bark closeup

I could watch this lady forever if there were enough Youtube videos. I went to sleep an hour and a half later last night due to this woman.


(Nigella Lawson’s Sweet & Salty Chocolate Bark)

After watching possibly all of the Youtube videos on her (I’ve probably watched them all at least three times), I decided I’d make her sweet & salty chocolate bark. She uses salted peanuts, but since we didn’t have any peanuts I tweaked her recipe ever so slightly and added the best secret ingredient ever…

fleurdesel

Fleur de Sel!! Well, it’s not very secret since there’s been this whole new fad of salty caramel or salty chocolate, and many times they’ll use Fleur de Sel. For those of you unfamiliar with Fleur de Sel, you’re probably wondering, what makes this so much more awesome than my average sea salt? Well, let me tell you…

Translated as “Flower of Salt” from French, it’s hand harvested from the top layer of the salt before the whole thing sinks to the bottom of large salt pans.  Fleur de Sel contains more mineral complexity than table salt and hold less residual moisture (making it less likely to dissolve when sprinkled on moist foods). It’s best used when sprinkled upon serving.

While the traditional Fleur de Sel is harvested from the coast of Brittany in France, mine’s a faux version, having been harvested from the Atlantic. The benefit? A $5 (or more) reduction from the price tag. A jar tinier than this will run for $12 compared to the one which I got for $8.

5minchocolatebark

So this morning, after rummaging through my pantry, I realized that I had a a lot of walnuts. Like… a ton. There were bagfuls and bagfuls. You’d think we’d use them but we don’t. I also found some Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips and some good ol’ Toll House semi sweet chocolate chips.

cutting up chocolatebark

Chocolate bark isn’t rocket science. As Nigella said in her video, “I am essentially making chocolate out of chocolate.” You literally melt the chocolate + butter, add in the nuts, spread the chocolate gloop over a baking sheet, sprinkle some salt and stick it into the fridge. Takes five minutes. That’s quicker than your average 7.5 minute shower.

The greatest thing about making your own bark is that you can customize how sweet you want the chocolate to be. While the bittersweet chocolate chips I used were 60% cacao, it’s definitely possible to go higher, especially if you can snag some 80% chocolate slabs at your local Whole Foods. However, I blended some semi sweet since I figured most people still like their sugar.

chocolatebark!

In today’s case, I wrapped the baking sheet with some tin foil and plopped it into the garage where it was probably 40 degrees F. After two hours, the chocolate hardened up beautifully. It takes another two minutes to pop the slab out of the baking sheet, cut into rough squares, and stow them away in a box.

Hello coworkers- you’ll be helping me eat these!

barkcloseup

Five Minute Salty & Nutty Dark Chocolate Bark
Inspired by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup walnuts (or any other of your favorite nut)
  • Sprinkling of Fleur de Sel (if you must, you can use table salt)


Method:

In a saucepan, on low heat, melt all of the chocolate along with the butter. You’ll want to keep an eye on this as you don’t want to overheat the chocolate (which will result in a solidifying mess. If that’s the case, you can add more butter). Stir to make sure the chocolate and butter gently melt into a lovely, thick gloop. Make sure that the pot and the spatula that you use is completely dry. Water particles will separate the chocolate, also resulting in a solidifying mess (and there is no way to correct this one).

After, mix in the cup of walnuts and gently turn the chocolate to fully coat the nuts. After, spread the gloop onto a baking sheet and smooth out with a spatula. Generously sprinkle some Fleur de Sel and stick it into the fridge.


spreadoutbark

When done, it will look like the photo above. The chocolate should easily slide out of the baking sheet with some prodding from a thin flipper utensil thingy (what are those called again?). Cut into squares and make sure you keep these in a decently cool area so they don’t melt all over.

As a note- the reason why I used butter with the chocolate bark is for easier spreading. You can definitely get away without the butter, but it also provides a silky, rich depth which the chocolate itself cannot. And as Nigella said, these are a treat. Even she wouldn’t eat these everyday!

nuts!