Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CHOCOLATE BARK WITH CARAMELIZED MARCONA ALMONDS


Wow! Is it just me or are the holidays gaining on us like a freight train?  I am still in denial and keep casually telling myself there must still be weeks and weeks to get ready. I may not have done much holiday shopping yet, but I have gotten some cooking in. Last weekend the kids and I made peppermint bark - an old favorite in our house - and we tried out this new bark recipe that I am in love with.

Keeping life simple and sane around the holiday is a huge goal for me. How can we all have fun and not get stressed? This kind of recipe makes me so happy not only because it tastes delish, but it also takes very little time and the kids love to help. Here's a recipe that once again proves that just a few really good ingredients mixed together can make for damned good eats.


Marcona almonds + Caramel + Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt = Happiness


Don't forget to share....This bark makes an awesome gift.


INGREDIENTS  from Bon Appetit December 2011
(printable recipe)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted Marcona almonds (not in oil)
  • 1 pound high quality dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), chopped (or chocolate chips will work)
  • flaky sea salt, like Maldon



Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place sugar and water in a small heavy bottomed sauce-pan. Place pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar crystals have completely dissolved. (You don't want the sugar to burn until all the crystals have broken down.)Then, bring to a boil, continue stirring occasionally, and cook for a few minutes until you get that nice deep amber color. Take the pan off heat and immediately whisk in butter.

Toss Marcona almonds into the caramel and stir to coat. Spread out gooey caramelized almonds onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cool and then break up/or chop the bigger clusters. Set aside 1/4 of the almonds for garnish.

Slowly melt chocolate in a double boiler. (This can mean simply placing a metal mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water.) When chocolate is completely melted, add 3/4 of the caramelized almonds and stir quickly to coat. Pour the chocolate/almond mixture back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread out the chocolate so that the nuts are only one layer thick. Sprinkle the remaining almonds and flaky sea salt over the top of the chocolate.

Refrigerate for 3 hours. Break apart the hardened bark, and you are ready to go.

Keep chilled.

Wishing you peaceful, healthy, and cozy holidays! xo E

39 comments:

  1. Mmmhhh, I love the addition of roasted Marcona almonds!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Rosa... Wish I could share some with you:) Happy Holidays.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG, this looks so amazing! Would make an awesome homemade Christmas gift...if I could avoid eating it all myself! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yowza!!! That first picture is super pretty! This combination is totally fool-proof!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sara, you noted the big problem with this recipe... I keep munching on bits myself. I need to give my batch away pronto!

    Adrianna - thanks! True... the combo is so simple and good it almost feels like cheating:)

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh wow this look insanely delicious Erin! Yum.

    Happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your combo of 'Marcona almonds + Caramel + Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt = Happiness' reminds me of something I'd see on a Vosges chocolate box - so refined, but so cleverly simple, and so delicious too:)

    Guess what I found on my doorstep this morning???

    Doug-fir tea? Eh? Eh? ;) It smells fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Emma(Poires au Chocolat), Thanks Emma! I can only imagine that you have been learning some amazing confections lately:)

    Emma, Awesome! I love thinking of you sipping Doug Fir Tea and working on your forestry thesis. Seems fitting:) I wish you much luck on your defense.

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  9. O.K., what to do with so many insanely delicious looking treats parading by this year that I am a bona fide food blogger. My taste buds are loving it I must admit, but my waist line is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, this is dangerous! I eat Marcona almonds by the handful as it is. Coat them in caramel and chocolate and there will be no stopping me. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. What beautiful bark! Love that the almonds are caramelized - how yum. Have a super happy holiday season :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sarah, I know! I keep eating all of the "gifts" I am whipping up. I guess there is always January to cut back on the sweets;)

    Carolyn, If you are a Marcona almond fan, you would love this bark. Yum!

    Renee, thanks! Happy holidays to you too.

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ahhh, will you PLEASE tell me that this BARK is calorie free! Pretty Please? HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Almonds have so many yummy things in them to help keep you healthy. I love the smell, the crunch, the taste of them. As usual we are on the same page but you beat me to it every time.

    These are calling my name, love the simplicity. A little candy cane in it would be festive and good too. I keep telling myself that I don't need to sample EVERYTHING. Sure, uh huh, right.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chocolate = happiness --> for me. These looks so good Erin. And your photos are just amazing. I love the 1st one.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This stuff is so scrumptious; I think the best plan is to make a batch for presents and another for yourself. Tis' the season and all.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oli:) Happy holidays to you too!

    Jenn, plain old chocolate works for me too. Though I have to say the addition of these caramelized Marconas takes the love to a whole new level!

    P, thanks cutie.

