Although I have never met Jamie Geller in person, I feel like I have known her for years after simply reading her books and her recipes. Her writing as well as her recipes are so approachable, full of genuine feeling and down to earth humor. I even found myself chuckling out loud after she sent me her post. Although she bills herself as the bride who didn’t know how to cook, she indeed has come a long way, providing her readers with delicious, do-able, comforting choices, be they for easy weeknight meals or for more elaborate celebratory dishes. Join her as she includes you in her warm embrace through her words and her versatile chocolate bark.
Salted Almond and Pistachio Bark
Kosher Status: Pareve •
Prep: 15 minutes •
Chill: 4 hours • Total: 4 hours, 15 minutes •
Yield: About 25 pieces of bark (each about 2 x 3 inches)
Bark is one of the easiest things to make. Just ask any tree.
Okay, the poet Joyce Kilmer may have written that only God can make a tree, but
we mortals can make a pretty mean chocolate bark (I said that last part). All you need is
a microwave and a fridge. And some chocolate.
So, like once a year I get my nails done—my fantasies about having a weekly standing
appointment are second only to my fantasies about living in a spa. Anyway, on the
occasional days that I get there, they always have Food Network on. One day, I saw Ina
Garten make a French chocolate bark, and I thought, How easy-peasy is that? I’m
gonna try it. I think that show was at least four years ago, but I remembered it. I have a
great memory for some things. My day to drive carpool, not so much; but a recipe idea I
want to make stays with me forever.
1 3⁄4 pounds good-quality 60% cacao semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄4 cups roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
1 1⁄4 cups roasted shelled pistachios, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
11⁄2 teaspoons coarse flake sea salt
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in a microwave in 10-secondintervals, stirring often, until smooth. Add ½ cup of the almonds, ½ cup of the pistachios, and the vanilla and stir well to coat the nuts. Use a rubber spatula to spread the mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the salt and the remaining ¾ cup almonds and ¾ cup pistachios over the top. Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 2 to 4 hours.
3. Break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between the pieces. The bark can be stored for about 1 week.
Use 2½ cups trail mix in place of the almonds and pistachios.
Make French Chocolate Bark like Ina’s, which is essentially a combo of dried fruits and nuts sprinkled on top of your bark (as opposed to mixed in). The fruits remind me of shiny jewels. (They know how to do it in France.) Dried apricots, cranberries, cherries, pineapple—anything you like works. Add cashews or peanuts or nuts of your choice. Just coarsely chop your topping; you will need about 2½ cups’ worth.
DRESS IT DOWN
• Kiddie Candy Bark •
Instead of making the bark with nuts and salt, try chopped-up candy bar pieces,
crushed pretzels, or mini marshmallows. Experiment with interesting combinations.