Friday, December 13, 2013

Dried Cherry and Orange Peel Bark

Wow, it has been such a whirlwind during the last few weeks! Our two week vacation started with a week in North Carolina, a wedding in Tampa, and a week lounging on the beach and drinking out of coconuts in the Dominican Republic - it was just what we needed. It felt like we had been gone for a month, with all of our flight hopping to new places. After all the traveling, we were happy to come back to New York and get in the holiday spirit!

Hello DR!
We bought our Christmas tree the day after we got back to jump right in! Decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, and having a Home Alone night (large cheese pizza and Coca Cola are a must!) kicked us right into holiday mode - especially with some snow last Sunday evening!

I got even more into the Christmas spirit during my book club. We decided to have a favorite things gift exchange, where you bring three of your favorite thing (all the same item), draw names, and hand out your gifts to your friends while explaining why they are your favorite thing. My favorite thing was a hand painted mug and a box of English Breakfast tea! We had a great time, complete with wine, prosecco, and of course, a holiday spread of delicious goodies!

I had a busy week so I knew I wanted to make an easy, but delicious sweet treat. And what's easier or better than holiday bark?! There are limitless combinations of chocolate and toppings to make any type of holiday bark you fancy. 

Bark before going in the fridge to harden
I knew I didn't want to go with the classic white chocolate and peppermint, so I looked for a recipe with dark chocolate and pops of flavor. I found a great recipe for dried cherry and orange peel bark that was beyond easy to make.

After I melted a pound of semisweet chocolate, I poured it into a 9 x 13 casserole dish covered in parchment paper (a baking sheet of the same size would also work - I just didn't have one that size). I then added zest from one orange and 1/4 cup of chopped dried cherries evenly on top. I wanted to add a little extra crunch element so I toasted some slivered almonds, chopped them up a little, and sprinkled them on top too.

After firming up the bark in the fridge for at least an hour (I did mine for about 1.5 to 2 hours), you can break it apart into random shapes. The flavor is really great - the chocolate is sweet and a little bitter, the almonds add a nice crunch and nuttiness, and the dried cherries add a chewy element and sweetness. The best ingredient by far was the orange zest. The touch of citrus and acidity really made all of the elements of the bark really come together. I highly recommend bringing this to your next holiday get together - it will definitely be a hit!

1 comment:

  1. Emily, that sounds very tasty! Of course, I'd have to use vegan chocolate, but the rest of the ingredients would work fine. :-)