WCAX News at 4 interviewed me about some gifts you can make at home. Here’s a tasty one to try!
Chocolate bark is tasty gift that is fun to make, package, and give! Wrapping it is as simple as a plastic bag, or reusable container with a ribbon and a tag.
I tend to vary the amounts and types of chocolate that I use, but I like to start with about
10 oz (semisweet) chocolate chips
8 oz baking chocolate (bittersweet) (2 – 4 oz packages)
1 c cut up dried fruit
(apricots, cranberries, raisins, cherries, etc or a combination)
1 1/2 c coarsely chopped nuts
You can almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, coarsely shredded coconut, chopped peppermints or candy canes. Get creative!!
NOTE: Do not use anything with water, such as fresh fruit – it will seize the chocolate (see below)!
Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
Heat water in bottom of double boiler until it is barely simmering.
Chop finely 6 oz chocolate or set aside chocolate chips , about 1/3 to 1/2 of your total chocolate and set aside for tempering (see below).
Cut up remaining baking chocolate.
Place cut chocolate and chips in the top of your double boiler (or a bowl over simmering water)
Stir continually with a spatula until all chocolate is melted. DO NOT OVERHEAT AND KEEP STIRRING TO KEEP THE CHOCOLATE CONTINUALLY MOVING AWAY FROM THE HEAT.
IMPORTANT: Remove the pan of chocolate from the water and set on a folded towel or hot pad to prevent getting water in your chocolate (see below).
Mix in reserved chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. This step tempers the chocolate so that it will be firmer and less likely to soften and be messy to eat.
Mix in fruit and nuts.
Spread on prepared baking sheet.
Set in a cool place to harden up. You can place in refrigerator for a short time to hasten cooling, but cold chocolate can create condensation when brought to room temperature, causing a white film to form. This “sugar bloom” is harmless but a bit unsightly.
When cool, chocolate is ready to cut or break and package as gifts.
For a fun variation, try dipping whole dried apricots or dried apples halfway into the melted chocolate then place side by side on parchment. Other great dippers are whole almonds, pretzels, homemade marshmallows, graham crackers, strawberries (make sure they are completely dry if you’ve washed them). Let your creativity guide you.