Mayan Chocolate Bark

I hardly ever make anything with chocolate in it, but it seemed like a necessary player in a holiday gift box. I love spicy chocolate, and several times have embarked down the Spicy Chocolate Truffle road before realizing (or remembering) how much more I’d bitten off than I could possibly chew with my mouth closed. This chocolate treat, however, runs circles around homemade chocolate truffles in terms of delighted-recipient-bang for your cooking-effort-buck. the most important thing is the ingredients. Spring for some quality dark chocolate. Not that 97% single origin cacao stuff they tout from upon their fancy white horses at prestigious coffee shops, but some quality dark chocolate you’d want to eat straight. I used a combination of dried fruits and nuts that matched my other treats and spoke to the season. pistachios and cranberries from the torrone, ginger from the molasses cookies, cashews that always make me think of christmas (maybe because this is the only season I allow myself to eat them) and sour cherries for some extra tart to offset the sweet. You can use whatever combination of fruit/nuts you prefer but the total quantities are a good rule of thumb.

From the Box
Cashews, cranberries, cherries, pistachios and ginger all folded into spiced dark chocolate. ‘nuf said.

1lb dark chocolate (those giant bars at trader joe’s work well)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup tart dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup roasted cashews

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
In a double boiler (or one pot set into a a larger pot of water) slowly melt the chocolate over medium-low heat. heat slowly and only enough to melt the chocolate. excessive heat can burn the chocolate and make really unattractive lumps.
When just melted add the cinnamon, ground ginger and cayenne and stir until incorporated.
Add half of each of the nuts and fruits and stir until everything is coated.
Pour the chocolate out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin layer while keeping all the elements cohesive
Sprinkle the remaining fruits and nuts over the chocolate and chill the bark until firm, or at least a couple of hours.
Break into pieces of desired size (wildly varying sizes accounts for both shameless-chocolate-binger and this-piece-is-so-small-it-doesn’t-even-count appetites)


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