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.|
|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.|