Making Chocolate Bark
From Chocolatiers Wiki
The following are recipes for various types of bark, as well as notes on the different types.
All recipes after this merely list the changes to the basic recipe.
- Find a cookie sheet.
- Cover the cookie sheet with foil (optional).
- Melt (temper) enough chocolate to cover the cookie sheet.
- Mix flavorings into chocolate.
- Pour chocolate onto the cookie sheet.
- Place in fridge until it hardens.
- Remove from fridge, take it off the cookie sheet, and break into appropriately-sized chunks.
There are two ways to do ordinary mint bark. Mint bark always involves adding peppermint extract to milk or white chocolate, and this can be enough. To make it more interesting, you can swirl milk chocolate and white chocolate (either plain or food dyed green) that have both had peppermint extract added. You can also cover the bark at the end with crushed or powdered peppermint pieces.
Aztec bark (or similar name)
mix spices (either mild, like cinnamon, or spicier) into the chocolate. Could probably put in red-hots or crushed cinnamon candies, possibly even with chili pepper or some such in it as well? Try a small batch and taste it first, though.
Chilli pepper in chocolate works fine. Cinnamon candy bark would probably also work fine. I would not, however, recommend trying both at once. ;)
Also, you can get cinnamon red-hot flavor from Wilton's. ("cinnamon candy flavor" is I think what they call it.) So if you want that effect, you can try adding it to white chocolate and surprise the heck out of people.
mix crushed graham cracker and slightly microwaved marshmallow into milk chocolate. Probably also a mess to clean up with the sticky marshmallow
You can do this without microwaving the marshmallows. It's probably not as tasty, but it works fine and it's a lot less messy.
You can also do fruit-and-nut barks, or just fruit barks; while many interesting kinds of fruit are expensive, you can get large packages of raisins, pineapple, or even mango pretty inexpensively at Star or Trader Joe's. The big advantage of raisins is that you don't need to chop them any more. ;) Some kinds of fruit go very well with flavored chocolate; I've had good luck with orange-flavored white chocolate and cranberries, for example.
You can also use coconut. Plain old baker's coconut works *great* in chocolate, whether plain or with the addition of curry powder for some extra flavor. Just mix it in for a nice crunch.
- Make a layer of dark chocolate with peppermint extract. Stick this in the fridge (not the freezer!) to cool.
- Once the dark chocolate is hard, add a layer of plain white chocolate.
- Before the white chocolate hardens (!!) sprinkle broken peppermint pieces over the top. If necessary, press lightly on the pieces to make sure they go into the chocolate enough to stick once it hardens.
Broken peppermint pieces can be made by putting starlight mints (the red and white round mints) in a plastic bag, inside another plastic bag, and then hitting it with a hammer. It's best to break each mint such that it makes 5-10 pieces, but doesn't turn completely into powder.
The most common problem is that the dark chocolate either hardens too much, or not enough. If the dark chocolate hardens too much, the layers will break apart; solve this by not cooling it as much, or letting it warm up again slightly before adding the white chocolate. If the dark chocolate does not get hard enough, then when adding the white chocolate it may smear and make streaks in the final bark. This doesn't harm the bark, it just looks weird. Cool the dark chocolate to a colder temperature to prevent this.
Using soft caramels, melt the caramels in the microwave or on the stove. Get them very liquidy. Pour out a layer of milk chocolate, and before cooling it, pour the caramel on top. This can be done as a straight layer, or more likely in random patterns. Cool the bark to harden it. Note that this bark can be difficult to cut, as the caramel is sticky, and prior to cooling the bark you may want to score the caramel where you plan to break it.