As I've said many times before, every day is Chocolate Day for me, but today is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. In this age of high end organic, fair trade, single origin chocolate, bittersweet seems to cover a broad range of chocolate. So bittersweet as defined below leaves one open to enjoying all kinds of chocolate today--along with almonds.
According to Wikipedia, bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The American FDA classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).
In honor of Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, I'm going to have a bittersweet chocolate bar with almonds. So many great bars out there including Green & Black, Dandelion, Seattle Chocolates, Valor, Ghirardelli, Alter Eco --and even Hershey's.
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARK
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao)
1 cup toasted almonds (in the oven), coarsely chopped (some people like them whole/your choice)
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate until smooth in top of double boiler or saucepan placed over another saucepan with simmering water.
Set aside 6 Tbsp almonds
Stir remaining almonds into melted chocolate.
Pour mixture onto cookie sheet. Spread to 1/2 inch thickness.
Sprinkle remaining almond
pieces over mixture. Sprinkle sparingly with sea salt.
Tap pan on counter until bark is desired
Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.
Store in an
airtight container in cool, dry place.
How easy is that?