Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chocolate Bark in the French Style

Submitted by: Michelle

Recently I've been laid up in bed with the stomach flu. While I didn't enjoy being sick, it was nice to get caught up on all the re-runs of Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Starter Wife. I also watched quite a bit of Food TV, though not until day 3 of the illness ( I couldn't handle anything food related the first 2 days.)

One cooking show I've enjoyed quite a bit this week is The Barefoot Contessa. I haven't always been a fan of Ina Garten - maybe I envy the ginormous kitchen she has in her Hamptons estate - but I find that her recipes are always tried and true and I've never gone wrong with one of her dishes.

Yesterday she was making chocolate bark with fruit and nuts. She says that in France, rather than mixing the fruit and nuts in with the chocolate, they simply put it on top. I thought it looked delish and decided I'd give it a try now that I'm back on my feet. So, here's Chocolate Bark in the French Style a la Ina Garten with cooking notes by Michelle.

You will need semisweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, chopped. I used Scharfenberger chocolate and it can be found in most grocery stores. Remember, chocolate is the base of this recipe and if you use inferior chocolate you will have inferior flavor. Also, you could substitute milk chocolate if you aren't a dark chocolate lover.

You'll also need dried apricots, dried cranberries and cashews.
The recipe says to melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water however, my husband - the high honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America - always cautions me about melting things in glass over hot water. He likes to point out that even heat proof glass can break so I make things simple by using 2 sauce pans, 1 large and 1 small. It works just as well and I don't have to worry about having broken glass in my chocolate.

On her show, Ina recommended drawing a large rectangle on parchment paper with a pencil so the bark would have a uniform shape. I liked that idea. Just be sure to turn the parchment over once you've drawn you're rectangle so you don't get any lead in your bark.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and smooth and shape with a spatula.

Add the fruit and nuts and let cool for at least 2 hours.
I love the look of this chocolate bark and the fact that there are so many textures in it. I also like the combo of the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the cashews. This would be great at any holiday party or boxed up for a hostess gift.

French Chocolate Bark
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 dried cranberries

Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl 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.

Sprinkle the cashews, apricots and cranberries over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1 by 3-inch pieces and serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

Veronica C. said...

If you have not had the opportunity or the fortune of enjoying Michelle's cooking then you are really missing out. I feel very fortunate.