I’ve been thinking about making chocolate bark for a few weeks now, but the process just wasn’t that interesting to me. If I used chocolate that I had on hand and just melted it down, then that would be way too boring. Where’s the fun in just heating up a bowl of chocolate and pouring it into a pan? No, thanks. If I made it from cocoa butter and powder, then that would just be messing with the components that chocolate manufacturers have already perfected with their amazing expertise and expensive equipment.
Instead, I decided to make a solidified ganache bark (I like the term shards better, so I’m gonna use that for my recipe). It’s got the softer texture of fudge without the intense sweetness. The recipe is easy but still has a few steps to make it a fun and worthwhile. You actually get the opportunity to make a bit of a mess, which is half the fun of cooking, really.
With this ganache method, the infusion of the cream with the rooibos tea really brings the flavor of the chocolate to the next level. You get a nice undertone of the tea mixed with the depth of the cocoa. Then, you can add toppings such as toasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries to amp up the texture even more. I’m telling you, you won’t be sorry you skipped the boring old chocolate bark for this recipe.
Rooibos Dark Chocolate Ganache Shards.
12 oz dark chocolate, chopped (best quality available)
2 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp butter plus heavy cream to make 1/2 cup melted liquid
4 rooibos tea bags
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp honey plus a drizzle
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
sea salt (a couple pinches or to taste)
Line a 8×12 inch (1/4 sheet size) jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a saute pan, toast the hazelnuts, tossing occasionally. Drizzle with a bit of honey over the top halfway through cooking. The nuts will be toasted when you can smell the aroma, and they are a nice golden brown (about 5-8 minutes).
In a separate saucepan, mix the cream, vanilla, and honey together. Heat on medium low for about 2-3 minutes until warm and smooth. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.
Place a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water to make a double boiler. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not ever touch the water. Place about 10 oz of the dark chocolate in the bowl to melt, stirring frequently. Once melted, remove from the stove and stir in the milk chocolate until completely melted and incorporated.
Remove the tea bags from the cream mixture. Pour the cream mixture into the chocolate gradually and stir until completely combined. Once incorporated, add the remaining dark chocolate and stir to combine. If needed, place the bowl back on the double boiler on a low simmer until melted and smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a 8×12 jelly roll pan. Sprinkle the top with chopped cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and a couple pinches of sea salt. Let set at room temperature for two hours. Then, move to the refrigerator to set for at least another two hours.
Cut the chocolate into random pieces with a knife. Eat immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Enjoy!
You can substitute milk chocolate for some of the dark chocolate if preferred.
Other nuts such as almonds or walnuts will work as well if hazelnuts are not on hand.