Here's a simple recipe to make Chocolate Bark in which once you understand how to melt the chocolate the correct way - adding flavors or nut toppings or all other variations are absolutely up to you.
The keys to making a
Once you have your gourmet chocolate ready, cut it into small pieces. Feel free to use semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolates...up to you (I prefer semisweet). Chop your choice of nuts.
Nut suggestions for chocolate bark: almonds, pistachios, raisins, pecans, macadamia nuts, raisins, craisins, roasted salted peanuts, cashew nuts, and so on.
Tempering chocolate the traditional way involves melting chocolate at different temperatures by spreading it with a spatula and bringing it together until it reaches a point where once it cools within a certain time limit it has a shine and a snap. But we don't have all the time in the world for that. So we will use the microwave shortcut method to temper chocolate.
Put your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and start melting it in 30 second bursts. What does running a microwave in bursts mean? It means start the microwave for 30 seconds, stop, stir your chocolate, then put in back in microwave and melt for 30 seconds. Do this until your chocolate begins to melt then continue doing this in 15 second bursts until almost all of your chocolate has melted but there still are few chunks. Why should you melt the chocolate in a slow process like this? Chocolate gets scorched easily and you don't want that. For a small quantity of chocolate (for example, 1 cup) you can start with 30 second bursts, but for a larger quantity you can start with 1 minute then go 45 seconds and reduce the bursts accordingly.
At this point whip/beat your melted chocolate so that the leftover chunks melt in the heat of melted chocolate. Mix it well until there are no lumps or un-melted pieces of chocolate. Now, you want to add some more vanilla extract to it? Or almond extract for an added flavor? Or orange zest? Feel free.
Spread the melted, tempered chocolate on a parchment paper (not too thin else the "bark" will break). Soon after, scatter the nuts all over the bark then gently press them down with your palms.
Let the chocolate cool down naturally at room temperature. Once it is cool, lift it off the parchment paper by breaking in random pieces. The more random the better; they don't have to look perfect, they don't have to look the same.
And there. That's your Chocolate Bark. Simple and easy to make. Great to give in lunchbox for your kid, great to take along when traveling, great to give as gifts when you're invited over for meals.
The next time you want to get a store bought "fruit & nut" chocolate, think about how easy it is to make one at home with your choice of toppings, your choice of flavors.
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