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
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)!
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.
Tempering the chocolate
Mixing the chopped, unmelted chocolate or chocolate chips you set aside into the melted chocolate is a simple way of "tempering" the chocolate, creating a more firm, stable. glossy finished product that is less likely to melt on your fingers or soften in storage.
Prevent Chocolate Seize!
Keep out the water! Even a drop of water can turn your chocolate into to a grainy brick.
Over heating your chocolate can do the same.
When bad things happen to good chocolate:
Despite your best care, you can end up with a chocolate blob. Let it cool and chop it for cookies. Taste it to make sure it doesn't taste burned. If it is burned, just throw it away and start over.)