Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Dried Cherries

Happy Valentines Day! 


I sorted through recipes for cakes, tarts, truffles, puddings, and mousses before settling on a tried-and-true chocolate decadence for this holiday: Chocolate Bark with Pistachios & Dried Cherries.  I could kvell about chocolate all day long (the darker, the better!), so trust me when I say that this recipe is truly amazing.  Consisting of only three ingredients- semisweet chocolate, pistachios, and dried cherries- this chocolate bark rivals the highest quality brand chocolate.  Also, its chock-full of antioxidants, so I'll give you plenty of reasons to feel guilt-free for eating it! Because I'm not gonna lie, its really hard to stop.

Chocolate Bark with Pistachios & Dried Cherries: (from EatingWell.com)
makes about 4 dozen pieces
Active Time: 40 minutes (I did it in about 20)
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
3/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios (3 ounces), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried cherries, or dried cranberries
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided

*I need to note that I did not use the orange zest. I'm not a huge fan or orange and chocolate, but if you are, I'd say go for it! However, the pistachios and dried cherries provide enough flavor to enhance the chocolate on their own. Also, I microwaved the chocolate, so don't worry if you don't have a double broiler.


Preparation:

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Toss pistachios with cherries (or cranberries) in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture in half; stir orange zest into 1 portion.
  2. Melt 18 ounces chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. (Alternatively, microwave on low in 30-second bursts.) Stir often with a rubber spatula so it melts evenly.
  3. Remove the top pan and wipe dry (or remove the bowl from the microwave). Stir in the remaining 6 ounces chocolate, in 2 additions, until thoroughly melted and smooth.
  4. Add the pistachio mixture containing the orange zest to the chocolate; stir to mix well. Working quickly, scrape the chocolate onto the prepared pan, spreading it to an even 1/4-inch thickness with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio mixture on top; gently press it into the chocolate with your fingertips. Refrigerate, uncovered, just until set, about 20 minutes.
  5. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the chocolate lengthwise with 6 parallel lines. Break bark along the score lines. Break the strips of bark into 2- to 3-inch chunks.



Prevent Cancer with Every Bite
Antioxidants promote cell health by inhibiting the free radicals created by oxidation.  Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are associated with cancer, heart disease and aging.  Pistachios are considered an "antioxidant powerhouse", and the anthocyanin-derived red color in cherries has been linked to anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.  One square of dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa) contains twice as many polyphenols-molecules that slow the growth of cancer cells and limit angiogensis- as a glass of red wine, and almost as much as one cup of green tea.

Sources:
"Cherries: Antoxidants." Choose Cherries. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <ttp://www.choosecherries.com/health/antioxidants.aspx>.
"Pistachio Health: Naturally Nutritious." Pistachio Health. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <http://www.pistachiohealth.com/consumer/heart-health>.
Servan-Schreiber, David. Anticancer: A New Way of Life. New York: Viking Penguin, 2009. 140-41. Print.





4 comments:

  1. Those chocolate barks look so delicious Rachel. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful bark....I love the mix of pistachios and cherries...so tasty.

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  3. What a lovely dessert. Chocolate is always welcomed!!

    ReplyDelete