When a holiday or other special event comes around, it’s always good to have a recipe or two that tastes great and takes little time and effort to prepare. Here are two I’ve been making for years. My dark chocolate of choice is Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Bar, which will make two batches of bark or one of peanut-raisin clusters.
Sea-Salted Smoky Almond Chocolate Bark
8 oz. dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
½ c. smoked-flavor almonds, coarsely chopped, divided
1/8 t. sea salt (preferably large crystal)
Line an 8” baking pan with waxed paper.
Microwave small chocolate pieces in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) for 45 seconds. Stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring just until melted. Stir in ¼ c. almonds.
Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Tap pan several times to spread chocolate and settle nuts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Dark Chocolate Raisin Peanut Clusters
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped OR ½ lb. bittersweet and ½ lb. semi sweet chocolate
1 t. vegetable oil
1 c. raisins
1 c. coarsely chopped (unsalted) peanuts
½ c. finely chopped unsalted peanuts, for topping, optional
Line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper.
Stir in raisins and peanuts. Mix well.
Drop by ½ T. onto waxed paper, close together.
(Optional) Immediately sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Let harden (not in fridge.) Store in airtight container.
From The Christmas Kitchen, by Lorraine Bodger