Sweet treats don’t have to be time consuming. They just have to be good. In my book there’s nothing quite as simple, and definitely not as good, as a decadent, rich chocolate. Hit it with a little Chipotle spice and a salty crunch and man oh man, I go weak in the knees. Sounds like every Valentine’s dream, right?
I’ve had a thing for chocolate bark ever since I featured Gerry of the food blog Foodness Gracious in my Holiday Issue of FoodieCrush magazine. Not only does the guy do savory, he also knows his way around the sweet side of the kitchen.
But that wasn’t the first time I fell hard for his confections. The first time I met Gerry was at The Big Traveling Potluck when he handed me one of his luscious specialty caramels. Let’s just say we started off on a very good foot which left me licking my fingers clean.
This time around, Gerry created a few recipes for some lovely concoctions specially for the Holiday issue of FoodieCrush magazine, creating my idea of a chocolate dreamland heaven.
First there was Gerry’s Cranberry and Pistachio Bark.
And then he came up with his up-and-at-’em Espresso White Chocolate Bark.
And since it was Christmas, of course he created a Peppermint Bark.
But then Gerry went all Pat Benatar on me and hit me with his best shot: Jalapeño Ancho Chile Bark.
I’ve been thinking on that one for a while.
Being inspired by his Chocolate Bark recipes made me think, why not gussy up a Valentine’s version of all this chocolate glory?
About the chocolate:
Most melting chocolates are called compound chocolates. These are the types of coatings you’ll find on candy bars like Snickers, Baby Ruths and the like. While they taste like chocolate (usually), these aren’t true and pure chocolate or cocoa like the kind you’ll see when a recipe calls for 60% cocoa, etc., or the type in fine, high grade chocolates.
With the addition of vegetable fats like coconut oil or palm oil, the compound chocolates tend to melt easier, create a smooth texture and glossy finish for a novice chocolatier like myself. One day I’ll learn to temper chocolate and become a master without this shortcut. Once I’ve mastered the other 417 recipe creations on my list.
About the recipe:
I used chipotle powder in this recipe, and totally loved the slow burn that showed up after the smooth taste of the chocolate melted in my mouth and snuck down the back of my throat. Seriously, so good. But if the smokey earthiness of chipotle just isn’t your thing, you can certainly use chile powder.
The melting chocolates I used are a higher grade than the regular grocery store version. I found them at my local baking store, Orson Gygi. Man, I spend too much time wandering the aisles there, dreaming of spun sugar and buying baking pans of every size and shape. Slap my hands, there’s no more room at the inn!
For the dark chocolate I used Ghriardelli dark melting chocolate wafers.
For the white melting chocolate wafers I used Guittard Vanilla A’peels.
I wish I’d swirled my chocolate a little less, a little more swoopy. Be careful not to overwork the swirling or you’ll end up with one pink blob. It would still taste great, but…
I used almonds in this incarnation. I vacsilated over using Pistachios instead. You can use whatever nut / chocolate / spice combo floats your boat.
- Line an 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper. I use 2 8 X 10 inch pieces and criss cross them across the bottom.
- Place dark chocolate wafers in a heat proof bowl and place on top of a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water, but don’t let water touch bottom of bowl. Bring to a boil and melt the chocolate, stirring often. Add the chipotle chile powder and mix into the melted chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading the chocolate to the edges and gently tap the pan to even out the chocolate. Place in the refrigerator to set, about an 20 minutes.
- Melt the white chocolate wafers in another heat proof bowl and the pink chocolate wafers in a different heat proof bowl using the same method as above.
- When chocolate is melted, remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour ¾ of the pink chocolate over the dark chocolate, then drizzle the white chocolate over the pink chocolate, leaving some of the pink exposed. Top with chopped almonds and use a butter knife to swirl the two chocolates together. Top with flaked sea salt and sprinkle with extra chili powder if desired. Refrigerate until hardened, about 20 minutes. Break or cut into pieces. Store chocolate in an airtight container in a cool spot or in the refrigerator.
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