Isn’t it great that there’s a whole day dedicated to chocolate?!
Okay, okay, I’m not being serious. And I certainly don’t mean to be insensitive to any religious folks out there. I do realise that for a great many people, Easter is about much more than chocolate. However as I’m an atheist to the bone, this weekend is pretty much ALL about the brown sticky goodness. That and having four days off work of course, could there be a better holiday?!
So this week I tried my hand at making chocolate bark; because a chocolate-melting project is always fun and you can really get creative with the flavours and appearance. For a few pointers I checked my infallible The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who like me is a little unable to stick to recipes; basically it helps you to mix and match flavours and gives you pointers and ideas as to what works well together (and why) without actually giving any recipes. I love it. After some flicking I decided to dress up some super-dark chocolate with almond and apricot and also rose, pistachio and cardamom. And what can I say? The Flavour Thesaurus never fails, although when you start with excellent quality, rich, dark chocolate, you would have to have a very serious fail for it not to taste like more, oh so much more.
Many thanks need to go to The Fella for helping me out with these photos. I made these on quite a hot day and struggled to take any decent shots in good light before the chocolate began to melt. He’s a bit of a creative whizz with the camera and help me tonnes. He did have quite the incentive though and obviously I rewarded him well! If you’re interested in checking our more of his work check out his website.
Happy chocolate day!
Almond and apricot chocolate bark & Rose, pistachio and cardamom chocolate bark
400 g dark couverture chocolate, or the best quality you can afford (couverture refers to the type of fat in the chocolate; it simply means that a higher proportion of the fats are from cocoa butter which leads to a smoother, richer chocolaty taste. In this instance I used Lindt Dessert 70% cocoa).
100 g almonds, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
100 g apricots, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cardamom
100 g pistachios, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
2 tbsp dried rose petals (I used a brand called pariya, who also make all kinds of other interesting and exotic yumness)
Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil and pop a bowl over the top. Break the chocolate pieces into this bowl and allow to melt, stirring gently until it is all liquid. Try not to eat too much of it at this stage, you will need to have at least some left for the bark.
Spread half the chocolate across a sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle the almonds and apricots over the top.
Add the cardamom to the remaining melted chocolate and stir well. Spread this chocolate across a second sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle the pistachios and dried rose petals over the top.
Allow both barks to cool for several hours, before breaking into rough pieces and enjoying.
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