Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Almond Bark

When John and I went to Mendocino, every single day I managed to visit the chocolate shop to buy some almond bark.  Almond bark hadn't previously been something I obsessed about, but it was just so delectable from this store that I kept going back for more.  I even got some at the rival chocolate shop down the street, but it didn't compare.  I managed to find some at a chocolate shop in Danville a few weeks back.  It was good, but not as good as the Mendocino Chocolate Company.

Since Mountain View is devoid of chocolatiers, I figured if I had any intention of expanding my thighs by way of almond bark, I would have to find a way to make almond bark myself.  My internet searching so began, and I was surprised to see that none of my favorite blogs or websites had almond bark recipes.  I expanded my search to barks of all kinds and discovered the secret to bark: it's just melted chocolate.  Seriously.  Milk chocolate almond bark is comprised of two ingredients: chocolate and almonds.  Sold!

I'm partial towards milk chocolate almond bark, but a darker chocolate would work great too.  Since you are doing almost nothing to these ingredients, make sure they are top notch.  Because my intention was to balloon up from all of this almond bark, I decided I would go for an enormous piece of chocolate.  It was about a pound and made a cookie sheet worth.  I also was lucky enough to have some raw almonds in my fridge from the farmers market.  You do not want raw almonds in your bark, however, because they are too soft.  This is easily fixed by roasting the almonds yourself.  Just spread out the almonds on a cookie sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 10-13 minutes.  The smell will knock your socks off.  I always thought those candied nuts shops in the mall smelled so tempting because of the candied portion of their inventory, but apparently it's the roasted nuts that have the tempting aroma.

The milk chocolate I used was "melty" to the touch even before I made it into bark, so I've been keeping mine stored in the fridge in airtight containers.  If you used a  darker chocolate, I don't think you'll need to do this, but feel free to play it by ear.

If you find almond bark as irresistible as I do, consider yourself warned.  This stuff is addictive beyond belief and you will find yourself eating candy bar-sized portions at intervals throughout the day.

What occasion doesn't call for more chocolate anyway?

Almond Bark

About 1 pound chocolate
About 1 1/2 cups almonds

If using raw almonds, spread in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan.  Roast at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes until browned and fragrant.  The almonds will continue to cook when out of the oven, so they only need to be cooked until they are 90% done.  When cooled they will be crunchy.

Chop a one pound block of chocolate into coarse pieces using a serrated knife.  In a double boiler or a glass bowl positioned over a pot with an inch of boiling water melt the chocolate, mixing constantly.  Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the roasted almonds until completely covered.  Pour the mixture onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and spread until even.  Cool in the fridge until completely hard (at least one hour).  Chop into two-inch squares and store in an airtight container either in the fridge or on the counter.

1 comment:

  1. Any chance for a taste when you visit the house?


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