Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easiest Gift Ever

Making gifts is a wondeful idea. Though sometimes after hours and hours of prepping, cooking, resting dough, and actually looking at cost, making gifts becomes WAY more expensive and time consuming then just buying one. Now I'm all about the spirit of giving something you put your heart and hands into, but not when it comes at the expense of your sanity. 
Thats where chocolate bark comes in. It's everything I want in a gift, it looks nice and expensive, while being cheap and easy. Now this is one of a billion variations, though I really loved the combination of flavors. I would be careful using ginger because while I could eat ginger all the times, not everyone feels the same way. Ginger is a strong flavor, and even in this decadent dish, the ginger is one of the stronger flavors, so be sure the person you are gifting this too likes ginger. You could sub it for another dried fruit or nut, or just omit it all together.
The only bad thing about this stuff is how addictive it is. It will behoove you to make it for someone else, avoiding any all night chocolate binges that have been known to happen. Not to me of course, but other people. Oh. And me. I know all our big holidays are behind us now, but this is a perfect New Years treat to bring to a festive partay. Enjoy!
Draw a rectangle
Melt that Choc-co-lat. mmmmmmm.
Pour in rectangle, doing a better job than I did. 
Sprinkle on delicious goodies

French Chocolate Bark
Based On Barefoot Contessa's French Chocolate Bark

The Goods: Makes 20-24 pieces
8 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup roasted almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 inch diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup candied ginger, 1/2 inch diced

The Deal: 
1. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and draw a 9-inch by 10 inch rectangle on the paper. Flip the paper over.

2. Place all the semi-sweet chocolate and half of the bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and continue to microwave until all the chocolate has JUST melted, checking every 20 seconds, stirring with each check. Once fully melted, immediately add the rest of the bittersweet chocolate and stir vigorously until the chocolate is completely smooth.

3. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the draw rectangle, doing your best to distribute the chocolate evenly. Use a spatula to get all the chocolate out of the bowl and evenly spread it on the paper. Then top the chocolate in this order: ginger, almonds, cherries, apricots, and raisins. Set aside until firm, about 2 hours. Once firm, but into squares and serve at room temperature.
This will keep for about a week served in a air tight container.

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