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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bark

You're probably tired of hearing about my jet lag. Believe me, no one is more tired of the topic than I am. But good news! This post is only minimally about jet lag. 

It's funny the kind of thoughts you have when you cannot sleep. For some reason last week when I was unable to sleep due to my jet lag (officially last mention of jet lag for a while), I became obsessed with the idea of making chocolate bark. 

I am not really sure how or why this idea popped into my head. I am not much of a baker or a maker of sweets and I have never made chocolate bark before, but for some reason all I could think about for a few nights in a row as I was laying awake was chocolate bark, chocolate bark, chocolate bark. Important questions about chocolate bark were swirling around in my brain at 2:00 a.m. Such as, what kind of chocolate would I use? What toppings would I put on? Would I marble in white chocolate? The urge to make chocolate bark was so great that if I had had the ingredients in my house, I would have gotten out of bed and immediately started making it.

So on Sunday, the day after the shebeen tour, I made chocolate bark. If you don't know, chocolate bark is melted chocolate cooled on a cookie sheet with various goodies sprinkled onto the still soft chocolate. When it hardens, the chocolate is broken up into uneven shards. The great thing about it is it's really a hard recipe to mess up. You aren't really making anything from scratch. You're just melting chocolate and smashing up toppings. 

I followed this recipe from Jamie Oliver. It was a helpful recipe as it gives instructions to ensure the chocolate melts easily and smoothly. Melting the chocolate is really the only part of bark making where you could make a mistake. 
Melting the milk chocolate.
One last thought about bark and then I'll get to the pictures. While chocolate bark seems like a holiday treat, what I loved about making it was that no oven is needed so it is also a good treat to make during hot weather. You just have to store it in the fridge!
This is the milk chocolate I used. And below is the dark chocolate. 
This dark chocolate turned out to be really, really dark. I am not sure how many people would like it. Maybe I should have mixed a bar of milk in with the dark bars? Or maybe I just think the sweeter, the better. 
As instructed by the recipe I purchased grease proof paper to cover the cookie sheet. It worked perfectly. No sticking.
It's crucial that you taste the chocolate prior to melting it. If it's poor quality you need to know. It may take more than one taste to be sure.
  
Preparing to smash candy canes into bits and dust.
Candy cane dust
Toppings starting from top of photo - crushed nuts, crushed pretzels, dried cranberries, cinnamon and sugar mixture, crushed candy canes. Below is the melted and spread dark chocolate just waiting for toppings.


Milk chocolate with toppings added. Below, the finished products.








7 comments:

  1. That looks divine!! I'm making bark now, thank you! :)

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    1. Oh fun! Let me know how it turns out. I got a lot of advice about why the dark chocolate was so bitter. It seems I should have used 65 - 67% percent instead of 85%. The lowest I saw here was 70% but even that would have been better. But you bake a lot so you probably already knew this. :)

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  2. I know dark is better for you but I have grown to adore milk chocolate. I'm going to make this a family event and let everyone choose their mix ins. Happy Holidays to you!! :)

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  3. Oh very fun! Please share bark photos on Facebook or Instagram so I can see. :)

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  4. Greetings! I just heard from a friend who tried to use chocolate chips/morsels and said the chocolate did not firm up properly. It sounds like a messy endeavor so I am suggesting using chocolate in other forms (bars and disks) if trying to make bark. :)

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  5. Omg now I am craving bark! Yumm

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    Replies
    1. It is a really fun and delicious treat to make. When the kids are older they can help too. Just don't use chocolate chips. A friend said they don't firm up properly. :)

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have moved from the U.S. to South Africa for three years. We moved due to an exciting opportunity my husband had with his job. Second, I won't be working anymore. I'm actually not allowed to work so that will be different given that for the past twenty years I've been somewhat of a workaholic. I'm excited to share our adventures with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.