Weather: 57 degrees, rain
What I’m listening to: Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival
I have a friend who is due any day -nay – any moment, with her first child. She expressed some cravings for chocolate and fruit, and something with a kick to it. I hopped into the kitchen with purpose, melting some dark chocolate, spreading it onto a pan, then topping it with dried cherries, crystallized ginger (something with a little kick to it), almonds, and sea salt. Then, I put it in the refrigerator to let it firm up before I snapped it into beautiful shards of homemade candy. Handmade and one-of-a-kind, yet quick and easy, and full of all of my love and hopes for this sweet baby and their little family.
You see, this friend and I met through my blog, this very blog. It’s a rather remarkable story. Now we go to church together and go fishing together and sit together over cups of coffee. The fact that I get to write about a recipe I made for this friend, as we wait for her baby to arrive, feels like a full circle moment. I never anticipated when I became a food blogger that these sorts of things would happen, that these sorts of friendships would develop. While I’ve always said that food is about so much more than food, that rather it’s about nourishing people and loving people and bringing people together, I’m still surprised when it happens. When words and photos and recipes on a computer screen transform into real life stories and tangible relationships, those are sacred moments. I’m exceedingly thankful.
So what I want to say to you in all of this, dear readers, is this: make this chocolate bark for someone today. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate (or a combination of the two), it doesn’t matter, whatever they like. Sprinkle it with their favorite dried fruits and nuts and customize it just especially for them. Then deliver it to them with love. Because food and photos and recipes on a page are really, truly about so much more than that.
Sea-Salted Fruit & Nut Chocolate Bark
Handmade chocolates that are simple and completely customizable. I made my version with dried cherries, crystallized ginger, almonds, and sea salt. Adapted from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila.
Yields: About 20 chocolates
- 3 cups chocolate, morsels or bars roughly chopped (I used semisweet*)
- 1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cherries and crystallized ginger)
- 1 cup nuts, roughly chopped (I used almonds)
- Sea salt
Grease a baking sheet. Set up a double boiler (I use a small saucepan with about 1 to 2 inches of simmering water with a stainless steel mixing bowl resting on top). Melt the chocolate in the double boiler, stirring as it melts to prevent scorching. When the chocolate is completely smooth, remove it from the heat and spread it promptly onto the sheet pan using an offset spatula, being careful not to spread the chocolate too thin (you want your bark to have a good snap to it). Promptly sprinkle the chocolate with fruit, nuts, and sea salt. Refrigerate 2 hours or until completely firm (snaps easily). Break into shards and store in an airtight container with wax paper lining.