Happy Endings

Every year, I make all kinds of Christmas goodies for friends and family. Whether it's chocolate-covered pretzels, ginger thins drizzled with white chocolate or biscotti dipped in dark chocolate ... I find myself with more chocolate than I know what to do with when January rolls around. While you can safely freeze chocolate, I tend to look for ways to use some of my baking stash before spring finds me.

So, this year, I opted to mix two kinds of chocolate with mixed fruit and nuts and see what came of it all. What’s the result? A chocolate bark that boasts a great blend of flavors and goes great on its own or nestled into a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream. And at a time when some of us are missing the festivities of the month prior, this sweet treat is just what the doctor ordered to scare away some of those winter blues.

I used a blend of dried berries for my bark, although I'd imagine the options are unlimited. Just make sure that the pieces you include are of similar size. Also, I think salted nuts actually taste better in this than unsalted, although you can opt for whatever you have on hand.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Chocolate Bark with Fruit and Nuts

  • 24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. mixed dried fruit
  • 1 c. mixed nuts
  • 8 oz. white chocolate chips

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the semi-sweet chocolate chips over medium heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted and homogenous. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully spread the chocolate in a cookie sheet covered in waxed paper, reserving about 1/2 cup in the saucepan. Return the saucepan to the heat and keep on LOW.

Sprinkle the dried fruit and nuts over the chocolate in the cookie sheet and gently press into the chocolate.

Heat the white chocolate chips in another heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted and homogenous. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the fruit and nuts and then drizzle the reserved semi-sweet chocolate over that. Using a knife, swirl the white and dark chocolate through each other to create swirls. Set the pan aside to cool. When cool, remove the candy from the pan and break the chocolate bark into pieces. Store it in a cool, dry place.

  • Yields: About 2 lbs. candy
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes