If I had I had a dollar for every time I've heard Ina Garten declare "How Easy Is That?" then I would have a fat stack of bills in my wallet. Ina repeats this catch phrase over and over again on her hit cooking show, but what's more is that she actually proves it, by showing us how easy it is to cook her five star dishes.
This recipe for French Chocolate Bark is an example of just how foolproof and easy Ina's recipes are. A handful of quality ingredients, a set of simple instructions, and voilà ...you have yourself a five-star chocolate bark that would rival anything you could find at an upscale chocolate shop!
This chocolate bark calls my name with all the delicious toppings: roasted and salted cashews, sweet dried cherries, and beautiful orange dried apricots. The colors just scream Halloween to me and makes this perfect for taking to any upcoming Halloween celebrations. The textures and flavors are out of this world: crunchy and salty cashews with sweet and chewy bits of dried fruit and creamy chocolate. Wow! Your taste buds are in for a special treat with this one!
French Chocolate Bark
Adapted from Back To Basics
by Ina Garten
Makes 18 to 20 pieces
1 cup whole salted, roasted cashews
6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 to 7 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, 1/2-inch diced*
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2-inch diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
*Note: I omitted the crystallized ginger and raisins simply because I didn't have them on hand. I used Ghiradelli chocolate with great results.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a pencil, draw a 9 x 10-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan, then turn the parchment paper over.
Spread the cashews in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the semisweet chocolate and half the bittersweet chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 20 to 30 seconds. (Don't trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly into the drawn rectangle. Sprinkle the top evenly in the following order; first the ginger, then the cooled whole cashews, the cherries, apricots, and raisins. Set aside for 1 to 2hours until firm. Cut the bark in 18 to 20 pieces and serve at room temperature.