Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Chocolate Barks: Red and Green and Chocolate!

I adore barks, and I've posted several Bark recipes over the past year including Chocolate Peppermint Bark for the holidays. Bark is so easy and quick to make and there are so many variations that it's perfect for this busy time of year! I especially that these two Bark Recipes because they employ both color and unique tastes along with chocolate! As always use the very best chocolate! Here's to a Red, Green and Chocolate Holiday!

The first recipe comes from Annmarie Kostyk, the Chocolate Goddess! She is the ultimate Chocolate Blogger with great reviews and recipes and interesting facts about chocolate. She truly is a Chocolate Goddess. Be sure and visit her website and scroll back for the 12 Days of Holiday Chocolate Candy and 12 Days of Holiday Chocolate Cookies! Exceptional!!!

Pistachio and Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark
from Annmarie Kostyk, the Chocolate Goddess

Ingredients:
3/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios, (3 ounces), coarsely chopped (raw pistachios and/or other salted nuts, don't have the same saltiness)
3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
24 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped, divided

Directions:
1. Line the bottom and sides of a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Toss pistachios with cherries in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture in half; stir orange zest into 1 portion.
2. Melt 18 ounces chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. (or in a saucepan over a saucepan of simmering water) Stir often with a rubber spatula so it melts evenly.
3. Remove the top saucepan and wipe dry. Stir in the remaining 6 ounces chocolate, in 2 additions, until thoroughly melted and smooth.
4. Add the pistachio mixture containing the orange zest to the chocolate; stir to mix well. Working quickly, scrape the chocolate onto the prepared pan, spreading it to an even 1/4-inch thickness with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio mixture on top; gently press it into the chocolate with your fingertips. Refrigerate, uncovered, just until set, no more than 20 minutes.
5. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the chocolate lengthwise with 6 parallel lines. Break bark along the score lines. Break the strips of bark into 2- to 3-inch chunks.

Hint: Never store Chocolate Bark in the refrigerator. It will sweat or bloom. For that matter, don't store any chocolate candy in the refrigerator.

The following recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website. I love the innovative recipes on the website and blog, and, of course, King Arthur Flour's great products! This recipe is very festive with red cranberries and crunchy pecans...and it uses both white and dark chocolate layers. Let's face it, you can never have enough bark! Woof!

Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark
from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted diced pecans
2- 2/3 cups chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
2- 2/3 cups chopped white chocolate, melted

Directions
1. Toss the cranberries and pecans together. Set them aside.
2. Melt the dark chocolate (in the top of a double boiler--see above), and spread it into an 8" x 12" oval on parchment paper.
3. Allow the chocolate to set, but not harden completely.

4. Melt the white chocolate (in the top of a double boiler-see above) and mix it with about 3/4 cup of the cranberries and pecans.
5. Spread this over the dark chocolate.
6. Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and fruit on top, pressing them in gently.
7. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes--no more than 20-- until hardened, then break it into chunks.

Happy Holidays!

Photo: Pistachio and Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark: Annmarie Kostyk
Photo: Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark: King Arthur Flour

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