Even though I have been cutting out the sweets since the holidays, we needed a little treat, and dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you.
One of the best things I ate during the holiday season was a chocolate nut bark studded with dried cherries and apricots, made by my friend Martha.
I kept it in the freezing cold garage, so when I wanted a piece, I would have to go out in the garage and sneak a piece. It was that good.
I googled chocolate bark and a zillion recipes came up.
I decided on this one from epicurious because it had so many rave reviews.
The reviewers all said they would increase the Fleur de Sel (premium sea salt from Brittany) next time, so I doubled the amount.
You can use any combination of fruits and nuts. I used what I had in the house.
My combo was dried figs, golden raisins and candied orange peel, along with toasted pistachios, almonds and crystallized ginger.
I used a broken up Trader Joe's 1 lb. dark chocolate 72% bar and melted it in the microwave in a large Pyrex glass measuring cup, instead of using the chips (microwave for 1-2 minutes and stir until melted).
The Fleur de Sel makes this bark very special. That salt and sweet combo just works so well. If you don't have Fleur de Sel, you can use kosher salt or Maldon salt instead (I usually like Maldon better, it is from England and is flakier and lighter).
Chocolate Bark with Fleur de Sel:
one 11.5 oz bag bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup mixed toasted nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and almonds)
2/3 cup mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, quartered figs, and quartered apricots)
6 quarter-size rounds crystallized ginger, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt (I used 1/4 tsp)
Line a small baking sheet with foil.
Melt chocolate chips in medium bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate onto foil, spreading with offset spatula to thickness of scant 1/4 inch. Scatter nuts and dried fruit over chocolate (*I mixed half of the nut fruit mixture in with the melted chocolate and the other half I sprinkled on top).
Sprinkle with ginger. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Peel off foil. Cut chocolate into irregular pieces. Serve bark slightly chilled.
This is not for everyone, since the salt and ginger imparts a very unique flavor, but it was one of the best treats I have made in a long time.
It is definitely for me.