Thursday, December 6, 2007

French Chocolate Bark v2.0

I can't leave well enough alone. Tonight I made some changes to the French Chocolate Bark I made earlier. I am dying to try it. The difference?

Cherries for one. Almonds for the other. Smoked almonds to be precise for that smokey salty contrast to the smooth sweet chocolate and fruit.

I chose almonds as they already are a pairing with apricots. Something to do with them being related plants and similar flavins. Apricots and cherries are another common match for the same reason. Want your cherry pie to taste more cherry? Add a teaspoon of good almond extract and see what happens. Wow.

Anyway tonight's version of the recipe:

9 1/2 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole roasted, salted smoked almonds, chopped
1 cup chopped dried apricots coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries coarsely chopped.

Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a 9 by 10-inch rectangle on the paper. Turn the paper face down on the baking sheet.

When chocolate is melted smooth fold in 1/3 of the chopped almonds.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the paper and spread to form a rectangle, using the outline. Sprinkle the remaining smoked almonds, apricots and cherries over the chocolate. pat lightly with hand. Cover loosely with plastic wrap while it cools.

Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1 by 3-inch pieces and serve at room temperature.

This version I used the Valrhona Guana 70% Dark Chocolate. Again, I used a silpat with a sheet the size I needed underneath rather than fuss with parchment paper. Did I mention life is good with silpat sheets?

I think I shall go to bed as the most agonizing thing for a person with an active sweet tooth is to watch chocolate set up for tasting. Tomorrow is the big unwrapping and I can't wait to taste it.

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