How about a new twist on chocolate bark? This memorable dessert uses fresh fruit instead of dried. It pairs salty, sweet, spicy and tangy flavors with the contrasting textures of smooth chocolate, crunchy seeds and juicy fruit.
This has become my go-to party dessert. It’s a snap to prepare and makes a lovely presentation.
I discovered this recipe on the Fine Cooking website. As with all recipes I come across my first thoughts are, “How can I make this healthier?” and “How can I make this less expensive.”
This time of year you might be able to find a good price on organic dark chocolate with 60% or more cacao, but if not, and you want to go a cheaper route, semi sweet chocolate chips work just fine. When I make this with chocolate chips I estimate 7 ounces of chips from the bag then add 3 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. This makes it less sweet and ups the cocoa content. If you like the sweetness level of semi sweet chocolate chips then use 10 oz of the chocolate chips.
The down side to regular chocolate chips is the soy lecithin and the sugar. Both of these ingredients are likely genetically modified. Most beet sugar is from genetically modified organisms, so unless the label specifically states that it contains cane sugar I assume it is from genetically modified beets. Buying organic chocolate chips costs more, but you avoid the GMOs.
Chocolate varies in it’s antioxidant content. To choose chocolate with the most antioxidents, look for a higher percentage of cocoa. The higher the cocoa the higher the antioxidents. Also, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the percentage of sugar.
Candied ginger is an expensive ingredient if you have to go out and buy a package just to use 1 -2 tablespoons for this recipe. Although I prefer candied ginger because of it’s chewy texture, I’ve tried substituting coarsely grated fresh ginger in this recipe and it worked out just fine. Grated fresh ginger would be a cheaper alternative if you don’t have candied ginger on hand. Years ago I learned that candied ginger is easy to make. I can make it for 20% of what I’d pay to buy it ready made. Some day I’ll post a tutorial on how I make candied ginger.
Lucky you if you live in a warm climate where pomegranates grow! They are probably less expensive. In my neck of the north woods they cost $1.50-2.00 each and go on sale for a buck. Though I haven’t seen them on sale in February if you still have the January 13 Smart Source coupon inserts from your newspaper you can find a 50¢ coupon for fresh Pom Wonderful pomegranates that is good until March 31.
Pomegranate and Ginger Chocolate Bark
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 – 2 tablespoons minced candied ginger
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heavy bottom pan.
Gently stir in the salt, candied ginger and half the pomegranate seeds. Working quickly scrape the chocolate mixture onto the parchment and spread it to an 8 x 10 inch rectangle.
Sprinkle the remaining seeds over the top of the chocolate and press them in a bit if necessary. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until it is hard. Break the bark into pieces and serve.
A friend added 1 teaspoon grated orange rind to this recipe, giving it a hint of citrus. It was a nice addition.
I mince the candied ginger fairly coarse. If it’s finely minced you miss the flavor burst of biting into a chunk of ginger. It’s a personal preference.