And … It’s Christmas
November 30, 2008
During our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday afternoon, somewhere between the ooh’s and ahh’s and mmm’s and chatter and laughter, a silence settled over the table. Maybe it was turkey coma or maybe the frenetic holiday pace was taking its toll. Whatever the case, the silence didn’t last long. Soon, a cheerful Christmas carol wafted into the dining room from a stereo in the next room. I put down my fork and said, “And … it’s Christmas!”
I was only partly kidding. The holiday season is in full swing and I’ve been whisked up in it. Thanksgiving has melted into Christmastime and that means one thing: it’s time to bake. Candies, cookies, caramel corn, sweet-and-spicy nuts. Really, anything that can be slipped into a glassine bag, tied with a shiny ribbon and bestowed upon your favorite someones.
So, I have to admit that midway through Thanksgiving dinner I was already daydreaming about holiday baking. Shameful, I know. I’ve got a baking list a mile long and this past weekend I supplemented my pantry with bars of chocolate, bags of billowing flour, fresh baking powder, a new bottle of vanilla and assorted other ingredients that will become necessities in the coming weeks.
I won’t be baking the candy you see in this post—dark chocolate-cherry bark—because my mom made it for Thanksgiving and my family already enjoyed it. So we already know that it’s festive and pretty, simple and delicious, studded with chewy dried cherries, bits of crystallized ginger and meaty toasted walnuts. I can say with authority it would make an excellent addition to your holiday cookie tray.
Now, do tell: what do you all have on your holiday baking lists?
Dark Chocolate Bark with Walnuts & Dried Cherries
Food & Wine
1/2 cups walnut halves (6 ounces)
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a glass bowl, heat two-thirds of the chocolate in a microwave oven at high power in 30-second bursts until just melted. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the walnuts, cherries and crystallized ginger until evenly coated. Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm enough to cut.
Cut the bark into 48 pieces (6 rows by 8 rows) and transfer to a plate. Serve cold or at room temperature.