Chocolate Cranberry Bark is an easy, yet always impressive treat to make and share during the holidays. For candy that will be eaten within a few days, it can be made simply by melting as much chocolate as you like, and adding as many pieces of fruit and nuts as you like (or even M&Ms for that matter). While similar to French chocolate Mendiants, where the additions are artfully placed on top of carefully poured chocolate circles, chocolate bark instead has everything all mixed together and then spread flat onto a sheet to set up. Once firmed up, you just break up the pieces by hand into the size you like. Definitely a fun thing to do with kids.
If you’ll be eating your chocolate bark over a few days and storing it in the fridge, tempering is not required, which is convenient because it can take a little practice to get it right. If do decide to try tempering your chocolate, it will allow a longer shelf life, keeping the chocolate from developing a slightly discoloring “bloom” over time. It will still taste good, it just won’t look as pretty. Ghirardelli has an informative page on chocolate tempering here.
Click here to see our Mendiants post along with photos of this traditional French confection that sports a very interesting history.
Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the slivered almonds on a rimmed cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted, stirring once or twice to prevent burning.
Melt chocolate over a double burner, or in a microwave for 10 seconds at a time (stirring in between) until all the chips are melted and shiny.
Stir in toasted almonds and cranberries until fruit and nuts are coated with chocolate.
Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper, and spread the chocolate mixture out onto the sheet with a spatula to about ¼” thick, in an oval or square shape (doesn’t matter) making sure that no gaps show through. Push the mixture around as needed to keep the mass connected and together.
Allow to set up for about an hour on the counter, or in the fridge covered with plastic wrap gently laid on top.
Once firm, break the big piece into jagged pieces of whatever size you like – about 2 to 3 inch pieces usually works well.
Eat a piece already, and share with your friends! The candy will keep for about a week if stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania photographers Andrea & Paul Bartholomew explore food, history and culture, both locally and throughout the culinary world, sharing their experiences through photography that inspires.