black and white holiday bark with cranberries

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The second cookie (well, not really cookie, but work with me here) that I chose from the America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010 Special Issue was this black and white holiday bark. The second I saw it I knew I had to make it. America’s Test Kitchen calls it a bark and I suppose therefore it is, but it’s much more of a bar than most of the chocolate bark out there. I don’t know what kind of tree has a bark this thick, but I certainly don’t have a problem with chocolate that’s over an inch thick.

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The other really cool thing about this bark is the surprise crunch that lies in the white chocolate. The recipe calls for a cup of Rice Krispies which adds a great, light airy crunch in the all that dense chocolate.  The dried cranberries (or dried cherries if you prefer) add some great tartness to cut through all that rich chocolate and make for a stunningly festive treat for the holidays.

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If I haven’t given you enough reasons to convince you to run out and make these right now, how about this: they are ridiculously easy to make. You don’t even need to turn the oven on (although if your house is as cold as ours, you may want to turn it on)!

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In fact, the hardest part of this holiday bark is just cutting it. White chocolate is softer than bittersweet chocolate so the top half is pretty easy to cut, but you definitely need to throw your weight in a little to get through that bottom layer of chocolate. But you know what that means, right? Extra calories burned so you get to eat more bark! Frankly, I can’t think of a better treat to share while sitting around the fire with your loved ones over the holidays.

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Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday filled with wonderful food!

Black and White Holiday Bark with Cranberries

Yield: 25 pieces

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Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010 Special Issue

Use good quality bittersweet and white chocolate in bar form. Chocolate chips contain less cocoa butter so that they can better hold their shape when baked in cookies, but this makes them harder to melt. Using bar chocolate will give you a much better texture in this bark.

Scorched chocolate is a very sad thing, so keep a close eye on your chocolate as you melt it. You can also melt your chocolate in a double boiler instead of the microwave if you want.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, chopped, divided
  • 1 pound white chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing at least a two-inch overhang on all sides. Measure out and set aside 2 tablespoons of bittersweet chocolate for the topping. Microwave the remaining bittersweet chocolate in a bowl at 50% power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and stir. Continue to microwave the chocolate for 15 second intervals at 50% power, stirring between intervals, until just small lumps remain. Stir until smooth and pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the Rice Krispies and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and mix them together. Melt the white chocolate using the same method as the bittersweet chocolate, keeping in mind that white chocolate melts at a lower temperature than bittersweet chocolate. Gently fold the cereal mixture into the white chocolate until evenly incorporated. Spread over the bittersweet chocolate and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining dried cranberries and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of bittersweet chocolate and pour into a small plastic bag. Cut a small hole in the corner and drizzle the chocolate over the bark. Allow the bark to warm up slightly, about 10 minutes, and pull it out of the pan using the aluminum foil overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Carefully peel away the foil and cut bark into small squares with a sharp chef's knife. The bark will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
http://pixelatedcrumb.com/2011/12/23/black-and-white-holiday-bark-with-cranberries/

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