Introduction: Bittersweet Chocolate Bark With Smoked Sea Salt, Roasted Almonds & Dried Cranberries
This candy bark couldn't be easier to make! No tempering necessary - just a microwave oven is all that is needed to melt the chocolate. Since there are only four ingredients, you must make sure the chocolate is top-quality and the dried fruit and nuts are as fresh as can be. If you find your fruit is a little too dry, just steam it in a basket over boiling water until it plumps up, then pat dry on paper towels. Any combination of nuts and dried fruit can be used, but I wouldn't change the bittersweet chocolate for another. The smokiness of the salt works best with dark chocolate and is fantastic! I bought my smoked salt at a gourmet shop, but check online if you can find it in a store. I used medium grind, which convinced me that a coarser grind would probably look and taste slightly better.
Step 1: Ingredients/Procedure
•1 pound bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao - finely chopped)
•2/3 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
•3/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds (or other dry roasted, unsalted nuts - coarsely chopped)
•1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt (coarse grind)
Line an 11x17-inch baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium microwaveable bowl. Place bowl in microwave oven and microwave for 1 minute. Stir with rubber spatula, then continue microwaving in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst. Continue with procedure until the mixture is melted and smooth and no lumps remain. Be careful not to scorch or chocolate might seize up and you'll have to start over with new chocolate.
Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the chocolate in an even layer about 1/4-inch thick on the prepared baking sheet.
Evenly scatter the dried cranberries and almonds over the chocolate, gently pressing them in so they adhere. Immediately sprinkle smoked salt over the top.
Set sheet aside to harden in a cool, dry spot. If in a hurry, the refrigerator works very well to set the bark up.
Once the bark has completely hardened, break it into irregular pieces. I store mine in waxed paper-lined tins in the refrigerator, but any cool, dark place will do. No need to worry about layering the pieces inside the tins if kept cool enough.
Step 2: Serving Suggestion
Plate this sophisticated bark with cookies and brownies. Makes a great gift for the chocolate lover on your list!