Thursday, December 16, 2010

spicy chocolate bark

spicy chococlate bark
Every year I do a big baking day for sharing with teachers and friends. It's an all day affair. Multiple treats. Fun... but my, does it wipe me out. My sister in-law inspired me to switch it up this year and try a simplified version. Of course, my ears perked up to "SIMPLE". Her advice: one sophisticated and memorable confection. Just one. Sounded good to me. Sometimes you need the objectivity of someone you trust to pull you out of a rut. She recommended her rich and spicy bittersweet bark. I modified it a bit, but it's incredible and far too addicting, nonetheless. The sweet, tart cranberries offset the fire from the chili and salt on the pepitas, but there remains a complex heat after each bite... leaving you wanting more. Oh mercy, it's so good! The original recipe calls for roasting raw pepitas(pumpkin seeds) with salt and cayenne and using dried cherries. I made it even simpler by purchasing  pepitas already spiced in the bulk section of our co-op. These Spicy Pepitas are available on line and just happen to be a part of my cousin's nut and dried fruit business: Tierra Farm. It's a fantastic company with wonderful practices/products, and I'd give them a shout out even if I hadn't known the owner my whole life!
 So do you want to make the easiest and most unforgettable treat ever?

Spicy Chocolate Bark
~Melt two bags of bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Slide it into a warm oven until it looks like this:
spicy chococlate bark
~Spread with a spatula until smooth and even.
~Sprinkle with spicy pepitas and dried cranberries or chopped dried cherries. I dusted a corner with cinnamon to experiment with a full Mexican flavor. Delicious!
~Chill for two hours in the fridge and then break into bite sized pieces.
Wash hands well so that there isn't any remaining cayenne or chili left.
spicy chococlate bark
If you want to roast your own pepitas, make sure that they are raw. Toss a handful into a heavy skillet with a little olive oil. Watch carefully to ensure that they don't burn. (3-4 minutes). Turn of heat and sprinkle with salt and cayenne to taste.

Note: much to the disappointment of my daughter this is too spicy for her, and she wants you to know that this is not really a little kid treat. As I said... "sophisticated". I give you my word that she is not being deprived of holiday sweets, but she's definitely missing our usual peppermint bark (we always make Martha's recipe, but this triple layer via Amanda looks pretty darn good), so maybe a small batch of some other kind of bark will happen next week. In the meantime, these are being packaged up with some other goodies for the wonderful grown-ups in our life!
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20 comments:

  1. this looks so awesome! And I love the simplicity/clean way of melting the chocolate on the pan vs. in another dish. Yay for simple!

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  2. That looks awesome! It makes me want to try out my own type of bark!

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  3. Betz, thanks for the reminder- NO CLEAN-UP! Well, one little spatula really doesn't amount to much!

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  4. Yum, this looks right up my alley with the spicy/salty/sweet!

    Did you know that it is best to soak your pepitos overnight in salt water and then roast them? This gets rid of the phytic acid that is the seeds. The phytic acid keeps all the great nutrients of the seeds unavailable to the human digestive system. This blogger explains it better than I can: http://nourishedkitchen.com/toasted-pumpkin-seeds-chili-and-lime/

    I will have to make this recipe and luckily I have all the ingredients on hand too!

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  5. Oh, this is right up my alley. Sweet and spicy gets me everytime. I'm heading into town tomorrow and I think I'll have a look for some pepitas.

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  6. My mom would LOVE this! She's hooked on those pricey chili-infused chocolate bars. I'll be making some of this this weekend Thanks Maya!

    ...and yes, a friend's objective perspective can be better than gold sometimes.

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  7. I think this recipe must have been designed just for me - it looks absolutely INCREDIBLE. I really don't love white chocolate, so I always feel a little left out around the dish of peppermint bark - but not anymore! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. I'm not so much a bark fan (or a chocolate fan, for that matter), but I could very likely get behind something with spicy nuts/seeds in it. Also, yay for Greenstar! ;-) I do love a co-op. (Ithaca is like Davis, CA-East. Or Davis is like Ithaca-West. Or something.)

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  9. Good lord woman, do you want me to be the size of Santa!?!?!?!? x

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  10. I will definitely have to make this with some changes (we can't use ghiradelli chocolate because of my son's allergies) but I have an organic one that is nut free. I'll let you know how they turn out. Can't wait...and my three year old will probably like them (she likes spicy stuff like her mama, unlike my four year old. But that's okay, I love his just the same. hehe.)

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  11. hmmmm looks deliciously spicy! and pretty easy to make. thank you for another great idea!...and the sister in law of course .

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  12. The cake is looking great and yummy.I will try this cake.Thanks for this post.

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  13. I love that this is not made with that weird pseudo-chocolate bark. I can do this! And I will! I'm putting together coffee baskets for my in-laws, and I just know they would love some of this as well. My Christmas gifts would be awfully lacking without all of your tutorials! Thank yoU!

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  15. glad I saw Betz's tweet about this, not sure how I overlooked it. alas, there is still time and this is not on my weekend baking list! thanks, it looks delish!

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  16. that looks so beautiful and fun to make! hmmm. we're headed up to the mountains so we weren't planning to attempt that much baking at altitude.. but melting chocolate shouldn't be too difficult!! maybe we'll try making that! thank you for the wonderful idea! :::

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  17. I am glad you listened to your sister in law.. just one and WOW!! what a beauty!!
    have a wonder filled holiday

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  18. I cannot find the punkin seeds, so I found some thai spiced peanuts and am going to try that out. :D

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  19. I make this with white chocolate, pastachio's and craisins. IT looks very festive if you use white choc. Everyone comments on it when I make mine.. and it is sooooo easy!

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  20. I made the exact same combination and it was delicious, actually it was my best experiment.
    I also tried a few other things but the 2nd best was white choc with cardamom + cranberries and pecans.
    Bittesweet choc + candied oranges+almonds was not bad either but lacked the kick of the others.

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