December 1, 2010

A Homemade Gift Easier than Cookies?!!! Delicious Hazelnut Bark!

What would you say if I told you there was an elegant, delicious, homemade gift you could make in 20 minutes that would delight everyone on your holiday list? You'd say get out of here! I'm not going anywhere, I'm here to share the secret with you!

Here is your new go-to recipe for your holiday arsenal, hazelnut, ginger and chocolate bark! Let's be honest about this, all we are doing is melting chocolate, mixing some things in it, and solidifying it in the refrigerator. So basically, if you can work a microwave, you can make this. That is the extent of 'technique' here. Easier than making cookies! Truly! I made this yesterday and it took about 15-20 minutes. (This doesn't include refrigeration time, just 'active' time).

Hazelnut, Ginger and Chocolate Bark
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (semi-sweet is ok too)
2 ounces hazelnuts
1 1/2 ounces crystallized ginger (chopped) (optional)
olive oil (light tasting)
sea salt

If your hazelnuts are raw, set the oven to 350. Roast on a baking sheet for roughly 8 minutes, until slightly browned, be careful not to burn. Transfer nuts to a dishcloth and rub off the skins, this is shown in the picture above.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl or measuring cup in the microwave. Once melted, stir in roughly 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil- other vegetable oil is alright also. I use a light tasting olive oil for this. Stir in 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a small pinch of sea salt. Stir well. Stir in the ginger (optional) and hazelnuts (do not add the skin that has been rubbed off). You don't need to chop the nuts.

On a baking sheet lined with either waxed paper or parchment paper, pour the mixture and spread evenly with a butter knife or offset spatula. Refrigerate until solid, most likely at least one hour. Once solidified, peel from waxed or parchment paper and chop into 2-3" pieces. Enjoy! I'll bet you can't believe how easy that was and yet how elegant and delicious the bark looks!

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