Apricot, Golden Raisin and Smoked Almond Chocolate Bark
Total: 4 hr 25 min
Active: 25 min
Yield:8 to 10 bars
1 of 8 servings
Chocolate bark is like cheaters' homemade chocolate—you can make something that feels totally gourmet and exceptional, in almost no time. It's a great, portable, decadent-feeling sweet treat that's perfect on a hike or a picnic, great for gifting and, of course, wonderful for tucking away for your 3pm cravings. I like to use a dark chocolate—70-percent or higher, which is the best for you. I've trained my kids on good dark chocolate early—but for some families this may feel like an adult treat. If that's the case, you can blend in a few chocolate chips or another semisweet chocolate to bring the sweetness forward. For my taste, there's enough sweet going on from the dried fruits—this is a harvest combo that feels perfect for deep fall and right into the holiday season. (There are so many options here for the dried fruit—dried fig would work as well!) The smoky almonds add crunch and if you love that bright citrus vibe in your chocolate, a little orange zest goes a long way here. Finish it with a flaky sea salt that makes the whole thing hit all the sweet-salty notes I crave to give a dreamy finish. This one is slightly thicker than a lot of chocolate barks, so it holds all the goodies on top, and feels a bit more like a candy bar. It's also easier to pack without any melting or shattering.
Line a 9-by-9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, coating the bottom and up the sides (this makes it super easy to remove your bark when it sets).
Add two-thirds of the chocolate to a large metal bowl set over a pot with simmering (not boiling water). Stir gently to melt. When the chocolate is completely melted, sprinkle in the remaining chocolate and whisk to melt (adding the chocolate in stages helps the chocolate stay in temper and keep its shiny luster).
Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle on the raisins, apricots and almonds, pressing a few pieces in just slightly to adhere. Sprinkle the orange zest lightly over the top (taking care not to let it clump all in one area) and top with flaky salt. Set aside at room temperature until completely set, about 4 hours (yes, you can speed this up in the fridge, but the cold can throw the chocolate out of temper and lesson your shiny, snappy results).
Cut or break into 8 to 10 bars and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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