Thursday, November 20, 2014

Barking Mad.

In order to be really happy, I need to do something creative every day.  Usually those things happen with some sort of needle and some sort of thread.  But sometimes they happen in the kitchen.

Lately I can't get enough of making chocolate bark.  I got onto the idea from an article in Midwest Living magazine.  I have no idea why I get this magazine - I've never subscribed or paid for it, it just shows up every couple months!  The November/December issue had a nice spread with all different kinds of chocolate bark recipes, and I couldn't wait to try it.

I've been posting pictures of my bark on Instagram, and people are going kind of nuts.  But it's super easy to do!  The article linked above tells you everything you need to know - really it's just melting chocolate and putting some stuff on top.  But I went ahead and took some pictures today when I made some up, so I could share it with you all.

My big take-away from this article was the part about fake tempering chocolate.  I've always melted chocolate over a double boiler, but you can easily scorch it that way if you're not careful.  This way is so easy and gives great results - the chocolate comes out smooth and silky.

Start with block chocolate you like.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy.  I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus - 17.5 ounces for $4.99!  And for those of you with no Trader Joe's nearby, don't fret:  apparently you can order this stuff off Amazon!   For each of the following "bars" I used about 4.5 ounces of chocolate.


Chop the chocolate fine.  This is the hardest part of the whole thing!  But the finer you chop it, the faster it will melt.  You could also grate it, but chopping is easier for me.


Place the chocolate in a bowl, then float that bowl in another, larger bowl half full of very hot tap water.  The water I used was about 125 degrees F.




Now this is VERY IMPORTANT - do not let ANY water get into your chocolate.  If it does, the chocolate will "seize" and not melt.  (This is a problem I've had with using the double boiler, because of all the steam it produces.)

Every once in a while, give your chocolate a stir, making sure not to let any water get into it.  It should be completely melted and smooth in 10 - 15 minutes.


Carefully lift the bowl out of the water and wipe the bottom with a paper towel to continue protecting the chocolate.


Pour it out onto a piece of parchment (or waxed) paper, then sprinkle your prepared toppings on it.  You can do your topping prep - chopping and such - while the chocolate melts.  I spread mine to about 1/4" thick; that 4.5 ounces gives me a bar that's about 8" x 4".


I got creative with my first one today and did a combo I've been thinking about for a while:  Turkish dried figs, walnuts and Urfa pepper (a spicy, sweet, smoky red pepper from the southeast of Turkey) on top of 45% dark chocolate.



I made a second bar with white chocolate, which I love but Hubby hates.  Teeheeeheeee!  This one has almonds and candied ginger.


And finally I made one of the recipes from the article:  "The Macaroon."  This one has toasted slivered almonds, shredded coconut and a sprinkle of sea salt on top of 72% dark.


And here's the first one I made a few days ago, now half gone.  This one had walnuts and cranberries, and Hubby loved it.  I've been putting a few pieces in his lunch for the last few days. <3


I've really had fun making these and I think it would be a great activity to do with kids.  There are so many topping possibilities, it's been fun thinking about what to do next.  Of course, it would make a great gift or party theme too.

If you decide to try it out and come up with any creative combinations, let me know!


17 comments:

  1. Yum! Great scoop on how to melt chocolate properly. If I get around to trying this, the topping will be crushed peppermint candy. Love peppermint bark!
    -- stashdragon

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  2. These look delish Gail and I love the different toppings! They would make lovely Xmas treats/gifts if I get the time to make them so thanks for the recipe :)

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  3. I am definitely giving this a try with my kids. What a perfect activity for Thanksgiving break! Thanks, Gail!

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  4. You've been making me from on IG. This'd be a terrific gift idea! You make it look so easy. I must try this.

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  5. Those look so, so good! I will definitely be trying this! One tip I learned from the venerable Alton Brown, is to melt chocolate with a heating pad sandwiched between two bowls. You have to keep the chocolate in the 90-92 degree range (anything above 94 is too warm). If you look up his truffle recipe, all the info is there. And his truffle recipe is amazing, btw!

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  6. I'm a huge fan of chocolate bark and these are totally "barking" up my tree! : )

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  7. Oh my gosh, that fig/walnut/pepper combo sounds AWESOME. Dried figs are so much fun...I love that little pop of the seeds!

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    1. It actually turned out really well - I think it's my favorite of the bunch!

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  8. I like a good creative release in the kitchen. It's funny that you get Midwest Living without having ever signed up for it. I've heard it's a really nice little magazine. Meg, I think, really likes it.

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    1. It is a nice magazine! I keep thinking they'll figure it out and quit sending it to me, but they haven't yet. Good thing, because I got this recipe!

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    2. It started showing up a my house years ago too. We kept getting it free until we moved from the Midwest. I think an ad to subscribe came in the mail a couple weeks ago...

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  9. Mmm, these look amazingly delicious! Love the sound of the white chocolate with candied ginger and almonds.

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  10. Haha, this really IS easy! No more excuses! I need to make my own! Maybe even experiment with some matcha powder, I love green tea and matcha chocolate! Thanks for sharing!

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