We had our first bit of snow over the weekend, and I took it as a sign. Let the holiday baking begin! Since we didn’t travel for Thanksgiving this year, I stocked up on butter and powdered sugar instead, and got down to baking business the morning after.
The oven has been running all week long – I started things off with possibly my favorite holiday cookies, and followed with gingerbread, classic cut out sugar cookies in all sorts of fun shapes and topped with royal icing, homemade marshmallows and sugared cranberries, some peppermint brownie bites, and this perfect for gifting, so-simple-it’s-dangerous, salted dark chocolate almond bark.
Granted, this almond bark is barely a recipe, so let’s just call it a suggestion.
There are just a few ingredients between said suggestion and you running to the kitchen to make this effortless yet oh, so decadent treat, so I won’t wax poetic. Whole almonds – raw, roasted, toasted, whatever strikes your fancy – nestled in really good, slightly sweet, dark chocolate – at least sixty percent cacao – and adorned with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt – Maldon, of course.
That’s as verbose as it’s going to get. Happy Weekend!
A simple, foolproof recipe for Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Bark, with whole almonds, creamy melted bittersweet chocolate, and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, perfect for holiday gifting!
- 1-1/2 cups whole almonds
- 10 oz bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao), chips or finely-chopped
- 1 Tbsp pure 100% vegetable shortening*
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
- coarse flake sea salt (such as Maldon)
- Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overlap on each side. Crease the parchment paper along each edge to stay put. Spread half of the almonds, evenly spaced, across the pan. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate with the shortening, if using, in either a double-boiler over gently simmering water, or in a heat-proof glass bowl in the microwave. If using a microwave, heat in bursts of 30 seconds on medium power, stirring well and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each increment. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, stir in the vanilla extract, if using.
- Slowly pour into the sheet pan over the almonds, and use an offset spatula to gently spread into an even, smooth layer. Top with the remaining almonds, and gently press into the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt. Firmly tap the bottom of the sheet pan against the counter to release any air bubbles. Refrigerate for 20-25 minutes to set, then let sit at room temperature for about an hour to completely set.
- Once completely set and hardened, lift the bark out of the pan using the parchment paper, and use a large knife to cut the bark into pieces. Alternatively, simply use your fingers (I like to cover the bark with parchment paper so I don’t leave fingerprints) to break the chocolate into pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
The addition of shortening may sound weird, but it creates smoother, more consistent melted chocolate and helps to prevent the chocolate from seizing (clumping) while heated. Be sure to use pure 100% vegetable shortening (100% palm oil, the same stuff vegan butter is made from). You can also substitute coconut oil.