Monday, December 15, 2014

Dark Chocolate Espresso Almond Sea Salt Bark

Dark Chocolate Espresso Almond Sea Salt Bark is simple to make and has a wow factor that's off the chart. I know the title of this treat is extra long but every single component really must be acknowledged because each one is essential in making it taste so good.

The only secret to making it is to use the best ingredients you can buy. My preference is Belgian Callebaut Dark Chocolate, Stumptown Espresso Beans and sea salt and slivered almonds from the bulk bin of my neighborhood grocery store. The bark is also quick to make, taking just about 30 minutes from start to finish and is a great homemade gift for family and friends this holiday season. It is addictive though, so be prepared to share the recipe or get asked to make it on a regular basis.

Here's the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Espresso Almond Sea Salt Bark
1/2 pound dark chocolate, in chip form or roughly chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup espresso beans
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes or until browned and fragrant. These go from toasted to burned very quickly so keep an eye on them. Remove them from the oven and set aside.

Put the espresso beans in a plastic bag and lightly crush them with a rolling pin. Set them aside.

Prepare a sheetpan by lining it with a piece of parchment paper. Set it aside.

Measure out 1/3 cup of the chocolate and reserve it for later. Put the remaining chocolate in a double boiler set over low heat. Slowly melt the chocolate keeping and eye on it and stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the 1/3 cup of reserved chocolate and keep stirring until it too melts.  This last step might seem strange but it's called "the seeding method" and it's one way to temper the melted chocolate. The tempered chocolate you reserved and add will enhance the crystallization process of the melted chocolate.

After all the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the parchment-lined pan and gently spread it out to 1/4-inch thick using a spatula. Lift and gently tap the pan on the counter to help the chocolate settle into place.

Immediately sprinkle on the toasted slivered almonds, crushed espresso beans and sea salt. Refrigerate the bark uncovered until it completely hardens. Break the bark into rough pieces to serve.

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