Wednesday, December 22, 2010

French Chocolate Bark - Ina Garten

A few years ago my parents decided that they didn't want to do a big present exchange over the holidays, so I started making little goodie baskets. My uncle, who is a bachelor, also gets in on the holiday basket gift. I usually make a banana or cranberry loaf, then scatter the basket with all sorts of treats. Every year I try to make a few new items to keep things fresh. This chocolate bark is a new recipe - I think it will be a hit. As usually, I didn't have the exact ingredients so I used dried orange/cranberry, apricots and cashews.

French Chocolate Bark - Ina Garten

1 cup whole salted, roasted cashews
6-7 oz. vegan semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Trader Joe's Brand is vegan)
6-7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, 1/2 inch diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 inch diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pencil, draw a 9x10" rectangle on a piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan, then turn the parchment paper over.
Spread cashews in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 min. Set aside to cool.

Place the semisweet chocolate and half the bittersweet chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave high for 20-30 seconds. Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to heat and stir in 30-sec. increments until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly into the drawn rectangle. Sprinkle the top evenly in the following order: first ginger, then cooled whole cashews, cherries, apricots and raisins. Set aside for 1-2 hours until firm. Cut bark in 18-20 pieces.

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