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CHOCOLATE BARK

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Chocolate Bark is the easiest mid week dinner party pudding especially as it is quick and cheap to make. Many of us would like to wow our friends with a home made pudding that we ‘just made earlier’ but sometimes life doesn’t give us that time.

This is something you can make while you lay the table or the night before, let it set in the fridge and it will be ready to serve on a large chopping board for your guests to snap  into their own portion size served with fresh mint tea.

70% dark chocolate is recommended and buy a selection of sugar free nuts and dried fruit.
If any of the nuts are quite large, give them a bit of a chop and set aside.
Use a sauce pan and put an inch of water and heat up the water and place a bowl on top. The bowl should not touch the water and do not let it boil. Break up the chocolate and leave to melt, keeping back a quarter of the chocolate to add once it has melted and removed from the heat. This should help to temper* the chocolate and keep the shine.

Pour the chocolate onto a large piece of baking paper and sprinkle over your nuts and fruit and a large pinch of sea salt flakes. Either leave over night in a cool place or put in the fridge if your guest are arriving soon!

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*tempering chocolate is basically when the beta crystals within the chocolate change formation when heated, you need to make these crystals build back into shape again. This can be quite a complicated science and if you really want you can try to use a digital thermometer to help. For Dark chocolate raise the temperature to 46-49 degrees then remove form the heat, add in your unmelted chunks of chocolate and stir and mix and stir till the temperature comes down to 27 degrees. At this point put your bowl back over the saucepan of water (you probably don’t need to turn it back on) and the temperature needs to rise to 31 degrees then you can pour your chocolate onto the parchment paper. Watch not to let any of the steam from the water get into your chocolate or it will seize. An alternative would be to use a chocolate spoon mould and serve your tea or coffee with  a chocolate spoon on the side with a dollop of salted caramel on top.

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