I can not be alone. I am a love fool.
Call me dramatic ( I am). Call me O.T.T.O ( Always). However this does not concern my relationship status; Can you guess what I fall for?
For anyone that cooks, bakes, reads or writes food blogs; one of the fundamental skills obtained in your early years the ability to research effectively. I do not mean careless typing the keywords in to Google and clicking the never-ending list of pages to find something to bookmark. Unlike my other strict mantras when it comes to cooking measurements and de-cluttering, I am always falling for a new things I find in my food research. It can be a cake, a design, a pastry technique or even an ingredient. My lack of self-control makes me become obsessed with trying to nail the original and then find a way to put my spin on it to post here ( if it turns out)
Over the years I have fallen in and out of love with many recipes but the one thing that is long-lasting in my food relationship is my crush on bakers, cooks and food writers/bloggers. With a recipe book collection that spans from basics to specialty arts and a RSS list longer than the weekly shopping list, it is safe to say I am notorious love fool. The one thing about following types of cooks and bakers is the change in their techniques they use unlike recipes which remain static. You will see them venture into the new territory by first exploring a new ingredient or use old ingredient use in a different way. The ratios of salt, sugar and spices alter over the years noting their maturing plate and openness to change. For example the idea of putting coarse salt into the chocolate or caramel was only a recent change.
It is hard to Imagine sweet with out some salt now isn’t it? All this is because us, amateurs bakers, are some level of love fool. We try recipes of cooks that we love, alter them further for our taste and if you are food blogger you tell people about it. Also the accompanying food photography that comes with it makes it even more romantic and desirable. Like the old saying we eat with our eyes, first 😉
Always a recipe that accompanies chocolate is always a favorite at my place. I recently wanted to venture more into chocolate making and shaping after having my first successful chocolate box and filled with little petite fours. Combine this with the trend to “home make” sweets such as marshmallows and you have he recipes I am now “flirting” with to get right. You guys in the northern hemisphere are so lucky to have an abundance of inspiration on the candy bars selves. We do not get Sourdough and salted chocolate here. I am busting to try yo home make this but in the mean time I have made this chocolate twice before posting this because I was addicted to eating it.
A fancier version of those untempered chocolate barks but 100% loaded with good stuff. I call this “party of five” Chocolate bark because all the ingredients you need have easy substitutes but the one thing you need to know is the category these ingredients belong to.
First is chocolate: Dark, bitter-sweet, milk or white. You just have to make sure you know the tempering temperatures for each of these chocolates as the white and dark range dramatically due to the ratio of cocoa to fat content. I listed a few below that you can use.
TheKitchn’s guide to non-thermometer chocolate tempering.
Food 52’s Guide to thermometer chocolate tempering.
or Izy from Top with Cinnamon has way to do it with a food processor
The Essential Ingredient’s Guide to tempering for Celsius readings.
After the mix in all start with “C”. You need Cereal, Crackers, Cones, Cashews and Caramels.
For the cereal I used Wheat puffs; Crackers are standard Cheese crackers; Cones are the Faux waffle cones ( often served to kids or with soft serve); Caramels are soft centered; and Cashews are salted roasted Cashews. I know the last one is a nut but go with it 🙂
I am sure you can replace the ingredients with anything you want. So a version can be dark chocolate with puffed rice, Ritz crackers, chocolate ice cream cones, crushed hard caramel and roasted peanuts. For a more adult plate try the idea of adding caramelised panako, waffle cones, puffed quinoa and mix of toasted black/ white sesame seeds to very dark chocolate.
Whatever you decide to do this is the easiest recipe you will find on here for an instant party starter and great hostess gift. Many happy adventures bark markers! I would love to hear what you put into bark too; I am always looking for something new to crush on.
Note: Like I said change it to your taste but I am listing what I used here as this was the one I made when I took the images. All you need is chocolate, cereal, crackers, caramels, ice cream cones and a nut or seed ( roasted preferred)
“Party of five” Chocolate Crackle Bark
Makes 30 by 27 cm tray
700g milk chocolate (Note above)
100g Savory cheese crackers, crushed
5 faux waffle cones, crushed
40g-60g puffed wheat
100g salted roasted cashews
10 crushed soft centered caramels
Line a tray with baking paper.
Temper chocolate according to guide above. For milk chocolate it need to be heated to 45C then dropped to 27 C then heat back to 30-31C. I did the seeding technique but any of the ones above are good (tried all of them).
In another large bowl combine your mix ins and mix well.
Once chocolate is tempered, mix in all your ingredients to coat them well in the chocolate. Next put your chocolate mix into the prepared tray. Using a spatula spread it well and leave to cool till hardened.
Using a knife or your hand break up bark to your liking.