December 4, 2010

Got Five Minutes? You've Got Almond Bark!

If it is possible, this bark recipe is even easier than the one with hazelnuts!!! This takes literally five minutes to make, then you need to let it solidify in the fridge. Yay, bark!

1/2 lb. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil (light tasting)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raw almonds
1/8-1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
tiny pinch of salt

Using a bowl or a measuring cup, melt the chocolate in the microwave. I've received a few questions about this- what I usually do is melt it in 30-45 second increments, checking on it after each increment. It might still look solid but actually be melted, so go ahead and try to stir it with a utensil. Once you've melted your chocolate, stir in the oil, vanilla extract, tiny pinch of salt and cinnamon, which is optional. If you use 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon, the taste is definitely present. If you'd like it to be more subtle, go for just 1/8 of a teaspoon. Or, if you're not into cinnamon, just leave it out! Mix well, then add the almonds. You'll probably recall that in the hazelnut bark recipe, we roasted the hazelnuts. Why aren't we doing that here? A few reasons. First, I think hazelnuts taste better when they are roasted. Do a little taste test yourself and see what your opinion is, it doesn't have to be the same as mine! I think almonds are delicious raw. Also, raw almond 'skins' aren't really offensive or a bad texture, so we don't worry about the skins here. However, if you roast pretty much any nut that has a skin, you'll probably want to remove it by rubbing the nuts in a dish cloth, the texture is not too great and sometimes the skin might be a little bitter once roasted.

Moving on! Mix to incorporate the almonds, then spread the bark on a baking sheet lined with either parchment or wax paper. Spread evenly with a butter knife or offset spatula. Refrigerate until solidified, probably at least one hour. Once solid, remove from paper and chop into 2-3" pieces. Can you believe how easy that was?

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