Like Lovely Jewels: Chocolate Bark Pops
First off, what do you think of the new header/layout? I wanted to spiff up the blog a bit and find a format that allowed for larger pictures, and I’m really happy with the result. I hope everyone likes it!
There is something so festive about dried fruits during the winter. They seem to crop up in everything from fruitcakes to salads to mincemeat pies. There is also something decidedly wonderful about pairing those dried fruits with chocolate. The smooth, firm bite of chocolate against the chewy, tangy bits of fruit makes for a fabulous combination.
When I was preparing all those homemade treats to give out during the holidays, I had it in my head that I would create some sort of chocolate bark since it’s so appropriate for the season and so simple to make. But I wanted a way to spruce it up beyond the standard broken-up bits in a tin box. I’d seen a feature on the Food Network about a chocolatier in Paris who made beautiful chocolate pops. It was the perfect, elegant solution to my dilemma.
After biting off a bit more than I could chew making hundreds upon hundreds of Coffee-Spice Caramels, I was about ready to throw in the flag and call it quits on my chocolate bark plans. It’s a good thing I powered through. These treats were a breeze to make, tasted incredible, and reminded me that preparing homemade treats doesn’t have to be a hassle.
If you have yet to try salt with chocolate, trust me and go for it. Fran’s Chocolates makes the most incredible Sea Salt Caramels and it seems everyone has jumped on the salted dessert bandwagon. For good reason. That little bit of salinity really awakens the chocolate’s deeper flavors. But you need a good sea salt here, not your typical table salt, which can taste too metallic. Fleur de sel is a wonderful option if you can get your hands on it. As for the toppings, the sky is the limit! Use whatever dried fruits and nuts you like and mix up the combinations. My favorite: pecans, cranberries, and crystallized ginger. And of course, that magical touch of salt.
Chocolate Bark Pops
© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart
- 1 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, or a combination of the two
- 1 1/2 cups total of the toppings of your choice, chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces (for example, I had about a 1/4 cup each of chopped crystallized ginger, dried apricots, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, toasted walnuts, and roasted pistachios).
- 1 tsp coarse table salt or fleur de sel
- Lollipop sticks
- Prepare three sheet pans by lining them with wax paper. Have all of your toppings chopped and ready, since you will need to work quickly once the chocolate is melted.
- Melt your chocolate over a double boiler to 115 degrees. Use a spoon to pour the chocolate into rounds on the wax paper, about 1-2-inches in diameter (or whatever size you prefer).
Place a lollipop stick into the chocolate and gently twirl it to completely coat (this way the stick isn’t visible). Continue to pour the chocolate and insert the sticks until your sheet pan is full. Work with one pan at a time and rewarm your chocolate as needed between batches.
- Lightly top each round of chocolate with your fruit and nuts. Sprinkle just a few (as in 4-5) grains of salt onto each round. Continue with entire tray, then place in the refrigerator to set, at least 1 hour.
- Place the cooled pops in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon. Now you have a beautiful, homemade gift to give!
Alternatively, you could forgo the sticks and create lovely, chocolate pop disks instead. Like I said, this is a simple and very adaptable recipe, but the results look very impressive! Not to mention, they taste amazing!