Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dark Chocolate Almond Bark

Oh. Sorry. The above picture is very much NOT something edible. It's what happens when you take one completely adorable snow-loving dog for a walk in the midst of a winter storm. He gets so cute that he turns into a stuffed animal.

All right, enough with the thoroughly unhelpful pet photos. I assume you're here for the holiday candy-making. I began making almond bark because it's my father's favorite chocolate candy. I'd found a store near me that made it with really dark chocolate and was excited to pick some up for a present last Christmas. Not only were they out, they couldn't tell me either when or if they'd ever have it again. Very helpful. So I figured I could make my own. It's really not difficult, it's just a lot of stirring.

I strongly recommend using a candy thermometer with this recipe.

8 oz ghirardelli (or other high quality) chocolate. I use 70% because we like things very dark around here.
almonds - I completely eyeballed it, and then tossed the bag. I think I used a bit less than a cup. It kind of depends what kind of almond to chocolate ratio you prefer.

Use a double boiler or place a bowl over top of a pot. Use about 1/2 inch of water and if using a bowl, make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Chop your blocks of chocolate into smaller pieces. They don't need to be tiny or anything. Reserve a piece of chocolate that's about 1" by 1/2". Place the chocolate into the top part of the double boiler. Turn on your burner to medium. Turn on your candy thermometer. Heat the chocolate, while stirring, until the temperature reaches about 105 F. Then remove the bowl from the pot and continue to stir. The temperature may increase slightly before it starts going down. Add your piece of reserved chocolate at this point. Continue stirring constantly and keep a close eye on the temperature. When the temperature reaches 88 F add the almonds and stir until they're completely coated. Then using a spatula smear the chocolate almond mixture over a sheet of foil or parchment paper. Many recipes will tell you to premark the area you'll be covering with chocolate first (um, like before you even started melting the chocolate because when it reached 88F you don't want to be messing around) but I'm not uptight like that. You don't want it to be too thin, I think mine covered about an 8 by 8" or 9 by 9" area. Allow to harden. You can allow it to harden in the fridge. If you did the process correctly, you've tempered your chocolate which will keep it from getting to melty at room temperature and from coming off all over your hands. The refrigeration only speeds up the hardening, but you should be able to leave the bark out after that. If you mess up, no big deal. It still tastes good, you'll just have to lick your fingers more.


JMLC said...

mmmm, yummy. and can I please steal your dog??? xox

Carrietracy said...

Don't you have enough animals of your own?

bev said...

Excellent...chocolate all over the kitchen,, but an outstanding recipe.

Carrietracy said...

bev - I'm so happy it worked out for you! Happy Holidays!


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