343: Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

At some point I saw bit of a special on a cooking channel where the hosts made chocolate bark for a party. I realized it would probably be a good thing to make to include in the gift packages I wanted to send out for Christmas. When I came across the recipe for Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark on the King Arthur Flour website, I decided that the combination of cranberries, pecans, and white and dark chocolate would be nice, different recipe to make and gift.

This was pretty easy to make. I think I used a mixture of semisweet and Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips for the chocolate layer, and white chocolate chips for the white chocolate layer. [I’m writing about this almost 3 weeks later, but I think that’s accurate.] I put a piece of foil in a 9×13 pan so that I wouldn’t have to worry about chocolate spreading beyond the edges as I made an 8×12 oval. While I waited for the dark chocolate to set, I mixed together the pecans and cranberries. I put part of them in the white chocolate after I melted it, and poured it on the set dark chocolate. I sprinkled the rest of the fruit and nuts on the chocolate and patted them into it. We broke the bark later that night or the next day.

Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

This was pretty tasty. It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of white and dark chocolate, or cranberries and pecans. It looked really nice too. I let the chocolate set too long before I poured the white chocolate on it because I was waiting for the center to seem dry; as a result, the white and dark chocolate layers separated when you bit it. I also must not have patted the toppings on well enough because they came off. I think in general I’d prefer to make my chocolate bark a little thinner, so next time I might spread it out a little more. I also think I’d add more cranberries and pecans to the white chocolate before I pour it, and only sprinkle a little bit on top of the bark, to minimize fruit and nuts coming off as we break it or eat it. Overall this was pretty good, though, and I’ll probably try it or a variation again next year.

330: Mocha Hot Cocoa (BHG)

I decided to make the Mocha Hot Cocoa recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but I originally left the coffee out of it so that Alex could enjoy it. I also planned on sending individual packets of homemade cocoa mix to my family for Christmas, and I decided it would be nicer for them to get mocha cocoa than plain old hot cocoa mix.

For the first batch I made a third of the recipe but left out the instant coffee. The second time I made it, I made the full recipe, including instant coffee. Both times I blended the ingredients (except chocolate chips) together in a blender, rather than mix them together by hand, because I feel like the mix dissolves better that way.

This was pretty decent, both with and without coffee. I forgot to add the chocolate chips to a cup I made of the regular cocoa batch, and it didn’t have the same satisfying mouthfeel without them. The cocoa is very drinkable and not too sweet, although the sweetness and richness of it could vary if you used richer or sweeter chocolate chips (I used generic ones). I’d make this cocoa again, as long as I remember to put chocolate chips in it.