toast. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. Chop the ginger and apricots, and put in a bowl with the cranberries and cooled nuts.
4. Cut the chocolate into rough chunks, and place in a heat proof bowl.
5. Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate until about 3/4 melted. Take the bowl off the double boiler and let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate.
6. Add the fruit and nuts to the chocolate, reserving about a 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top of bark.
7. Spread the chocolate mixture out onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bark should be about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture and press lightly into warm mixture with spatula.
8. Let the chocolate cool, for about 30 minutes then put into the refrigerator to set fully.
9. To store, break into large chunks and put in airtight container. Keep in refrigerator or freezer.

Note: As a general rule, the better the chocolate, the better the results, but to balance cost with flavour we enjoy the taste of Baker's brand.  The one thing that will not work is using chocolate chips.

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