This Dark Chocolate Bark with pistachios, candied orange peel and flaky sea salt makes an excellent edible gift or a great tasting dessert!
I absolutely love dark chocolate! Pretty much any form will do - chips, sauce, mousse - it all works for me. When I was working on this recipe, I decided to put a bunch of my favorite flavors together in this chocolate bark. Homemade chocolate bark is really easy to make - it just takes some really high-quality chocolate, your favorite toppings and a little bit of patience while you wait for it cool enough so you can eat it!
Making Candied Orange Peel
Now, before you scroll down to the cooking time and panic, the majority of the time required for this recipe is the time needed for the candied orange peel to "dry" and the bark to cool until it is hard enough to break into pieces. If possible I actually recommend making the candied orange peel the day before.
To make the candied peels you simply combine sugar, water and orange peels then bring them up to a boil then repeat the process a couple of times to take the bitterness out of the peels.
After the peels are done cooking, I'd also recommend saving the leftover syrup as you basically have orange-flavored simple syrup, which is great in hot tea in the winter. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
My preference for chocolate is a really dark, rich chocolate. It used to be hard to find high-quality semi-sweet chocolate but these days you can find it at most Whole Foods or other high-end grocery stores. There are also many varieties available on-line so experiment until you find your favorite!
In addition to being a bit hit at holiday gatherings, this bark also makes a great edible holiday gift!!
things you might want for this recipe
Parchment Paper - I consider this a kitchen essential. You can purchase it by the roll, which is the most versatile and least expensive. I use the unbleached version, which is supposed to be safer. I buy it at my local Whole Foods Market. If you bake frequently you also might want to think about pre-cut sheets which you can find at specialty cooking stores like Sur La Table.
Candied Orange Peel - If you don't have time to make the candied orange peel or don't want to mess around with that step these strips from Savory Spice make a good substitute.
Dark Chocolate Bark with Candied Orange Peel
- 2 navel oranges
- 1 cup sugar
- 16 ounces Callebaut semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup Wonderful shelled pistachios
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ tablespoon coarse or flaked sea salt, optional
For the candied orange peel:
- Rinse the oranges well and cut the top and bottom off of each orange. Score the skin of each orange into quarters; peel the oranges, keeping the pith with the peel. Cut the peel into thin strips, about ¼ inch wide. Place peels in a sauté pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and repeat two more times.
- While the peels are boiling, whisk together sugar and ½ cup water. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 5-6 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Add peels and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peels are very soft and translucent, about 45 minutes. Don't stir the peels while cooking as it can cause the sugar to crystalize; swirl the pan if necessary.
- Remove the peels from the syrup and place on a drying rack. Dry for 4-5 hours. If desired, reserve any remaining syrup.
- When dried, chop orange peel into small pieces; you'll need about ¼ cup for the recipe. Reserve remaining candied peels for another use; store in airtight container.
For the bark:
- Place 8 ounces of the chips and butter in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep the water at a gentle simmer, don't boil.
- Stir the chips until melted and smooth. Add the remaining chocolate about 2 ounces at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and wipe the sides of any excess moisture. Pour chocolate onto a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper; use a curved spatula to smooth the mixture to about ¼ inch thick. Add pistachios and dried cranberries; lightly press into chocolate. Add candied orange peel. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to set; continue cooling at room temperature until the bark is fully set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.