December 15, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Bark

My first effort at chocolate bark with dried strawberries.  Divine!
Holiday parties, happenings, assorted obligations -- my "in person" world is undermining my online presence these past weeks!   I am staying calm and replacing anxiety with a festive energy this month.  One result is exploring new recipes, like this one for Chocolate Bark published in a recent Boston Globe issue.  

While the original recipes look tasty, of course I had to tinker with the ingredients and came up with two variations.  I made this for a dinner party (gave them out wrapped in cello-wrap with twine), to much praise!


You may be wondering how I can advocate chocolate, a known GERD trigger.   I have not noticed a concern when I eat chocolate -- thankfully! -- but if this is an issue, perhaps a white chocolate version is a possibility.   As I've mentioned, tea can produce GERD symptoms for me (lump in throat feeling, heavy chest, reflux) but if I reduce my intake overall and take mini-breaks from drinking caffeinated teas, I'm able to tolerate caffeinated tea.  


Toasted pecan and raisin chocolate bark.
CHOCOLATE BARK WITH TOASTED PECANS AND RAISINS (VARIATION ON BOSTON GLOBE RECIPE)

Makes about 1 and 1/4 pounds
3/4 C. pecans, toasted lightly, cooled and chopped
2/3 C. raisins
12 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut 60% Bittersweet)

  1. Toast pecans: chop and add a very light coating of olive oil (I "massage" this in with my oily hands); toast in 350 degree oven until fragrant.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix pecans and raisins.  Set aside a few handfuls of this mixture.
  4. The Globe recipe suggests placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of barely simmering water.  I just used a pot placed over another pot and it worked fine.
  5. Melt chocolate until fluid and glossy, stirring constantly, about 3 and a half minutes.
  6. Remove the pot/bowl from saucepan and, working quickly, add the larger quantity of the pecan-raisin mixture and stir to mix well.
  7. Spread the mixture on the parchment paper into a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick.  Mine was thinner in places; this worked fine as well.  This recipe is very flexible!
  8. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the remaining pecan-raisin mixture and press gently so the fruits/nuts adhere.  
  9. Place pan in freezer until chocolate is set, about 25 minutes.
  10. Remove pan from freezer, pull bark off paper and break/cut into pieces.  Refrigerate in airtight container for up to two weeks.  (It won't last that long!)
VARIATION: DRIED STRAWBERRIES
Instead of the pecan-raisin combination, slice dried strawberries and add this to the chocolate.  Divine!





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