If all has gone well, I am 72 hours post-op from reconstructive thumb surgery on my dominant hand for stage 4 arthritis. I’m afraid that my Valentine will only have memories of this fabulous chocolate bark from last year – but he’s still my one and only and there are some pre-purchased treats for him…
Ever since I first watched Ina Garten make her white chocolate bark, I have wanted to try my hand at it. You can find her original recipe in her How Easy Is That? cookbook or online at the Food Network recipe site.
Because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I made a few changes to Ina’s recipe to feature red and white colors. I splurged on a handful of Marcona almonds, my favorite, and added some cashews instead of the pistachios in Ina’s recipe. Dried cherries replaced her dried apricots, but I kept the dried cranberries. I had really wanted to throw in some dried strawberries but couldn’t find them anywhere. I kept to Ina’s technique, except for toasting the nuts in a skillet instead of, as she suggests, the oven. Marcona almonds toast really quickly and I wanted to keep a close eye on them.
As careful as I am about using salt in my cooking and baking, you need to use salted nuts here to contrast with the sweet chocolate and tart dried fruit. Splurge on the best white chocolate you can afford – I used Valrhona – expensive, but your Valentine deserves the best, right?
TIP: Don’t use white chocolate chips, tempting as it is, because they contain stabilizers and won’t melt properly. They don’t taste very good, either.
- ¼ cup salted Marcona almonds
- ¼ cup salted cashews
- 16 ounces best quality white chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Place the nuts in a skillet over medium-low heat, just until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
- Place a piece of parchment paper in a sheet pan and use a pencil to measure out an 8 X 10 rectangle. Turn the paper over to avoid getting pencil marks into the chocolate.
- Place ¾ of the chocolate into a heat-proof glass bowl. Heat the chocolate in a microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted. Add the rest of the chocolate and stir until melted.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the rectangle and gently smooth to fill the space. Add the nuts and fruit, sprinkling evenly over the chocolate, and use the back of a spoon to press into the chocolate.
- Chill for 1 hour in the fridge before breaking into large pieces.