Shards of broken bark put on the table with a bowl of tangerines, a plate of dates, some nuts to crack, or a few cookies make a winning dessert that can be put together with ease night after night if need be. A variety of spices, nuts, and fruits can go into chocolate bark—candied ginger, tangerine zest, diced prunes, apricots, toasted pecans and almonds, salted cashews, black pepper, anise seed, or cinnamon, to name but a few. We now know that a bit of salt makes all the sweet things—like chocolate and caramel and even fruit—dance! You don’t really need measurements, as you’ll see the first time you make this recipe. I use chocolate that’s in the 70% cacao range, but it needn’t be exactly that, of course.–Deborah Madison
LC Fancy That! Note
There’s bark and then there’s bark. This bark is the latter sort, a bark that intrigues and surprises, a bark that both starts and stops conversations, a bark that knows no boundaries when it comes to fancying up all manner of holidays for which it’s eminently appropriate–during December it’s an easy alternative to cookies for those averse to gluten or decorating or both; at Easter it serves as a sort of deconstructed, adults-only Easter bunny; and at Passover, it’s a lovely little something, especially when you drizzle or spread the melted chocolate atop matzoh rather than just a lined baking sheet. (The matzoh lends not just symbolism but a welcome crunch.)
The recipe below is for the dark chocolate bark. The same technique can be used for the white confection variation that the author mentions, which works well with pistachios, orange zest, and edible flower petals.
Chocolate Bark with Cardamom, Apricots, and Pistachios Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 30 M
- Makes one 10-by-6-inch slab
- 4 ounces (more or less) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
- 3 tablespoons raisins and / or dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- 2 to 3 tablespoons salted green pistachio nuts, some left whole, some cut into large pieces
- Maldon sea salt or other flaky salt
- 1. Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment that measures about 10-by-8 inches.
- 2. Place the chocolate and cardamom seeds in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted, stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dried fruit and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pistachios.
- 3. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and immediately spread it into a thin layer on the prepared sheet. Gently scatter the remaining dried fruits and nuts over the warm chocolate, gently pressing them into the chocolate. Sprinkle lightly with the salt.
- 4. Refrigerate the chocolate until it is completely set, at least an hour. To serve, break the bark into pieces and pile them on a small plate or dish. Store any extra bark in a covered container or a wax paper bag and refrigerate. It will keep well for a few weeks—in theory, anyways.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
- Peppermint Bark from Brown Eyed Baker
- Salted Gingersnap and Hazelnut Bark from Bitchin' Camero
- Hazelnut, Pumpkin Seed, and Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark from Leite's Culinaria
- Spicy Pepita Brittle from Leite's Culinaria
Chocolate Bark with Cardamom, Apricots, and Pistachios Recipe © 2010 Deborah Madison. Photo © 2010 Laurie Smith. All rights reserved.