salted dark chocolate bark with hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coconut, currants + cacao nibs
When Michael and I first started dating, whenever it came time to decide on dessert, he always would state that he was "not a chocolate person". Huh? Not a chocolate person? Is there really such a thing? This was a problem….
I'm convinced that people who say they "are not chocolate people", really are, they just haven't had the right chocolate experience yet, and I am determined to convince them otherwise.
Back then, Michael had a chocolate rule that he would only partake in desserts that had a 60% (or less) ratio of chocolate to other ingredients. Again … huh? In other words, chocolate cake, chocolate soufflé, not desirable. Olive oil cake, with a chocolate sauce, that's just fine. This rule was totally unacceptable and had to change if there was going to be any future for us.
Well, I am guessing that you're guessing that all of this has changed, and that Michael now will eat chocolate with enthusiasm. I am also guessing that you're guessing that I had something to do with that. Well, you are correct. I did have something to do with that.
You see, I am also convinced that people "who are not chocolate people" may actually be "good quality dark chocolate people", but they just haven't had that life changing piece of good quality dark chocolate to change their mind.
If you know anyone like this, and you want to change them into a chocolate lover, make this salted dark chocolate bark with really good quality dark chocolate, and then top it with these crazy yummy toppings. I pinky swear, you will have them chowing on chocolate in no time. And if the non-chocoalte eating person happens to be someone you would like to have a future with, but you fear that the lack of chocolate in their life is a deal-breaker, then maybe this bark will help you overcome all of this and get married, just like we did. (I'm not pinky swearing that part though).
Last night I caught Michael devouring this chocolate bark just before bedtime. I'm talking about him hovering over the freezer with a spoon shoveling the bark with some ice cream into his mouth.Yep, that's my man.
I should probably let you know that this recipe actually did not come about from me wanting to change non-chocolate lovers into lovers. It actually came about because I have been longing for a quick, easy, delicious dessert to serve at a dinner party or when friends and family come over.
This bark can be thrown together in no time, and the only really necessary ingredient is that you have good quality dark chocolate to melt and some salt to sprinkle on top. The rest can be determined by what you have in your pantry ….. but if you happen to have hazelnuts, coconut, sesame seeds, currants (tiny raisin-type things), and cacao nibs hanging around, then you're in for a crazy good treat.
salted dark chocolate bark
several people for dessert, or one chocolate-hungry person for a few days
1/2 cup of hazelnuts
8oz (about 4 bars) of very good quality dark chocolate (look for 70% cacao or higher). The purer the better. I used a mix of 2 plain dark chocolate bars, one salted dark chocolate bar, and one espresso bean dark chocolate bar.
a handful/sprinkling of each of the follow (toppings): toasted coconut, sesame seeds, currants, cacao nibs
about 1/2 a teaspoon of good quality sea salt, such as a pink or red salt, or maldon sea salt
Toast + peel + chop the hazelnuts:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º
- Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are fragrant, browning, and the skins have started to release.
- Allow them to cool slightly before removing the skins. Once they are cool enough to touch, roll the hazelnuts around either between your palms, or rolled up in a paper towel until the skins release.
- Place the peeled hazelnuts into a food processor and pulse several times until they are roughly chopped. Set aside until you're ready to top the chocolate bark.
Melt the chocolate + top it + let it set in the fridge:
- Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet, and have your toppings ready to go.
- Using a double boiler, melt 6 ounces of the chocolate over medium heat. In other words, bring the water in the double boiler to boil over medium heat so that it does not get too hot and steamy. This will prevent the chocolate from melting too quickly and burning. Once all of the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and add the the other 2 oz and stir until it has melted.
- Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the chocolate out so that it is about 1/4" thick.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly across the top.
- Place it in the fridge for a minimum for 30 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
- This is best served with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, if stored properly.