As you may have guessed from reading my blog over the last few months, I do love dark chocolate. In fact, in moderation, it is one of my favorite foods. I am always thinking about ways to incorporate it into my diet. (Read more about the benefits of dark chocolate here.) When I was little, my mom use to make candy barks for the holidays. Her bark involved making an amazingly yummy toffee and then covering it in chocolate. This seemed like more steps than I was prepared for today so I decided to try a bark that felt a little less complicated. I already had the four ingredients for this bark in my house so it felt like a no brainer to combine them to make a tasty treat.
Here are the cherries and nuts all ready to be added to the melted dark chocolate. I roughly chopped the nuts but you can make them as fine as you want depending on your preference.
Even though I used ingredients I already had in my house, I was so excited because for my birthday, I received a cookbook called Nuts in the Kitchen by Susan Herrmann Loomis with all sorts of recipes about cooking with nuts. In reading the book, I was intrigued by all the benefits offered by each specific nut. I live in Oregon whose state nut is the hazelnut. Hazelnuts are everywhere and so delicious. In her book, Susan points out that hazelnuts “contain some folate (or vitamin B9) which helps the body make new protein and red blood cells…Hazelnuts also contain generous amounts of copper and manganese.” Dried cherries, one of the other ingredients in this recipe, also provide a good source of copper. Their tart- sweet taste also offers the benefits of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. (And of course, don’t forget all the benefits of dark chocolate.) I hesitate to call this bark a candy because there are so many benefits to eating it!!
- about 6.5-7 oz of dark chocolate
- short 1/2 cup of hazelnuts, chopped
- short 1/2 cup of cherries
- Fresh ground sea salt, optional
- Melt dark chocolate in double broiler on the stove.
- While melting, chop nuts to desired size.
- Line pan with parchment paper.
- When chocolate finishes melting, fold in cherries and nuts.
- Pour chocolate mixture onto parchment cover pan.
- Spread mixture across pan.
- Grind salt on top if using.
- Let sit out for at least 2 hours or until hard.
- Break into bite sized pieces.
A couple of hints: This bark was packed with nuts and cherries, if you prefer a higher ratio of chocolate to mix ins, I would either melt more chocolate or reduce the amounts of the cherry and nuts. Also, next time I make this, I will be a little more generous with the salt. It is sooo yummy with the sweetness of the chocolate that I think a little more would be nice.
This recipe lends itself to lots of experimentation. I am already thinking of potential ingredients for the next round. What are your favorite ingredients in candy?