Thursday, January 10, 2013

White Chocolate Almond Bark

I am going to share with you how to make the easiest treat for holiday gift giving. If you’re like me, you find white chocolate a bit on the sweet side (and are not even convinced that it’s actually got anything to do with chocolate). If someone were to offer me a piece of white chocolate and a piece of dark chocolate, I would always choose the dark chocolate. However, there is one way that I do enjoy a piece of white chocolate, and that’s if it’s chock-a-block full of delicious roasted almonds. White chocolate and almonds are meant to be together.

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to get on the Route 2 bus and head out to the Village Mall (St. John’s, NL) to do some serious hanging around. Hanging around involved perusing the Daniel Hechter sweatshirt collection at Fairweather, checking out the latest footwear at Fredelle, perhaps venturing in to Le Chateau to see the latest trends...hanging around also involved a stop at the food court – to the Hot Shoppe in particular. The Hot Shoppe was owned by a friend’s parents and they made the best fries and gravy at the mall.

Once the fries and gravy were finished, and we had walked off a few of the calories, we’d inevitably head to Laura Secord for a bit of dessert. Some chose ice cream, some chose the French Mint chocolate bar, I always selected a piece of white chocolate almond bark. The selection process was critical – I had to ensure the appropriate ratio of almond to chocolate. (There was never enough almonds in my opinion, so I have rectified that with my own recipe.) Once I had chocolate in hand, the anticipation of that first bite was exciting. And once I had the first bite, I was always completely happy.

Here’s my version. This year for the holidays I made two batches – one with almonds, the second with both almonds and dried cranberries. Both were delish.

3 bags white chocolate chips
A whole lotta roasted almonds (unsalted - I buy them from Bulk Barn)
1 bag dried cranberries (or cherries)

Wrap a cookie sheet or two, or a flat tray, with Saran Wrap or parchment paper.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a stainless steel or glass bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling water. Stir constantly until smooth.

Quickly add the almonds and/or dried cranberries or cherries. Stir until incorporated.

Pour the contents of the bowl onto the trays/cookie sheets. Spread it all out.

Put the trays/cookie sheets into the fridge until the chocolate has hardened (about an hour).

Remove the trays/cookie sheets from the fridge and break the bark into pieces (some medium, some small).

Store the bark in the fridge in an airtight container until you are ready to plate it for your event, or your gift-giving exchange. I always like to include 4-5 pieces of this bark in my cookie tins that I give away each Christmas/Chanukah. It makes me very popular.


P.S. you can vary the ingredients however you please...hazelnuts, pistachios,  dried blueberries, broken-up candy cane pieces, whatever you desire.

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