It seems like this moment has taken ages to get to but, finally, it is here….
Exams are DONE!!!
It feels fantastic! No more lectures, textbooks, or study notes. No more highlighters or cue cards – at least not for a few weeks until my next term begins! For now I’ll savour the moment and enjoy this freedom while it lasts.
After my final exam yesterday I decided to do what every great student does – celebrate! Perhaps my “celebrating” is a little different than that of many of my peers but I enjoyed it nevertheless! My celebrations included a trip to Bulk Barn, Christmas music sung by Michael Buble & Anne Murray (so Canadian!), and baking – lots of baking!
Lucky for me, Feisty Red Hair posted a slideshow filled with scrumptious Christmas baking recipes just in time for my romp in the kitchen! Check out her slideshow, with all recipes included, here at the Parentables site she writes for! First up on my baking list was the Chocolate Gingered bark with pomegranate seeds:
Following the recipe was super easy, I’ve been making chocolate bark variations every year since I was little but this is the first time I’ve ever added pomegranate seeds and let me tell you, my mind was blown! It is so good; so much happening in each and every bite; so many different flavours and textures! I’m telling you, you’ve gotta try it!
The candied ginger was a little tricky to find and in fact, I never did find a minced version of it. What I did find was a toonie-sized (again, Canadian!) crystallized version which I tried to mince it myself . This was tricky because the smaller I chopped, the gummier it got. But the end result was so worth the effort! After melting the chocolate, adding the ginger & seeds, I poured into a flat baking sheet and sprinkled with a little salt. The recipe calls for refrigeration however I haven’t the patience for that. Instead I set it outside for about 15 minutes until completely hardened then broke it up into bite sized pieces. It only took one taste test for me to fall completely in love with this fabulous combination of flavours. The bittersweet , dark chocolate melting in your mouth along with the simultaneously hot & refreshing bite of the ginger – then to top it all off, the sudden burst of the flavourful, sweet, juicy pomegranate seeds!!!!
This original version is amazing but I made another batch that I think is even better. Being a white chocolate fan I decided why not try it with the white and the results – words can’t even describe how great it was! Similar to the dark but with a little more sweetness.
The chocolate bark extravaganza didn’t end there! A few other batches were made as well. These one are the more traditional versions I’ve been making nearly as long as I could remember. Packaged with a cute bow they make for great gifts. There was both white chocolate and a milk chocolate peppermint versions made. Again, so easy to make: mini candy canes were sliced, diced, and refined nearly to a powder thanks to my trusty Magic Bullet. Chocolate was melted in the double-boiler, peppermint sprinkled through, poured onto a flat baking sheet and again placed outside until fully hardened.
The best part about bark is that it’s the imperfectness of each pieces shape and the inconsistent thickness’s that give it it’s character. The easier the better in my Christmas baking books, and Christmas bark tops the list of easy but scrumptious! It’s hard not to eat it all yourself, thankfully, it’s easy to make more!
*Perhaps you’re observant enough to notice there is more than just bark in the photo! That’s right, my Christmas baking celebrations didn’t end there but you’ll have to stay tuned for the rest!*
Chocolate Gingered Pomegranate Bark
taken from FineCooking.com here!
10 oz of dark chocolate (or sub in white like I did!)
1 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
1-1/2 Tbs. minced candied ginger
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Simply melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave, stir in the pomegranate seeds and ginger, then pour onto a flat baking sheet to let it cool and harden. Once completely solid, break up into chunks and that’s all folks!
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
**this is a bark I’ve been making for years without any recipe, here’s my version of what I do:
Chocolate of any kind for melting – how much you use determines how much bark you end up with!
Peppermints or candy canes refined down to almost a powder. Some power is nice but a few little chunks add to the bark as well.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler. As soon as all chunks are melted, add the peppermint. Add as much as you’d like – the more you add the stronger the peppermint flavour! Do not over heat your chocolate – as soon as it appears melted it is done! Overheating it can change the consistency and then it doesn’t pour well or harden with a smooth look to it, although it still tastes fine so if you do overheat it, it isn’t garbage!
Pour onto a flat baking sheet and allow to cool & harden. Once completely solid, break it up into little chunks and enjoy!