French chocolate bark


This recipe is from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics” cookbook.

1 cup whole salted, roasted cashes
6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 to 7 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, 1/2-inch diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2-inch diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Directions (Abbreviated by myself):

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Roast cashews in one layer and bake for eight minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place semisweet chocolate and half of bittersweet in glass bowl and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds. Take out and stir. Repeat until chocolate is just melted. Immediately add rest of bittersweet chocolate and allow to sit at room temperature, until it’s completely smooth.
Pour melted chocolate onto parchment paper into rectangular shape – about 9 by 10 inches.
Sprinkle top in following order: ginger, cashews, cherries, apricots and raisins. Set aside until firm.

My substitutions:
I couldn’t find dried cherries so I used dried cranberries with cherry flavour. They were simply delicious, and even more festive.
I didn’t use Valhrona or Callebaut like Ina Garten suggested as it was my first time making this recipe, and I wasn’t convinced of the flavours. I used Baker’s chocolate without finely chopping it.
I was careful to watch the chocolate before it burned, however, and there was no problem.
I also found 2 hours at room temperature weren’t enough to set the chocolate properly, so I covered it carefully and put it in the refrigerator for another 40 minutes.

Would I make this again?
Without a doubt. With the proper preparation, it was easy to make beautiful to look at it. Not to forget the taste, the salt in the cashews, the sweet apricots and cranberries, and that final kick of ginger complement each other harmoniously. Had I used sweeter chocolate, it would have been overpowering, however, so don’t be tempted to use up the sweeter chocolate in your fridge.

Five stars out of Five



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