Chocolate Bark With Bite
I can't predict what you want or need to be the best gift-giver, mostest-hostess or big honking holiday Pollyanna. But I can predict that if you make chocolate bark, everyone will love you, praise your culinary genius and spread the kudos all the way to the North Pole.
Here's why making chocolate bark will make you fabulous and the mistle in everyone's toe:
* It looks ultra glam but requires very few elementary steps, like chopping stuff and melting chocolate,
* It looks like a difficult and complicated kitchen project, but most of the work is at the store, sourcing the ingredients and
* The bark begs questions such as "Oooh, what's that little zip on my tongue?" or "What fruit is in there?"
When you offer up your secret ingredients, you can also mention the antioxidant boost not only from the dark chocolate but from the walnuts and the dried cherries. And the little zip comes from crystallized ginger, darling, which is good for your circulation. (And can't we all use a little help with that during wintry months?)
Wow them AND nourish them at the most caloric, fat-intensive time of the year. See, you really are a genius!
Now, chop chop! (I've been dying to use that sentence for months.) I expect full reports on the winning over of all those big party dogs with your most fabulous bark.
Dark Chocolate Bark With Walnuts and Dried Cherries
From January 2005 issue of Food and Wine magazine
1 1/2 cups walnut halves (6 ounces)
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate and stir until smooth. Off the heat, stir in the walnuts, cherries and crystallized ginger until evenly coated.
Scrape the mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread it into a 12-by-8 inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm enough to cut.
Cut the bark into 48 pieces (six rows by eight rows) and transfer to a plate. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Note: The bark can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days or refrigerated for up to two weeks.
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