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Chocolate Almond and Ginger Bark {with Guittard}

10 December 2017

I write this from my sofa, where I have resolutely collapsed after my first two-wedding-cake weekend. Wow. The last few days have been a blur of sponge layers, buttercream, brownies and mini mince pies and, despite some moments of heavy fan work, my poor little oven managed to tough it out for two days and nights. You can see some snaps of the finished articles on my Instagram here.

And with those done and dusted, attention turns to Christmas. Yay! My poor friends and family will - for another year - receive homemade gifts from my kitchen. Christmas is synonymous with so many fantastic baking flavours and ingredients. Rich citrus, nuts, dried fruits, coconut and chocolate are too special not to be celebrated. Last year, I gave jars of salted caramel sauce. This year, I've got quince membrillo, homemade mincemeat and chocolate bark in mind.

The recipe for the later comes courtesy of Californian chocolatiers, Guittard. Now in it's fifth generation, Guittard make chocolates for specifically for eating, drinking and baking. This recipe - by Amy Guittard - was inspired by a familial love of chocolate covered ginger. My godfather Alan, who will celebrate his 88th birthday this year, also adores chocolate ginger, so this will be on the gifts list just for him.
 THE INGREDIENTS
230g flaked almonds
30g icing sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp warm water
50g candied ginger, or other candied fruits, cut into 2.5cm pieces
340g Guittard 74% bittersweet or 60% semisweet chocolate baking wafers

THE RECIPE
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment.

Combine the almonds, icing sugar, golden syrup and water and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the almond mixture onto the prepared baking tray and spread it thinly.

Toast the almond mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the mixture cool in the pan. Once cooled, add it to a medium bowl along with the candied ginger and mix to combine. Set aside. 

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until it is melted and smooth. Allow to cool a little. Add the chocolate to the bowl with the almond-ginger mixture and stir until the almonds and ginger pieces are uniformly coated. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray, and spread out evenly. 

Let the bark cool at room temperature for 30 minutes then refrigerate until the chocolate is hard. Break the chocolate bark into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to two weeks, or wrap up in cellophane and tie with ribbon, string and labels for Christmas gifts. 

Guittard kindly sent me the ingredients for this post. All praise - and gluttonous ravings - entirely my own. 

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