Saturday, December 28, 2013

White chocolate bark

This magnificent mosaic of lime green, orange, and and ruby red is my white chocolate bark! It's made with dried apricots, cranberries, and pistachio nuts. Here's how I make it. First, prep your ingredients and place each into a separate bowl. The amount depends on how chunky you want your bark to be. I used about a cup to a cup and a half of each ingredient. Once the chocolate is melted you will have to work quickly, so it's best to have your ingredients all ready. In one bowl place dried cranberries, in a second bowl  place the chopped dried apricots, and in a third bowl place pistachio nuts. I show below how I prepare the nuts. 

I am pretty picky about the pistachio nuts I use on this bark. The shelled nuts that you can buy are always all brown and shriveled up, so instead of buying them, I lovingly shell about 3 cups of pistachios, then, using a knife, I scrape off the dark paper skin on each one. This, I admit, is a labor of love. It takes about 2 hours, but the result is very much worth it because the plump, lime green pistachio nuts are fresh, bright and gorgeous. 

Next, the main ingredient—the white chocolate! I used around 9 bars, but use however many you want. Here I used a mix of Lindt chocolate and Ghiraldelli chocolate that has real vanilla seeds in it, so the pretty flecks of the seeds show. Instead of melting all this chocolate in a bowl and spreading it out on a pan, I simply lay the chocolate out on the bottom of a sheet pan, and put it in a preheated, 350° oven, for exactly 3 minutes. Sounds crazy but it works beautifully! The chocolate melts enough to spread into a luscious, even layer. Do not use white chocolate chips however, because the manufacturers put stabilizers in them to help them hold their shape when baked (in cookies, or whatever). The bars always melt nicely.

Once your bed of white chocolate is melted, simply start sprinkling on your fruits and nuts. When done, gently press the toppings into the chocolate so they all stay in place. Put the sheet tray in a cool spot like a cold porch for a few hours, until it hardens. Then start breaking the bark apart into scrumptious pieces. 

See those specks of vanilla seeds? Love that!

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