Chocolate bark and chocolate covered strawberries
Choose the best chocolate you can afford
The best chocolate bark ever
Chocolate bark from upscale candy stores and fine chocolatiers is beautiful but pricey. If this is one of your favorite ways to eat good chocolate, consider making your own bark. You will quickly develop a reputation for your specialty.
It gets more expensive the better the quality of fruit, nuts and chocolate that is used. My sweetheart likes chocolate with peppermint bark. I like the holiday colors of dried cranberries and chopped pistachios in dark chocolate.
Choose salted or unsalted nuts. Toasting the nuts is optional. Completely cool after toasting. Chop into pieces. Serving size is your choice. I cut the bark into domino shapes, about 1” by 2” pieces.
Ina Garten has a beautiful recipe for French chocolate bark. Find it on the Food Network TV . The semisweet and bittersweet chocolate is covered with chunks of dried apricot, cranberries and cashews.
Melt chocolate in ramekins
Most recipes melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. I have had success using the crock pot as the heating element for chocolate.
Add chocolate pieces to ramekins. Set the ramekins in the crock pot set to low heat. As chocolate begins to melt, stir to help chocolate melt evenly. A chopstick works well as a stirrer.
Heating the ramekins in the crock pot gives you the options to melt multiple kinds of chocolate. For example melt white chocolate, dark chocolate and a semisweet in individual ramekins. This is especially helpful when dipping strawberries or pretzels.
Chocolate covered fruit must be used in 1 or 2 days. Keep the unused chocolate in the ramekin. Cover or put cooled ramekins in a zip lock bags.
Reheating chocolate filled ramekins in the crock pot the next day is quick and easy. You can quickly dip another small batch of fresh strawberries any time.
How to toast nuts
Toasting nuts intensifies flavor.
Oven Toasting - Set oven at 350°. Spread about 1/2 cup of nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Stir and return to oven. Continue to bake and stir every 5 minutes. About 10 more minutes. Watch and stir.
Stove Top - Spread 1/2 cup of nuts in a skillet. Medium cooking and stirring frequently for about 10 or 15 minutes.
Nuts quickly become brown and fragrant. Nuts can burn fast, watch closely.
Make it in minutes
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Or, I just lay out parchment paper on cool marble or granite.
Pour warmed chocolate onto the prepared pan or marble. Spread the chocolate evenly to about an 1/8 inch with a spatula. Add toppings. Gently press fruits and nuts into the chocolate, making sure toppings are in contact with chocolate.
Allow bark to set firmly, an hour of two. Or, place baking sheets in the freezer for about 20 minutes to quickly set bark.
Serving and storing
Cut chocolate into even pieces just before the chocolate is completely set. Cut pieces 1" x 2" for example. For larger uneven pieces, wait until the chocolate is completely set then, break up bark.
Store in a cool, dry place away from moisture. I use a tin or heavy ziplock to store bark.
Store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Chocolate dipped fruit and pretzels
Dip fruit, nuts, berries
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Chocolate Covered Everything
Use the same method and high quality ingredients to make chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels as you do making bark.
Dipped strawberries are best made and served in the same day. Or refrigerate to serve the next day. Chocolate tipped pretzels are best if kept up to 5 or 6 days in a cool and dry.
Chocolate edged cookies may be messy too make or eat. But a chocolate tipped or edged cookie is much easier to create and to eat. Always leave a chocolate-free space on berries and finger foods. It gives guests a way to hold the food without holding melting chocolate in hand.
Plump juicy strawberries
Just 2 Ingredients
- 6-8 ounces dark chocolate, (or semisweet)
- 12-18 strawberries, very fresh
Cook Time + time to cool
It's premium chocolate, 5 star of course
- Wash berries and allow to dry completely. Melt chocolate in small bowls. Cover baking sheet or granite counter with waxed paper.
- Bunching the green leaves, pick up strawberry. Dip into chocolate and swirl to cover all but the green top of the berry. Hold chocolate covered berry over the bowl until the chocolate stops dripping.
- Lay berry on waxed paper and draw it across the paper about an inch. This will reduce that chocolate "foot" under the berry. Allow to chocolate to set.
- Leave chocolate to completely cool and se on cookie sheet. Or place baking sheet in fridge for 20 minutes.
Pick three flavors
crushed peppermint candy
candied orange peel
Melt chocolate in the microwave
Another way to melt chocolate
CAUTION: The bowl and the chocolate are very hot. Have hot pads and potholders at the ready.
Set microwave at 50% power. Add chocolate pieces to a small bowl. Heat for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir chocolate to melt evenly.
Return to microwave. Heat for 30 seconds (at 50% power), then stir. Repeat for 30 seconds and stir to completely melt chocolate. Better to be patient and stir chocolate to melt.
Good chocolate for less
Good chocolate for less money
Simply using the chocolate flavored blocks from the grocery store is acceptable for big groups or large parties.
Get a richer, much chocolatey flavor, Start with one individual square from the block and one premium chocolate bar (3 - 3.5 ounces).
Also melting chocolate chips is OK too. Add a premium dark chocolate bar to enrich the flavor. My favorites are Ghirardelli, Lindt, Godiva. I also found Good & Delish Premium German Dark Chocolate Bar Mid-Knight at Walgreens.
- If you know of a good quality chocolate bar in your area, please leave the name of it in a comment below.
- If you have a favorite bark combination, please share that too. (like chocolate with chilies and orange zest or candied orange peel.
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