In preparation for the holidays I’m making one of my favorite desserts, nutty chocolate bark. It’s a fun and festive recipe, delicious and easy to make. Most professional chocolate is “tempered”, which requires it to be brought to a certain temperature. This process takes time and a bit of skill, but ensures a shiny finish and a longer shelf life. Candies, like truffles, dipped chocolates and bars of chocolate require tempering to create their signature taste and texture. Some simple candy recipes don’t require tempering and you don’t have to temper this chocolate bark. Un-tempered chocolate can bloom, or turn a little gray, but will not affect the taste. This nutty bark is so addicting that it will get eaten before you even break it into pieces. It’s a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate topped with assorted toasted nuts and dried cranberries. Yum!
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in one layer and bake for 6-8 minutes. This brings out the oil in the nuts and adds great flavor. Set the nuts aside to cool. Line a second sheet tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, this is the double-boiler method. Another option is to place the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds or until it’s almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula, until smooth and shiny.
Carefully pour the chocolate onto the second sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle your toppings over the chocolate. Set the tray aside for 2 hours or more, until firm. Refrigerating or freezing the bark will help it set up. Cut the bark into pieces and serve at room temperature.