I'm in the process of creating all kinds of treats and decor for an upcoming event. Most anything special involves chocolate for me. Once during the hottest day of summer I decided to make my own chocolate truffles, what a mess, they were delicious, but my white kitchen had chocolate in places I didn't think were possible. The weather is still nice here in L.A. so I think I'm safe to try my hand at this chocolate creation.
A reader once asked me whether I tempered my chocolate while making one of my recipes. I never have done this and wasn't sure why I needed to. So I went to doing my research on why and how. The best explanation and easiest recipe was found here, David Lebovitz is the blogosphere master of chocolate in my humble opinion.
Follow his recipe and use a proper thermometer, David suggest this one at Amazon, Chocolate Tempering Thermometer, if only I had this, it would have been much easier. But I made due with the one I had and well eyeballed it and tasted along the way. So far the chocolate has held up.
Use dark chocolate bittersweet chips no more than 70% cacao is suggested. I bought these at Surfas, in Culver City, California. But you can find decent chocolate in your local grocery store.
Melting and temperature checking. So hard not to take spoonfuls of this along the way. That is so not the right thermometer, try the one that David recommended on the link above.
Here are the ingredients for my chocolate bark. I did a few batches of chocolate. One where I stirred in a tablespoon of instant espresso coffee and then added in the toasted almonds and a few dried cherries. Of course I used my candied orange peels and pistachio for another version and finally added in apricots, cherries and almonds for a final version. Use whatever ingredients you like, pick your favorites I like to make sure to add some color so I tried to use a variety.
Here's where you get to smear the chocolate. I used a small 1/4 cooked sheet with parchment paper on the bottom. I smeared the chocolate out and started laying in my fixings, you need to work quickly before the chocolate starts to harden. Candied orange peels and pistachios for this batch.
Let it cool in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and then it's ready for breaking into pieces and eating right away, in my case i saved these for an event and will package them up the day before.
Voila, all done, delicious and beautiful. I can't wait to share these with my friends. Enjoy!