For quite a while now, I've actually been making variations of this fruit & nut bark in the evenings to take to work and snack on at my desk. I wasn't planning on sharing it since it was almost too simple to be considered a recipe. Then I remembered my I'm Only Human Recipes.
Do you remember my I'm Only Human Recipe collection? Probably not considering I add to it like once a year so there's not much of a collection so far. That's ok though because I'm not trying to get the collection built up anytime soon! Just adding to it if I happen to have an idea.
An I'm Only Human Recipe means that the recipe is incredibly simple to make and often involves picking your own ingredients from a category. So you could think of a lot of them as "choose your own adventure" recipes too but let's not get into any copyright issues! The purpose behind picking ingredients from a category is so you can use ingredients you already have on hand without making a trip to the grocery store. You could choose ingredients that are currently in-season or on sale or just put your own creative spin on the recipe. Plus, it's helpful for people with food allergies to have a lot of options.
So let's take this fruit and nut bark as an example. You get to choose an ingredient from each of these categories:
Grab your favorite chocolate bar. I like Green & Black's 85% for a soy-free and vegan option (be sure to carefully read allergy information) but for this recipe, I used Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate. You don't have to use either of these though! Maybe you don't have a milk allergy and prefer milk chocolate. Or maybe you do have a milk allergy but always buy this killer dairy free, gluten free white chocolate (if this exists, PLEASE tell me where to find it!!!) Or maybe you just have a random chocolate bar in your pantry waiting to be eaten. My point is, don't go looking for these brands I used just because I used them.
Again, whatever you like. Raisins, apricots, strawberries, prunes,... I used cranberries just because I had some on hand. Plus, it's cranberry season, my favorite!
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts,... You can also substitute some sort of seed like pumpkin or sunflower if you have a nut allergy. I used pecans but I'm kicking myself for not using the pistachios I had. I love pistachios. They're so dang good.
Coarse sea salt
Ok, not really a category but I guess there are a few different types of sea salt you could choose from if you're into that stuff. I used the white kind to show up better in the photos but I also had some pink Himalayan salt I could have used too.
Bark usually isn't very hard to make but I don't typically mess with the double boilers and cleaning melted chocolate off of a bunch of bowls and spatulas. And let's be honest, when you want dessert, you tend to be short on patience. At least I do.
This recipe just involves melting a chocolate bar on parchment paper in the microwave for around two minutes, covering the chocolate with your favorite fruit and nut combo, and waiting patiently for it to cool. No spatulas, no double boilers, no lining an 8X8 glass dish with parchment paper,... The only equipment you need is a plate, a small square of parchment paper, and a microwave. Easy peasy!
There's even a shortcut in the recipe notes if you need your chocolate fix ASAP :)
With Christmas coming up, I recently got the opportunity to work on a project with Wayfair that I wanted to tell you guys about. It's a funny coincidence that we had literally just ordered our crib from Wayfair (our first purchase with them) when they contacted me about this project. I'm so excited to get the baby's room finished soon! Or eventually. "Soon" is a strong word.
However, this was a cooking related project! I went over to their site and selected some of my favorite kitchen tools that I thought would make good Christmas gifts. A lot of these items I already own and love. The rest of them I would really like to own and love...if anyone is feeling generous this holiday season ;) These are called "Bloggers Picks" and Wayfair has added badges to these products on their site to make them easy to spot. The badges include a description of why I picked that item.
Anyways, I thought that a lot of my readers might like to see my ideas to get inspiration for food-related holiday gifts. You can click through the table below to see all of them. Note that these aren't affiliate links - this was just a project that was fun for me and I'm hoping beneficial to you. They've got some really good stuff over there so check it out!
- 1 bar of dark chocolate of choice, about 3 oz
- 2 Tbsp nut of choice, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp dried fruit of choice
- ¼ tsp coarse sea salt, or add to taste
- Line a microwave safe plate with parchment paper. Unwrap the chocolate bar and place it on top of the paper.
- Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time until the bar is melted but still retaining its rectangular shape. It should take about 1 ½ to 2 minutes total.
- Sprinkle the fruit and nuts on top of the chocolate then gently press down to set them in place (careful, the chocolate tends to get really hot).
- Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside until the chocolate re-solidifies. (You can refrigerate it to speed things up if you like.)
- Once chocolate is solid again, break into pieces and enjoy!
For nut-free, replace with a seed like sunflower or pumpkin. You can also simply omit the nuts and add extra fruit.
If your dried fruit is particularly large (like dried apricots), you may want to chop them up a bit.
Shortcut: Skip the microwave and make this "trail mix" style. Break up the chocolate and mix it with the toppings. Done! This way you can enjoy a snack now and not wait for the chocolate to solidify. Hey, we've all been there, right?!