August 31, 2012

Chocolate Bark

Hey, you know that sugar hit you crave just after lunch? After eating a little bowl of pastasoup or a sandwich, you just need a little sweet hit to finish lunch off. 

I've got you sorted. Look no further. This chocolate bark it just the thing you need. It is small and (sort of) healthy. People say you should eat dark chocolate, riiiight? Swap the milk chocolate I have in the recipe, for dark chocolate and magic you have a healthy snack! With the dried fruits and nuts on top you're, getting some antioxidants and fibre.  I'm so good t reasoning! 

Am I saying this is going to be my new 'healthy snack'...maybe!

I didn't make mine with dark chocolate for two reasons, I prefer eating milk chocolate and I had milk chocolate at home. Legit reasoning. The milk chocolate looks like a bejewelled necklace-with scarlet cranberries, bright orange apricots and eye catching pistachio green. 

This chocolate bark was inspired by The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I just love her. She is so fabulous. Everything she cooks looks yum, her house is amazing. Her cooking utensils and equipment always look brand new, her friends are fabulous and her husband, Jeffrey, is like the cutest man going. 

Imagine this wrapped in a little piece of parchment with your lunch in the office/school or college. You will be willing the clock to strike 12 for lunch! 



PS- In this recipe to melt the chocolate I tempered it with the quick tempering technique.  This couldn't be easier! The method is in the recipe below! 

Choose your dried fruits and nuts. I'm using dried apricots, cranberries and unsalted pistachios.

Since the pistachios and cranberries are small, leave 'em whole but slice up the apricot into strips. They'll look much prettier and be easier to eat!

We're going to be tempering our the microwave!! Fear not, it is so simple! 

Tempering chocolate gives it a lovely sheen and snap when it's broken. 

Once melted and tempered, pour onto the parchment and using a palette knife to spread it out.

Spread it out nice and evenly. Don't make it too thin about 5x12 inches.

Sprinkle over the cranberries...

...followed by the sliced apricots...

...and lastly the pistachios.

Don't overfill it. Make sure all the fruits and nuts touch the chocolate so that they stick and don't fall off once you cut it!

Allow to set before breaking/cutting into pieces.

Recipe, makes 10-12 pieces.

200g Milk Chocolate, good quality with 30-55% cocoa solids or dark/white
Handful Dried Cranberries
Handful Unsalted Pistachios, shelled
Small Handful Dried Apricot, cut lengthways

Line a baking sheet with a rectangular strip of parchment. 
Chop the chocolate into the size of small chunks. 
Place 3/4 of it in a glass bowl and place in the microwave.
Melt on 30 second blast until melted. Stir after each 30 seconds.
Once melted stir in the remaining 1/4. 
(This is quick tempering. By adding the remaining 1/4 of chocolate you reduce the temperature of the chocolate which gives it  its shine and snap.)
Once melted pour onto the parchment and with a palette knife spread out the chocolate into a long rectangular shape about 5x12 inches. See picture.
Sprinkle over the cranberries, followed by the apricots followed by the pistachios-make sure the fruit and nuts touch the chocolate so that when it sets the fruits and nuts don't fall off.
Place in the fridge to set-about 1hour.
Remove from fridge and break into pieces that resemble the shape of bark.

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