Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crispy Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger & Pomegranate


Blessed is the season which engages the whole world 

in a conspiracy of love  


                                                                                      ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

~~~~~~~

I'm not sure what happened to November.

Last I checked, it was November 7th.  Four trips across the continent later and we seem to have leapfrogged into December.

So here we stand in the season of hope, wonder and possibility. The season of miracles. And I could not be more welcoming.

For family and friends who are praying for the well-being of loved ones, my wish is that this season brings a sense of comfort and renewed hope. Let's stay united in a conspiracy of love.

I look forward to sharing a few holiday treats with you over the coming days and may even sneak in another pomegranate recipe before we're all done -- (have to take advantage of the short season!).

I'm kicking things off with a variation on Christmas bark that was inspired by a recent discovery I made at Trader Joe's: Dark Chocolate Crisps.  More specifically "thin curved waves of Belgian dark chocolate with crispy bits..."   Utterly addictive!

I typically incorporate some combination of fruit, nuts and seeds in my Christmas bark but decided to go with the crispy crunch effect this year (thank you Joe) and I'm glad I did. It worked out very well and introduced a whole new taste and texture sensation to the bark.

If you like ginger, you are going to love it here! It adds just the right amount of heat and zing to the chocolate and contrasts nicely with the juicy and mildly tart pomegranate.

Be sure to read the Nutrition and Cooking notes for best results.



Crispy Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger & Pomegranate

Crispy Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger & Pomegranate
  • 10 ounces (300 grams) dark chocolate (70% cacao or more), broken into pieces
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh pomegranate arils (seeds), 1 large pomegranate should do (or simply buy the seeds if available)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rice puffs (or any puffed or flaked cereal/grain of choice)*
  • 2 heaping Tbsp (30 mL plus) finely chopped candied ginger (about 4 pieces)
  • Sprinkle of coarse sea salt, optional

Makes approximately 10 (80 grams) servings

Nutrition & Cooking Notes:
  1. *I used rice puffs (no sugar added) for this bark but you could use any puffed or flaked cereal grain of choice here (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, kamut, barley, corn, etc) -- the trick is to make sure you select something that is crispy.  Millet puffs, for example, are typically soft and would not work very well here.  
  2. I also made this recipe with a flaked rice from Kashi and found it equally yummy.  The shape of the cereal grain you choose will change the look of the bark slightly (bumpy/ridgy, round or oblong) but as long as it's crispy, you'll get the desired crunch effect.
  3. To benefit from the antioxidant power of dark chocolate aim for 70% cocoa or more.  I typically use 75%. If you are new to dark chocolate, start slowly and work your way up.
  4. The quality of the pomegranate seeds really makes a difference -- the first batch I bought was a little lackluster, monochromatic and not very juicy.  The second batch tasted like something all together different.  Plump, full of juice and very tasty. Buying the arils (seeds) alone will allow you to assess how healthy and vibrant they appear (look for brighter coloured ones).
  5. The ginger really adds to this recipe so unless it's not your thing, I highly recommend it.
  6. Although I didn't use it in this recipe, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt might also be fun if you like the combination of sweet/salt.


Directions:
  1. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Place the chocolate in a sturdy pot set to the lowest temperature on the stove.  Watch the chocolate carefully as it melts (stirring to assist) and ensuring that it does not come into contact with water.
  3. Once the chocolate has fully melted, remove from heat and add the finely chopped ginger followed by the puffed cereal, mixing to combine.
  4. Spread the chocolate mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet in a rectangular shape (or something like that).
  5. Sprinkle the surface of the chocolate mixture with the pomegranate seeds, gently pressing them into the chocolate.
  6. Place the bark in the refrigerator to set for approximately 30-60 minutes.
  7. You can break the bark into chunks with your hands (being careful not to crush the seeds) or use a knife if preferred (if the bark is not fully set, the chocolate will begin to melt in your hands).
  8. Store the bark in a sealed container in the fridge or freeze (my preference).  The bark should last for up to five days in the fridge however the pomegranate seeds might start to sweat before that time.  
© Inspired Edibles

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makes a lovely gift!

~~~~~

I also want to invite you to follow my Christmas boards on Pinterest!
simple, affordable & elegant holiday decorating ideas and DIY projects
cookies and other yummies too!

