Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sky-High Milk Chocolate Bark

The Setting: A beautiful Dallas day in need of doughnuts. Then again, what day isn't?

The Soundtrack: Lovely little snores from my precious munchkin.

Steaming up the Oven: Tennessee Tea-Cakes for WITK's online bake sale. Hope they're as tasty when they get to their bidder as they smell in my kitchen right now!

The Scenario: Chocoholic? Keep a bag of this addictive candy stashed in the cupboard for all of your late-night/early-morning/midday snacking needs.

I first conceived of this chocolate bark after scarfing down some scraps of re-hardened chocolate and wayward honey-roasted peanuts I'd saved from the aftermath of my foray into Homemade GooGoo Cluster-making.

Emptying the bag-o-scraps into my mouth with a little tap and shake to make sure every last salty-sweet morsel made it down the shoot, I thought, how could I take this choco-peanut frenzy to the next level?

To play up the saltiness, pretzels seemed a good and logical conclusion.

But on the sweeter side, I craved a little more complexity....

I craved the crispy caramelized crunch of the one and only Biscoff cookie.

Storming the aisles of every supermarket in the greater South Bend area, I scanned the shelves for my must-have item to no avail.

Unwilling to concede defeat, I turned my sights to the Internet.

There I found a bounty of Biscoff goodness to fulfill my chocolate-covered dreams.

I only needed a quarter-package or so to turn my recipe into reality, but the unit-cost of a solitary package was a wee bit high.

Hoosband, wise numbers-man and Biscoff fan that he is, insisted I go for the much, much larger multi-pack instead, as it would simply be the rational and economical thing to do.

Not one to argue with solid logic (or tasty cookies), I now posses enough Biscoff cookies to satisfy a fully-booked international flight from liftoff to touchdown.

You won't see a lot of the cookies in my cooking this summer, but watch out for back-to-school: Fall is officially Biscoff season.

Sky-High Milk Chocolate Bark
Why Sky-High? The working title of this recipe was Salty Dog Chocolate Bark (because it was savory-sweet and I liked the sound of it). Testing the recipe, however, I realized all of the add-ins were snacks frequently served to riders of the friendly skies, so I changed the name to reflect this new revelation. The bark is visually taller and texturally airier than most, both of which work with the name as well. Also...I'm not advocating the use of any questionably legal substances...but I imagine a batch of this bark would satisfy even the most raging cases of the munchies--that is, of course, when it is not inducing them.

12 oz milk chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped honey-roasted peanuts, divided
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pretzels, including any stray crumbs and/or salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Biscoff cookies, including any stray crumbs

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place 5 oz of the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring for at least 20 seconds between each, until the chocolate is melted.

Spread the melted chocolate out on the parchment to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Evenly sprinkle the melted chocolate with 1/4 cup of the peanuts and all of the pretzel and cookie pieces.

Press gently on the toppings with your hands just to help them stick into the chocolate.

Melt the remaining 7 oz of chocolate the same way as before. Heavily drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the entire surface of your bark so that it will be easier to spread out without dragging the toppings along for the ride.

Gently spread out the chocolate over the top and sides so that all the toppings are sealed in.

Evenly sprinkle the remaining peanuts over the top and place in the fridge or freezer just till set (if your kitchen is cool and dry, it will set at room temperature; it will just take longer).

Once completely set, break into pieces and enjoy!

Bark may be stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container for up to one week.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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