Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

365 in 365 - #13 - Chocolate Bark

One of my favorite combinations of flavors is dark chocolate, pistachios and dried cherries.  For some reason, the bitter sweet of the chocolate, the crunch of the nuts and the sweetness of the dried cherries is very seductive.

Stressed to Impress - with Valentine's Day fast approaching, any brave soul might want to try this to really impress their special someone.  You can purchase a heart shaped container from any craft store, line it with gold or silver tissue paper and then layer in the pieces of bark and tie it with a silk ribbon and add a rose.

Gentlemen (hint - hint), you can also tie the box with a silk ribbon and add a rose shaped brooch or lapel pin.  There are some lovely pins available with Austrian crystals on the web, just search "Austrian Crystal Rose Pin" and you will find some great choices.  As part of your Valentine celebration, give this as one element of a special day / evening that you might be planning...something "hand-crafted", unexpected and special.

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Dried Cherry Bark

1 pound chopped dark chocolate
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
One ~ 18 inch piece of waxed paper, laid flat on the counter.  You may need to tape each corner down to keep it in place.

In a medium ceramic or glass bowl, melt the chocolate very gently in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each use of the microwave.  As the chocolate begins to melt, decrease the time in 10 second increments until you are at 10 seconds.  Melt the chocolate very gently or it may seize.  If it does seize, you will need to throw it away, clean the bowl and start over.  This may take several minutes, but it does work very well.

Once the chocolate is melted, add the dried cherries, the nuts and stir.  Pour the candy onto the waxed paper (you may need to use a rubber spatula to get all the chocolate out of the bowl)  and spread the bark out in about a 1/3 inch layer.  I use an off-set spatula for this as it gives a very even candy.  Let it set until firm, then break into bite sized chunks and enjoy.

This is one of those candies that you can play with.  You can double the recipe, or use other combinations of chocolate, dried fruit and nuts.  Other flavors that have been very popular for me are white chocolate, macadamia nuts and chopped dried apricots; walnuts and dried cranberries or any other combination that you might like.

This also makes a great house warming gift for any occasion.

I hope y'all enjoy!

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