Can you believe how close we are to the end of the year? We certainly can’t…why is it that we all know the date, we know the holidays are coming, but when we actually realize they are here we are shocked and are left wondering how to prepare?? Every year Adam and I plan to get presents early, decorate and plan how to fit in all those holiday parties and get-togethers with friends and family, but then every year we are behind on presents, have no clue how to fit in seeing everyone before the holidays and still have a Halloween wreath hanging on our front door!
To be fair, this year we have done a little better, we do still have the Halloween wreath up on our door, but we have put up AND decorated our Christmas tree and have planned, purchased, but not wrapped about half the amount of presents we would like to get. We have also started to get excited about the food and drinks … You know, the I have been on a diet for the last month so I can eat all I want during the holidays food and drink… although to be honest, we have not been on a diet for the past month, but will still probably end up eating all we want anyway, but hey, I guess that is what a New Year’s resolution is for… right?
A couple of days ago, feeling in the holiday mood, we decided to make some festive candy. One of the easiest, cheapest, prettiest, and tastiest holiday candies is chocolate bark (so simple, yet has just the right touch of elegance – Williams and Sonoma even sell versions). The possibilities are endless, you could use whatever type of chocolate you like best (white, milk, dark, a combination of all three…), you can top it with just about anything you think would taste good with chocolate (candy cane, nuts, dried fruit, your favorite store-bought candy, pretzels …) and people always love it.
For our version we wanted to go festive, so we swirled melted white and semi-sweet chocolate that was infused with orange zest then topped it with bright green pistachios and bright red dried cranberries. It looks fabulous and tastes great. You could easily wrap some up in some pretty cellophane bags or arrange some in a nice box for a host / hostess gift or even serve it alongside some coffee at the end of a nice meal. The process for making chocolate bark is pretty simple and won’t take too much time, probably about 20 minutes. Then, you just have to wait about 2 hours for the chocolate to firm up before you can break it into pieces for serving.
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (either chocolate chips or a chocolate bar broken into small pieces)
- 6 ounces white chocolate (either chocolate chips or a chocolate bar broken into small pieces)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, plus a little for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios in halves or roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries roughly chopped
- In a dry pan, lightly toast the nuts then set aside to cool.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Melt the semi-sweet and white chocolate simultaneously in separate double boilers or one at a time in the microwave ( in a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating), while the semi-sweet chocolate is melting add the orange zest.
- Once both chocolates are melted, pour the semi-sweet chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth out into your desired shape then drop spoonfuls of the melted white chocolate on top. Use a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife to swirl the two chocolates together until you are happy with the design.
- Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the swirled chocolate than sprinkle a little more orange zest on top and allow to cool for approximately two hours or until the chocolate is hard and can be broken into pieces to serve.