Monday, November 30, 2009

Diving Gingerly Into the Holidays, Part 2: Gingered French Chocolate Bark

This ginger treat is a snap! My good friend Carolyn showed up at my office cubicle one recent day with a little something something she had whipped up the night before... just because. It was a twist on Ina Garten's French Chocolate Bark - a treat so colorful and full of exotic flavors, that I had to succumb and give it a try. Rich chocolate, salted cashews, dried apricots... and the kicker, candied ginger, an ingredient she included instead of the dried cranberries specified in Ina's recipe. OMG. I immediately dubbed Carolyn's kitchen experiment a huge success (especially since she never deviates from a recipe), and am convinced that it's a perfect, festive goodie for the holidays. Carolyn assures me that is was super simple to make; indeed, there's only a couple of ingredients and only a couple of steps. So if you're looking for an outrageously unique treat with a lot of WOW factor to bring to your next holiday potluck or to package up as a homemade gift, give this chocolate bark a try. It's a treat that you - and others - won't soon forget!

Gingered French Chocolate Bark
Contributed by Carolyn Hindes (adapted from an Ina Garten recipe)
  • 9 1/2 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a 9 by 10-inch rectangle on the paper. Turn the paper facedown on the baking sheet.

Pour the melted chocolate over the paper and spread to form a rectangle, using the outline. Quickly, while the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle the cashews, apricots and ginger over the chocolate, pressing to set into the chocolate. Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1 by 3-inch pieces and serve at room temperature.

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