DISH: Chocolate Bark with Cinnamon Coated Nuts and Cherries
TYPE: New Year’s Eve Treats
MAIN INGREDIENTS: Chocolate, Walnuts, Dried Cherries
Chocolate bark has been my go-to ever since I was a kitchen-deprived, chocolate-craving freshman at college. In the past years, I’ve made the bark with white, milk, and dark chocolates of both good and mediocre qualities. I’ve made double-layer bark, fruity bark, and the 2008-2009 winning bark filled with toffee bites and broken pretzel pieces that was featured at Jor’s 24th birthday party (and which I made for her 25th and then forgot in the fridge).
For 2010, I decided to hearken back to the original dorm-room barks, which always contained nuts and dried fruit. This time, I complicated the nuts, toasting and sweetening them before mixing with the chocolate. The extra step creates delicious, crispy nuts that are worth baking a batch of even if you’re not venturing onto the bark. Only if you own an oven.
From my kitchen, where chocolate bark rang in a New Year that’s so far quite sweet, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Chocolate Bark with Cinnamon Coated Nuts and Cherries
Makes 1 sheet of bark
For the nuts:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups raw unsalted walnuts
1 small egg white, beaten (or ½ of regular egg white)
For the bark:
2 cups milk chocolate
½ cup dried cherries
2 ounces good quality (contains cocoa butter) white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the walnuts on a parchment-covered pan and toast for about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and sat. Add the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the nuts and toss so that the egg white-spice coating covers all sides of all the nuts.
Spread nuts on the same lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes on one side, then toss them with a spatula and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Cool the nuts completely before proceeding.
Melt the milk chocolate over a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave. You want it to be just melted—don’t let it bubble or anything. Add the cooled nuts and the cherries and stir to distribute.
Pour the bark onto a parchment-lined pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Put the pan in the freezer and let the bark sit until hardened.
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave until just melted. Remove the chocolate bark from the freezer. Using a fork dipped into the white chocolate, flick your wrist to create streaks of white chocolate all over the bark. Return to the freezer and let harden.
Using your hands or a knife, break the bark into bite-sized pieces. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.