Friday, December 16, 2011

Claire's Chocolate Bark Debacle

Chocolate Bark.  Surely that's THE easiest home made gift for Xmas? 

I thought so and, as often is the case, decided to improv and concoct a recipe without consulting the cookery books.

Got my chocolate..check; macadamia nuts....check; chocolate dipped orange rind...check.

We're off to a promising start.

Only problem was the chocolate. 

I like Lindt chocolate but didn't read the small print.  It didn't look right when it started melting in the bain marie.  The texture was oddball. 

The melting chocolate seemed to drag on the bottom of the bowl and didn't have that glossy sexiness normally associated with molten chocolate.

Ok.  Got it.  I used the wrong chocolate.  Not enough cocoa solids.  (I always wondered why people insisted on 60-70% cocoa solids.) 

And now I know... 

Cheaper chocolate uses lots of milk solids as a filler which lowers the melting point of the chocolate.

Nevertheless, I continued to make a batch.

I used a meat mallet to bash the ingredients to smithereens.  I think I got carried away a bit...

Threw the ingredients into the melted chocolate and stirred...

Keri had tipped me off about the importance of using parchment paper to line the tray on which you are going to spread out the chocolate mixture.  So far so good.

I then left the tray in a cool spot to set.

Only it didn't.

Two days later I was still waiting so I resorted to the fridge, which worked. 

The downside of the fridge is that the difference in temperature caused the chocolate to develop a dusty white bloom.  Ok, I learned several good lessons from this experience, notably that cheaper chocolate has more milk solids and this is one of the things that separates when you refrigerate -- hence the ugly bloom. 

What a debacle (or should I say de-bark-le).

On to batch two of the bark.

Good quality dark chocolate....check; dried cranberries...check;  spiced pecans...check and macadamia nuts...check.

I bash the ingredients more carefully.  I know that I need to leave everything in larger chunks this time round. Stir into molten chocolate and pour onto tray.  This is looking better already.

Pop into fridge for 30 minutes and voila.  This is it.


I next assembled a pretty gift box, a bottle of champers and a mixer (in this instance Pomegranate juice to tie in with the cranberries in the bark)

One less 'to do' on my Xmas list...
To read Keri's more solid recipe and approach to making chocolate bark, read on....

1 comment:

Rob Feckler said...

lingOh, that seems tasty! This is not just good as a Christmas gift; this is also great for this coming special occasion: Valentine's Day. It would be lovely if you shape one into a heart.