Who Needs Candy Bars? or Why You Should Make Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Bark Immediately…

If you read my last post, it is abundantly clear that I LOVE chocolate.  It needs to be said, however, that I love good, dark chocolate.  I’m just not a milk chocolate girl, and I definitely do not groove to the white chocolate.  I also don’t need huge doses of it to satisfy my craving for the good stuff.  There are some really great dark chocolate candies and bars out there that have, for a long time, satisfied my desire for dark chocolate.  I’ve now found a new, and unbelievably simple way to (almost always) have some dark chocolate happiness on hand when those cravings hit.  Plus, dark chocolate, in  moderation (of course) is heart healthy…I can’t think of a better excuse to have this treat!

You only need a few ingredients…

A bag of dark or bittersweet chocolate chips.  These are my favorite brand, but any dark chocolate chip would work – Nestle and Hershey make some good ones as well.  You could even buy 10-12 oz. of dark chocolate bars and chop those up as well.

You also need…

You need about 1/3 cup…or a handful if you’re not feeling like being precise.  I think I went the handful route the day I made this.

You’ll also need this…

Chop about 1/3 c. pecans…or, again, a handful…and finally, you need this…

A note on Fleur de Sel…this is a jar I picked up at Chelsea Market in NYC.  You don’t have to run out and look for pricey Fleur de Sel.  You can use or buy any coarse salt..sea salt or even flaked sea salt would be best, but if all you have is Kosher salt, then go for it.  You’re using a small amount and it’s only there to cut the sweetness of the chocolate and the cranberries. So please, don’t stress or think you can’t make this if you don’t have THIS sea salt.

So now that you have your ingredients…here we go…

You’ll need a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.

You’ll need to melt your chocolate.  I melted mine in the microwave in a glass measuring cup.  Heat in 30 second intervals and stir after each interval.  Eventually, you’ll get silky smooth and pourable chocolate.  Pour your chocolate onto the parchment lined cookie sheet and spread into a rectangle.  You’ll be looking for somewhere between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.

Next, sprinkle with your cranberries and pecans.  Cover to your desired taste.  Finally, sprinkle with the sea salt…you only need a pinch or two, just make sure there’s going to be a little taste of it on each piece of the candy.

At this point, the chocolate bark needs to set.  I’ve had my best luck letting it cool at room temperature and then putting it in the refrigerator for two hours.  If you live in a place of cold weather and snow, like I do, you can also find a clean spot in your garage (if one exists) and let it cool out there as well.

Once your chocolate bark is cooled, you can cut it as you wish.  When I made it this time, I cut it into small bites, but you could certainly cut it into bars and wrap individually if that’s what your heart is telling you to do.

This simple recipe makes several pieces of chocolate.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container or bag and it should last you quite awhile.  It’s also worth noting that you can pick any dried fruit and nut combination that you like.  Just don’t skimp on the good dark chocolate and the sea salt…they make all the difference!


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