Have I told you how much I love chocolate? Yes? No? Maybe so?
Well, in case I haven’t, I do indeed love chocolate. I could (and sometimes – err, often do) eat some form of the sweet, velvety goodness with every meal. Can you blame me?
I figured it would be appropriate to make some type of candy/ confection since Halloween is right around the corner. Though this isn’t your usual “candy,” it is super delicious, addicting, and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth (not that Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, and all those other favorites aren’t great, too). This bark is even kinda sophisticated. Might I suggest making some for holiday gifts? Boxed up and tied with a cute ribbon, this bark would make a really thoughtful (and really tasty) gift. Godiva, eat your heart out!
When it comes to sweets, chocolate bark is an ideal canvas for different flavor profiles. And I can’t forget to mention the slew of options available when it comes to choosing the type of chocolate for the base.
Because it’s fall, and because I love fall (and chocolate), I opted for a marbled and spiced chocolate bark with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a sprinkle of freshly ground sea salt.
I use a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate, which create a really nice balance. The pumpkin seeds add a great textural component, in addition to a unique nuttiness. But then there’s the kicker. Spices. Cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
Yes, I did just say cayenne pepper. Trust me on this one.
Cinnamon and chocolate are already like a match made in heaven, but with the accent of cayenne pepper- WOW! Together, the spices warm the back of your throat while the richness of the cocoa coats your mouth. And that sensation – the slight heat and the sugary decadence – resinates.
Oh, and for the salt? As usual, it enhances all of the other flavors . . . And it looks fancy. Bonus!
(So remember – salt makes a difference. Use it!)
Seriously, words (and pictures) do not do this bark justice. It’s addicting. Dangerously addicting.
What are you waiting for? Go make some bark – you deserve it!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Bark
-8 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted and tempered
-4 oz. Milk Chocolate, melted and tempered
– ¼ C. Pepitas, toasted
– ¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
– ½ tsp. Cinnamon
– Coarsely Ground Sea Salt, for garnish
*Note: Tempering is optional, though strongly suggested. (Click here for a how-to on tempering chocolate.)
Begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together semi-sweet chocolate, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth.
Using an offset spatula, spread the semi-sweet chocolate mixture on prepared baking sheet. The layer should be ¼ inch thick and even throughout.
Drop heaping spoonfuls of the melted milk chocolate on top of the semi-sweet chocolate base (6-8 spoonfuls should do the trick). Tap the baking sheet against the counter to eliminate air bubbles and level out the milk chocolate. You should have rounds of milk chocolate sporadically throughout the base now.
Using a butter knife, marble the milk chocolate with the semi-sweet chocolate. It’s okay if the chocolate looks scored; this will ultimately help with the swirled effect. Continue to swirl until the milk chocolate stretches over the entire base, almost like a web. Do not over-swirl! (Otherwise, you’ll end up with a single-toned chocolate base.)
Sprinkle pepitas over the top of the chocolate (the chocolate should still be wet). Press down lightly to ensure they stick. Finish with a few sprinkles of sea salt.
Let bark set at room temperature until completely cooled, about 1-2 hours. Once set, break apart with your hands. (Alternatively, put the bark in the fridge and let set, about 20-30 minutes, or until dry.)