I have to say that I was a little disappointed when I read about the Toronto Eaton Centre replacing its traditional Santa Claus visit with a video-chat session by skype.
Enter the age of Cyber Claus.
This may not be your mama’s bark. We like ours fully loaded.
I figure, why stop at half measures when you can work in so many delectable nutrients.
I found some gorgeous unsweetened dried strawberries at the health food store along with some dazzling mango.
I thought the festive fruit would pair nicely with the nuts and seeds: walnut, cashew, almond, pistachio, pumpkin, peanut – yup, fully loaded. You can play around with any topping combinations you like to create a beautiful, satisfying and delicious treat.
Small pieces will do.
Strawberry Tuesdays: Chocolate Bark All Dressed Up
400 grams 75% cocoa chocolate (I generally use Lindt)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds, some chopped some left whole
3/4 cup mixed dried fruit, sliced/chopped
This recipe will make two large trays of chocolate bark.
Warm chocolate in a sturdy pot on stove over lowest heat, stirring until fully melted. Remove chocolate from heat and allow it to settle for a minute.
Meanwhile, cut two large pieces of waxed paper (about 18″ long and 12″ wide) and set each one over a tray or cutting board that will accommodate the size of the paper.
Spread the chocolate mixture over each piece of waxed paper (dividing the portion roughly in two). Using a spatula or cake knife, spread the chocolate out across the paper surface such that it covers as much surface as possible without becoming too thin (my bark is usually about 1/8″ thick).
While chocolate remains unset, sprinkle with nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
Place trays in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow chocolate slabs to set.
Remove trays from fridge. Working with one tray at a time, break chocolate slabs into roughly shaped pieces of bark with your hands.
Store bark in a container in the fridge. Simply take out portions as desired, leaving the remaining bark in the fridge (the chocolate will begin to melt if left out at room temperature). The bark also freezes nicely but is best eaten thawed (or frozen) from the freezer. If you move the frozen bark to room temperature and into the fridge, the chocolate will begin to denature.
This bark makes a beautiful holiday gift (just remember to tell your friends and family to store it in the fridge).