Chocolate Berry Bark

bark2 (576x1024)Making your own chocolate at home is extremely rewarding work. You needn’t invest in any special equipment either. A heat-proof bowl that fits snugly into a saucepan makes an effective double boiler. The secret is to add just enough water to the saucepan so that the bowl is never immersed, but gently warmed by the steam instead.

You also don’t need to get very technical when making your own chocolate. Take it nice and slow and keep the heat gentle. Because most homemade chocolates skip the slightly more technical tempering process this means that they are less stable at room temperature. They are often referred to as ‘fridge chocolates,’ but be warned – once there is fridge chocolate in the kitchen you may have a curious ‘need’ to check that everything is alright in the fridge on a regular basis. Looking for things like missing car keys in the fridge ‘just in case’ is another possible side effect. Any excuse to have just one more nibble…

The good news is that once you start making your own, you become mindful of how little sugar is actually needed to make good chocolate. It is astounding that most commercial chocolate is around fifty per cent cane sugar by weight. It is a great way to keep the cost of the bar down (sugar is cheap), but has little to do with actually improving the flavour or looking after your health.

The only other secret to making this velvety chocolate bark is to make sure that all your equipment is dry before starting. The addition of mixed berries adds a burst of fruitiness and boosts the anti-oxidant content. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

50g Cocoa Butter
100g Cocoa Paste
60ml Raw Honey (to taste)
60ml Dried Berries (Goji, Cranberry, Blueberry)
60ml Mixed Seeds (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame)
Pinch Sea Salt
¼ tsp Vanilla Extract

Method:
1. Grate the cocoa butter. Grate the cocoa paste or grind in a blender.
2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment (do not use wax paper).
3. Melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler (or place a heatproof glass bowl that fits snugly in a saucepan with enough boiling water to cover the bottom).
4. Add ¾ of the ground cocoa paste and stir over very low heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in remaining cocoa paste, and honey until just melted. The mixture will tend to look slightly granular at this stage. Return to heat and stir for approximately 1 minute until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract and then pour into the baking sheet to form a thin layer.
5. Sprinkle with berries and seeds and then place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour until set. Peel the paper away from the bark and break into rough pieces to serve as needed. Store unused chocolate in the fridge.

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