When I need a hostess gift during the holidays, homemade chocolate treats are always a hit! This French Chocolate Bark is so easy to make, but be sure make enough for everyone because to seems to magically disappear! The secret is tempering the chocolate in the microwave, and you can add any dried fruits and nuts you love.
French Chocolate Bark (Makes 18 - 20 pieces)
Copyright 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, All Rights Reserved
Photo: Quentin Bacon
1 cup whole salted, roasted cashews
6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 to 7 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup dried crystallized ginger, ½-inch diced
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried apricots, ½-inch diced
¼ cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a pencil, draw a 9 x 10-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan, then turn the parchment paper over.
Spread the cashews in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the semisweet chocolate and half the bittersweet chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 20 to 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly into the drawn rectangle. Sprinkle the top evenly in the following order: first the ginger, then the cooled whole cashews, the cherries, apricots, and raisins. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 18 to 20 pieces and serve at room temperature.