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.

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!)
Instead of the pecan-raisin combination, slice dried strawberries and add this to the chocolate.  Divine!

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