Chocolate barks are so easy to make, and every year I’m freshly amazed that so little effort produces such a delicious result. You can’t really go wrong with this simple project, as long as you use good quality ingredients. Barks are quicker to make, keep longer, and ship better than cookies. I think they are a holiday no-brainer. This one involves dark roasted almonds encased in creamy white chocolate and then dusted with sea salt. What sets this bark apart is the extra deep roasted almonds. They will be quite brown and when you bite into them they are extra crisp and super flavorful. I first discovered these almonds at a cozy Italian restaurant my husband and I used to go to when we were looking for a little romance… it was so many years ago I can’t even remember the name. They set out little bowls of these nuts on the table the minute you arrived. They were just plain almonds, no salt or oil added, but they were roasted to a dark rich brown, and they were addictive.
When you embed these almonds in good quality white chocolate and shower it with a little sea salt, you won’t know what to do with yourself. Do what I did and give some of it away, it makes a distinctive gift for the holidays.
- 1 cup whole raw almonds, skin on
- 2 10 oz bags of white chocolate chips or 20 oz of any good white chocolate, chopped in pieces
- sea salt, ground fairly fine
- Set oven to 350F
- Put the nuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Give the pan a shake from time to time, and watch carefully for the last 5 minutes. You want the almonds to get dark roasted, but not burnt. Set the pan aside and let the nuts cool on the pan.
- Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat, parchment paper, or non stick foil.
- Put the white chocolate in a glass microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for a minute. Keep heating, checking, and stirring until the chocolate is melted. If you are using chips they won't look melted until you stir them.
- When the chocolate is melted and smooth, add in the almonds and quickly spread out the mixture on the lined baking sheet.
- Dust the warm chocolate with sea salt, being careful to get it evenly distributed across the bark.
- Set the pan in the refrigerator to cool until fully set, at least an hour.
- Break apart the bark into whatever size pieces you choose.
- Try not to eat it all before you can give some of it away.
If you have trouble melting chocolate in the microwave, you can always do it in a double boiler. Set a bowl or pan over another pan of gently simmering water and slowly melt the chocolate while stirring.
Your friends are going to love you.