~~ Enjoy ~~


38 comments:

  1. Hi Kelly, nice to see you back. That's a lot of travel... I hope you will get to settle in, relax and enjoy the holidays in one spot for a while. Thank you for the well wishes - I'm not sure if it applies to your family situation but it does to ours so your timing is actually quite touching. And I love that quote -- a conspiracy of love, perfect. As for your bark, it's gorgeous! I just want to reach in and grab a piece (or several) :). The color contrast is so appealing and festive looking and what a nice combination of ingredients. Do you think rice krispies cereal would work here? Sounds delicious! (love the photo of the gift box - so great).

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  2. You're speaking Mr. N's language. He would love this, in fact likely be obsessed with this! He's a ginger nut and loves both poms and chocolate. If I have enough energy this baking season, well really I need time not energy, perhaps I'll whip these up for Mr.N (miss A may take a nibble or two as well-if Mr.N let's her!). Glad you're settling in back home for the holidays!

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  3. Ohhh there is ginger, too! I didn't think it could get any better! I am making gifts for friends this year as I am on a bit of a budget before I set off for New Zealand. This would make the perfect accompaniment to some of the other treat I have prepared! I look forward to the rest of your holiday recipes!!


    I am LOVING your Christmas boards on Pinterest...I literally want to re-pin every single beautiful image.


    I hope things settle down and you can relax and enjoy the season!! :-)

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  4. I love ginger, I love pomegranate, I love chocolate, but I love even more to get news from you, your new adventures, your findings at Trader Joe's (can you tell I'm a little jealous? ;-)



    I am considering making a toffee this weekend. It will be my first. Would you cross your fingers for me? I think I'll need it.



    Happy Holidays!

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  5. So X'mas-y and amazing!

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  6. That looks stunning Kelly! Love everythign about this, that crisp brittle texture perfect for breaking and sharing, the bitter dark chocolate, that bit of heat from ginger, those gorgeous red sweet pom jewels. And healthy at that! Good one!


    Shu x
    www.mummyicancook.com

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  7. I've never thought of adding fresh fruits on bark is so lovely! This makes perfect gift and I love the addition of ginger.
    As for the rice puff, once you toast them, quickly fully coat them with chocolate and rice puff will remain crunchy for a long time.

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  8. Shannon, what a great idea toasting the rice puffs! I made the bark 2 days ago and the raw puffs are still crunchy but it would definitely be worthwhile doing the experiment of toasting them on the next round to see about holding the crunch for a longer period. thanks for stopping by :).

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  9. thank you dear Shu! it's like a cross between a brittle and a bark -- a barttle ;-) -- xo.

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  10. Hi Mandy, I hope you're keeping well - love the new profile pic. Thanks for dropping by, lovely to see you :)

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  11. Aww, thanks Sally... I like sharing my adventures too :). Trader Joe's is pretty easy on the eyes (and the tummy) lots to discover! And Whole Foods... oh boy, I could set up camp there ;-). xo

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  12. Hi KoKo! So happy to hear you're enjoying my Pinterest boards... I've been having so much fun with it (have to pull myself off lest I spend the better part of the day there - lol).


    New Zealand? WOW!! I look forward to hearing more about it - xo.

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  13. I think Mr N would enjoy making these -- I don't use a double boiler system for melting chocolate so it's about as straightforward as can be... hope you enjoy if you give it a go!

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  14. Elizabeth, you are so thoughtful - xox. Many, many hugs coming your way and extra special wishes and thoughts for you and your family. I really do believe in the power of communal prayer (pray to the universe, pray to the God of your choice) - xoxox........

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  15. Dan from Platter TalkDecember 5, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Great Job with these, I posted my version the same day that you posted yours! (Great minds cook alike!) :-)

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  16. Thanks Dan -- just checked it out! The sea salt is a great addition and sparkles like a diamond :).

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  17. Thanks Dan -- just checked it out, the sea salt is a great addition and sparkles like diamonds :)

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  18. Would fresh ginger work. I LOVE candied ginger but am not supposed to eat cane sugar, which of course, is rampant in candied ginger!! Unless you have a recipe to make candied ginger, then I could use beet sugar, make my own, then on to the bark.

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  19. Hi Kelly, welcome back! We've missed you! I hope everything is well on your end. You seemed to vanish quite suddenly.

    I love the look of the bark - tell me, do you know what it's called thusly? It wasn't a term I was familiar with until I started reading some American (and Canadian ;) ) blogs!

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  20. What a total coincidence! I recently made a dark chocolate, fresh ginger and toasted pumpkin seed bark, but I won't be blogging about it because I forgot to take measurements! I absolutely LOVE the addition of the pomegranate, it lights up the bark totally and makes it utterly festive.

