June 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bark Up the Yummy Tree

Bark is a cross between a candy and a cookie. It is very versatile to serve as a dessert, coffee table fare, or snack for anytime.

Loaded Bark

Ingredients

8 oz. very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 oz. very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup whole, roasted, salted cashews

1 cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup dried cranberries

Melt the two chocolates in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parch­ment paper. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a 9×10-inch rectangle on the paper. Turn the paper face down on the baking sheet.

Pour the melted chocolate over the pa­per and spread to form a rectangle, using the outline. Sprinkle the cashews, apricots, and cranberries over the chocolate. Set aside for two hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1×3-inch pieces and serve at room tem­perature.

Cake Batter Chocolate Bark

This couldn’t be easier—or more deli­cious. A simple white and dark chocolate bark is flavored like cake batter and deco­rated with colorful sprinkles. I like the con­trast of the thin dark chocolate layer un­derneath the white chocolate cake batter layer, but you can omit the dark chocolate layer or make it thicker to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

6 oz. (1 cup) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

9 oz. (1.5 cups) chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

2 tbsp dry yellow cake mix

sprinkles

 

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or waxed paper. Place the chopped dark chocolate or choco­late chips in a bowl and mi­crowave until melted, stir­ring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. I sometimes melt it in the oven at 250°. Once the choc­olate is melted and smooth, pour it onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth it into a thin, even layer, less than ¼-inch thick. Refriger­ate the tray to set the choc­olate while you prepare the white chocolate layer.

Melt the white choco­late in the microwave the same way you melted the dark chocolate or in the oven, stirring frequently so it doesn’t overheat. Once melted and smooth, add the dry cake mix and whisk or stir until the mix is completely incorporated and there are no lumps in the chocolate. Taste the chocolate and add a bit more cake mix if you want a stronger flavor. Allow the white chocolate to cool until it is just barely warm.

Once the dark chocolate layer is set and the white chocolate layer has cooled, pour the white chocolate over the dark choco­late and spread it into an even layer. Scatter sprinkles over the top and press on them gently to adhere them to the white choc­olate. Refrigerate the tray until the bark is completely set, at least 20 minutes. Once set, cut it into small squares or break it into pieces by hand.

Store Cake Batter Chocolate Bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cookies and Cream Oreo Bark

Ingredients

10 oz. good-quality white choco­late chips

15 regular size Oreos, plus three more for topping

Line an 8×8-inch pan with enough parchment or wax paper for a 1-inch over­hang on each side. Place chocolate in a double boiler over low heat and stir contin­uously, until chocolate is completely melt­ed. Transfer chocolate to a heat-proof bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Add chopped Ore­os and stir to combine. Pour mixture into pan. Use a spatula to smooth out top. Fine­ly chop remaining Oreos and sprinkle on top. Chill for about 10 minutes until choc­olate becomes solid. Lift whole bark out of pan by holding onto parchment or wax overhang. Split bark into pieces with a fork.

Gail Hochman has been a resident of Bergen County for over 30 years and has been blessed with many grand­children.

By Gail Hochman

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