Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is so easy: melt chocolate, spread it in a pan, sprinkle with topping, cool, break apart and eat.  Chocolate bark makes a great gift and can be customized in a million different ways with candy, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, flavored extracts, whatever.  It keeps for a long time too.  Chocolate bark is a great option for a cookie exchange if you don't want to bake.  Leftover candy from your Easter basket (or any holiday) would make a great topping for chocolate bark.  Those Robins' Eggs Whoppers sprinkled on some dark chocolate?  Yum!

If you're melting chocolate chips, you don't need to chop them up.  If you're melting chocolate from a bar or large block, use a serrated knife to chop/shave the chocolate.  The baking and/or candy sections of some grocery stores and markets sell good chocolate in larger bars or 0.5 lb - 1 lb chunks broken off from giant blocks.

Chocolate Bark Master Recipe
Original Recipe

For every pound of chocolate, use about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of toppings or mix-ins.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring at 30 second increments until completely melted.  If using mix-ins, stir them into the melted chocolate.  Pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with toppings and lightly press them down.  Let cool completely, then break apart or cut the candy into pieces.

Peppermint Bark
Original Recipe

1.5 lb dark chocolate, chopped
1 lb white chocolate, chopped
40 peppermints or 12 candy canes, crushed
1 tsp mint extract

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave stirring at 30 second increments until completely melted.  Stir in mint extract.  Pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Optional Step:  While the chocolate is cooling, put the crushed mints in a sieve over the bowl holding the white chocolate.  Let the mint dust fall into the white chocolate, and reserve the mint pieces for decoration.

Melt the white chocolate.  Pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate.  Working quickly, spread into an even layer.  Sprinkle with crushed mints, then press down slightly into the chocolate.  Let it cool at room temperature or in the fridge. 

When the bark has cooled completely, break apart or cut into pieces.

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