    I do hope your loved one recuperates to celebrate Christmas with their family. My positive thoughts are with you and your lovely family, Kelly.

    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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  21. Hi Emmy, thanks for dropping by. I have not made this recipe using fresh ginger -- I think it would be delicious, my only concern is that fresh ginger contains moisture and warm melted chocolate does not like water so there is a 'risk' that the chocolate might seize (and that's a lot of chocolate for the gamble). You could do a test using fresh ginger on a smaller sample of chocolate or you could think about powdered ginger instead. Let me know how you make out if you give it a go!

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  22. oops! forgot to address your question... Yes, rice krispies would be perfect here :).

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  23. Sissi_Withaglass.comDecember 6, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    There are several chocolate shops here selling different types of bark, but I have never been impressed. If any of them had such a creative idea to include fresh pomegranate grains, I'd probably become an addict. Not only does it look marvellous, it must have a fantastic complex taste: the slightly tart soft grains combined with dark chocolate... It has such a festive touch too! You surprise us once more with a unique, original recipe. I hope you have had nice time travelling.

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  24. Thank you Kelly! I also came back on to let you know that I have been living on your Pinterest boards the last two nights... your pins are gorgeous!!

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  25. Sandra @ Kitchen ApparelDecember 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    What a beautiful gift and such a yummy treat these would make. Ginger and pomegranate sounds like a wonderful combination with chocolate. I'm not quite sure where November went either. We are flying through the holidays it seems :)

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  26. There's something about pomegranate seeds that is just SO beautiful and festive. I would never think to cover them in chocolate but what a delicious burst of juicy flavor that must add!!! I also adore candied ginger. I totally need to try this :) I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season, Kelly, even if it's not quite as wintry as Canada...I do recall you complaining last year about having to walk your dog in the frigid temps tho ;)

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  27. complaining about walking my lovely Stella in the cold? I don't think so... ;-). In fact, here's how I described our walks on two separate occasions:

    "Even under the least desirable conditions (rain, snow, sleet, ice, and let's not forget those - 40 C wind chill temperatures), I always come back to thinking that walking my dog first thing in the morning is pretty much the best possible way to start the day."

    "You learn at a pretty young age that in order to survive a Canadian winter you need at least two things: a good attitude and a great pair of long johns. Here's how it works: Those early morning walks with the dog -34 C wind chill? Not brutal at all. Invigorating."


    heeheeh - xo

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  28. Wonderful! Thanks Merry Meri, hope you gave it a try :)

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  29. yum! is that a soy sauce base for adobo?

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  30. So happy to hear that catfan! You don't have to be a chef to make my recipes :) I like to keep things pretty simple over here. So pleased that you enjoyed the recipe and thank you for taking the time to drop in. Love hearing from you!

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  31. you must try it again -- it's actually quite flavourful and balsamesque ;-).

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  32. Thank you Julia - it is a nice rich colour and delightful flavour. I appreciate you dropping by.

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  33. The pop of red from the pomegranates is absolutely gorgeous. What a fun way of incorporating this powerhouse of a fruit into a holiday treat.

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  34. thank you Charles, nice to see you here. I thought bark was pretty common in Europe (what do they call it there?) I think the idea is that the chocolate sheet with toppings (fruit/nuts/seeds) bears a vague resemblance to tree bark with its bumps and ridges on a sheet like surface. Perhaps not the most seductive of appellations =) but still well loved.

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  35. Thank you kindly Eva... the same thing happens to me frequently... I struggle to reconstruct a recipe based on memory because I rarely work from a recipe -- I'm always worried the one I publish is not the same as the food I just savoured... ;-).


    I hope you are enjoying your on location opportunities these days -- sounds like a lot of fun to me! Looking forward to seeing some photos when it's all done.

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  36. Hi MJ, thank you for your kind words. We are looking forward to chilling over the holidays indeed :).

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  37. Thank you Sissi! The ginger is quite delightful here -- it really sets it apart from the usual chocolate/fruit combination (I'm thinking it might also work beautifully in your chocolate covered prunes which I've been dreaming about lately :). The crispy bits are also new to me -- a different kind of texture than the harder, maybe more familiar, crunch of nuts.

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  38. Time is certainly a flying... I'm looking at the calendar and wondering how much more I can fit in... it's going to be tight! :=)

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