So it looks like we won’t get any more Christmas cookies on the blog this year – boooo. Sad face. But maybe you needed something especially easy – and tasty – to make instead anyway. Something to zing the taste buds and add a little wow factor at the same time. Something that requires absolutely zero cooking.
Continue on, my fellow stressed out Holiday pseudo elves!
Technically this recipe only has four – FOUR – ingredients, but I decided to add another at the last minute: white chocolate. You’ll see why as you scroll down.
Now, I’m assuming everyone has a microwave to melt their chocolate, but if you don’t, never fear. Just melt it in a saucepan on your stove top over very low heat, stirring often. The recipe says to temper it using a double boiler, but I think they forgot the microwave was released for the public in 1967. The sixties saved our candy-bark-making-butts.
Using either a cake pan like we did above or a rimmed cookie sheet, spread your mixture, which is simply melted chocolate, chopped dried cherries and whole almonds, till it’s roughly a quartier or an inch thick. Amazingly enough it will not just goo into whatever shape it prefers till it’s thin as a pancake! It will only spread to whatever shape and thinness you spatuala-ize it to.
I thought the original recipe looked a little plain, so we melted a little white chocolate to drizzle over the top and give it a little contrast. And maybe a little more awesome flavor.
This is hands down the easiest treat you can make this Holiday season. The white and dark chocolates compliment each other perfectly. The tart dried cherries give it all a little kick and the almonds are a classic that you just cannot go wrong with.
Break it, literally, serve it up and I guarantee you will have some happy folks enjoying something you made from scratch in no time at all. Happy Holidays!
Almond-Cherry Chocolate Bark
Adapted slightly from SELF Magazine, December 2011
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 12
- 3/4 cup whole skin-on almonds
- 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (60 percent to 70 percent cocoa, we used bittersweet and semi-sweet mixed)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 ounces white chocolate
Heat oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toast 3/4 cup whole skin-on almonds until fragrant and light gold, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely; transfer to a bowl. Alternately, you can toast the almonds in a medium-heated pan on the stove, stirring often to prevent burning, about ten minutes.
In a microwave-safe bowl, place 12 ounces of chopped dark/semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate in bowl; Microwave at 80% power for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each microwave session, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, most of toasted almonds and 1/3 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped (reserve a handful of each to sprinkle on top). Pour onto baking sheet; spread into an even layer about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining almonds and chopped cherries evenly over the top.
In a separate microwave safe bowl, melt the chopped white chocolate as directed above for the dark chocolate. Using a spatula or spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the candy using a quick back and forth/side-to-side motion.
Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour. Break into 24 pieces or however many you need to. Refrigerate in an air-tight container until ready to use or for any leftovers.
We always use Ghirardelli chocolate (because it’s what our store carries) and we’ve always been happy with the recipe results.
When breaking up the candy into pieces, I used a butter knife to form as many as the pieces as possible to avoid handling the candy initially. The more you have to touch it, the more it will melt from those hot fingers.
There’s no need, surprisingly, to grease your pan in any way prior to laying down the chocolate mixture, but if it would make you feel better you could put down some wax or parchment paper first, then pour the chocolate and spread it. This will keep your pan clean anyway – no need to wash it after.