Chocolate: Bitter is Better

Cranberry, Pecan and Bitter Chocolate Bark

chocBark1_12Mar12

There are times when there’s no substitute for chocolate. There are times when even love can’t hold a candle to its pulling power. That’s when I get truly serious about chocolate, no mucking around with milky this or that, white variations or minty mutations – make mine pure and dark and jaw-tighteningly bitter. And then mix chopped dried cranberries or raisins and chopped nuts through it for natural sweetness, tartness and texture. Let the molten chocolate mixture cool and harden, and voilà you have dark chocolate bark. Woof!

The main ingredient is Baker’s (or Hershey’s) Unsweetened Solid Dark Chocolate Squares (100% Cacao), which is available everywhere in the North and South America but not so easy to source in the UK and Europe, where unsweetened chocolate powder is more common. One package weighing 8 oz./226g is enough for one batch of bark.

There are two online UK sites that stock and sell the solid product:

USA Foods at http://www.usafoodstore.co.uk/Bakers-Unsweetened-Baking-Chocolate-Squares-8oz-22-p/bakunsweet226g.htm

American Sweets at http://www.americansweets.co.uk/bakers-unsweetened-baking-chocolate-squares-1602-p.asp

Cranberry, Pecan and Bitter Chocolate Bark

chocBark2_12Mar12 (1024x768)

Ingredients:

8oz package of Solid Unsweetened Chocolate Squares
2 tablespoons cold, cubed unsalted butter
1/4 cup roughly chopped dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts

Method:

Put the chocolate squares and cubed butter into a microwave-safe bowl, and warm in the microwave for 1 minute on half power, stir, and then give it another minute and stir until smooth. Add more time if necessary.

Cut two sheets of non-stick parchment paper to the dimensions of your baking tray. Take one sheet and line your rimmed, shallow baking tray. Set the other sheet of paper aside to use later.

In a small bowl mix the cranberries and chopped nuts, and then scatter them evenly across the parchment paper lined baking tray. Pour the molten chocolate mixture over the fruit-nut/parchment, and then take the 2nd sheet of paper and set it on top of the chocolate, pressing lightly to even out the mixture and press out any air bubbles. Don’t remove the paper; let it set and cool as is.

Allow the chocolate to cool at room temperature, and then place in the fridge to firm up for at least 30-minutes.

When firm, remove (by peeling) the parchment paper from the top, break the chocolate slab into pieces, and peeling it off the paper lining at the bottom.

Store in the fridge in an air-tight container or on a plate covered with cling film.

Variations:

  • Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the chocolate,
  • use unsweetened white chocolate layered or swirled with the dark chocolate,
  • mix crumbled cookies in the mixture,
  • smash some boiled sweets into chards and stir into warm chocolate.
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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I usually don’t like bitter chocolate straight-up! But served this way, you’ve convinced me I would love it!! It makes sense for the sweet to come from the additions to the bark!

    1. Misky says:

      If you’re not a bitter chocolate fan, make sure that your dried fruit is sweet, like cranberries or raisins or even dried cherries. I’m going to try dried cherries next time. What I find nice about this is that I don’t have the impulse to just keep eating it like I do with milk chocolate. With milk chocolate, I’m a mindless, empty pit! 😀

  2. Tandy says:

    I so agree! I’ve just printed off a recipe from a friend for raw chocolate and you’ve given me some great ideas 🙂

    1. Misky says:

      I’d love to hear how it all turns out when you’re done. 🙂

  3. Karen says:

    The darker the better when it comes to chocolate…this sounds terrific.

    1. Misky says:

      It is, Karen. Enjoy!

  4. Oh dear, these look far too addictive!
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Misky says:

      I actually find that I eat fewer of these than if it’s milk chocolate. Yeah!

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