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, man. I have trouble restraining myself from Marcona almonds when they're plain...this would be seriously dangerous. Love your pic of the caramel-covered almonds. So enticing!

    ReplyDelete
  19. love your mouthwatering pictures and recipe, another one of yours I will have to try
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Allison, Thanks! So nice to hear from you. I hope your holidays are going well.

    M, thanks so much. You would dig this one. And it's almost too easy:)

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've been planning to make some sort of bark for awhile now....this one looks amazing. I think I might take your advice and whip some up for Christmas gifts!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think you've got pretty much the perfect recipe for happiness here - this looks gorgeous. I have plans to make lots of edible christmas presents this year but time is running away with me...something like this bark is absolutely perfect as it's beautiful but not too time consuming. Great post :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Erin, how is Marcona almonds different from regular almonds? I've never had it - in fact, don't think I've seen it in the store.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Paige, I don't think you'll be disappointed:)

    thelittleloaf, Thanks! If you get really short for time you can always melt some good chocolate and scatter crushed candy cane and let cool... voila our quick and lazy version of peppermint bark.

    Jenn, The Marcona is a round, buttery almond variety originally from Spain. You can usually find them at specialty grocers or gourmet shops. They are amazingly good. But I think regular roasted almonds would be nice here too.

    E

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Erin: just wanted to add a quick note here... Im making this for a party tomorrow and I noticed there is no measurement for the water. Looked in my BA and it said "Combine sugar w/ 2Tbsp. water". Love your blog! I play tennis with your sister in law, Ann, and she turned me on to it. Will be here every day now!
    Happy Holidays...

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lisa,
    Thanks so much letting me know that I left out the water - help much appreciated:) I just fixed the ingredient list. I hope you enjoy the bark.
    Any friend of Ann's is a friend of mine. Happy holidays to you too.
    -E

    ReplyDelete
  27. This looks so amazing and I've been excited to try it! But, umm, my caramel didn't work!! The first time the sugar boiled then quickly hardened into little dry marbles in the bottom the pan (and it never changed color, least of all to that beautiful amber). The second time I lowered the heat and turned it off sooner, but still no caramel - just a white, slightly creamy slightly granular substance. Help!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Anonymous,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your frustrating experience. I have read on Bon Appetit's site that others have had problems with the caramel too. But, I've made the recipe a few times now and had luck and I want you to as well. Hmmmm.... I am wondering if all of your sugar was dissolved when the pan is on medium (or even medium low heat) before you turned it up to a boil. Fully dissolved sugar is key to a non granulated caramel.

    Thank you for your note. I hope this helps. Please feel free to write again and we can try to problem solve together.


    E

    ReplyDelete
  29. Can I just say yum!!! This bark combines all of my favourite things...chocolate, almonds, caramel and salt. I'm so going to make this.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This looks incredible, and your first picture looks so delicious - and like I could just grab a piece :) The caramel and almonds are calling to me and it would make a great gift... I think I may give this a try :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank Jennifer! I hope you enjoy!

    Heidi, thanks for stopping by. I have now given this bark as a gift to quite a few people and it seems to be a great success.

    Happy Holidays,
    E

    ReplyDelete
  32. Holiday baking is done, but bark is still on the list. Love the addition of the caramel! My kind of candy!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Postcript.. Well, I must say that even my "failed" try with essentially sugar coated almonds turned out great. I think the dry-marbles-in-the-pan effort was the result of too much stirring. Probably also had the heat up too high - medium high the whole time. Last night, 3rd try, I achieved caramel! Used 3/4 cups sugar, NO water, and heated it dry at a low temp. Took 4-5 minutes to begin liquifying and caramelizing at the edges, and another couple minutes to complete. Minimal stirring; mostly folding to be sure all the sugar was incorporated and melted. I seem to have more nuts in mine than in your picture, but the result was a brilliant yummy toffee. I used smoked Maladon salt, which I recommend using generously. Thank you! A new holiday tradition has been born in our house, and it works for both Hanukkah and Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous, Thanks so much for the postscript. I was worrying about you and your caramel. Thanks for all the details for what made it actually work. I bet that lower heat is probably making a big difference. In the end, I am SO glad it worked for you and was worth the effort. And that smoked Maldon is brilliant! Must try.
    Happy holidays to you!

    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete
  35. You said it best Marcona almonds + Caramel + Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt = Happiness

    ReplyDelete
  36. You'll have them barking for more Erin. This treat looks fab!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love this candy! Anything caramelized is just delish. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year!! Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  38. I remember seeing this in B.A. and wanting to try it. Seeing this post makes me want to try it even more!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks Elizabeth! I love this recipe. I hope you enjoy...
    -E

    ReplyDelete

So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

Related Posts with Thumbnails