Christmas Treats: Easy Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bark

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

There are a couple recipes that I make every Christmas and chocolate bark is always a highlight. Not only is it a cinch to prepare, but it makes a perfect hostess gift and is always a welcome treat for visiting friends.

Ideally, you should be breaking out the good chocolate chips here - I like a nice dark bittersweet chocolate (Callebaut makes a good one) but I've also resorted to plain old Hershey's Chipits in a pinch and no one is the wiser. I also use salted roasted mixed nuts because the deep chocolate flavour is always enriched with a bit of salt - but if you don't like your salt with your sweet, just use unsalted roasted nuts instead.

This year I added dried cranberries and candied ginger to the mix and it was a good call. I imagine some chopped dried cherries or apricots would make a stunning candy as well. The ease and flexibility of this treat makes it a constant holiday companion and I hope that it becomes a favorite with you this year. Happy holidays!

Fruit & Nut Bark
5 cups chocolate chips
3 cups mixed salted nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup candied ginger, diced

Prep 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper brushed lightly with butter or vegetable oil. Or use a silpat mat instead - no oil or butter needed. Set aside.

Set up a double boiler or a metal bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and add the chocolate. Melt until smooth. Be careful to not get any water into the chocolate or the chocolate will seize (ie. disaster!).

Remove chocolate from heat and stir in the nuts, fruit and ginger until fully incorporated. Pat the bottom of your pot or bowl dry with a tea towel. Carefully pour the chocolate mixture evenly into the 2 prepared cookie sheets, spreading it around lightly with a rubber spatula, if necessary. Chill in the fridge until chocolate is firm, at least 1 or 2 hours. Break bark apart with your hands and store in the fridge in a tightly lidded container.

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