Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed and Ginger Bark 5 Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party
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December is no ordinary month.  For many of us it’s a series of weekends spent baking, nights spent celebrating and houses filled with family and friends. An abundance of special occasions fill the calendar during this time.

And while the frantic pace can be unrelenting, holiday brunches are the one exception that seem to ignore the clock and invite us to recharge and savor a long, lazy meal in good company.

Brunch is a sane way to celebrate the season; not as frantic as or as potentially fraught with familial tensions as parties and dinners.

There are none of the worries of seating arrangements, fancy table linens, or elaborate meal preparation. Beyond breakfast and lunch, it escapes precise description and can be savory, sweet, light and hearty all at once.

 

Apricots and Ginger Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

Cherished memories are made in the kitchen. Everyone remembers parties spent lazily sipping coffee or cocktails and catching up with one another while stirring, nibbling and cooking up a feast. We’ve waited all year for these precious moments; to have the time to talk and enjoy the season.

Because brunch is served early in the day and sleep is precious during the holiday season, prep time is the key to a stress-free brunch. One choice is to make some food ahead of time, keep the menu simple, and cook a few of the dishes while your guests are there.

This year some friends and I are throwing a virtual bunch.  Since we can’t all be together in the kitchen cooking we are doing the next best thing and sharing our menu for a memorable holiday brunch with you, and I’m bringing the chocolate!

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed and Ginger Bark 3 Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

Chocolate bark makes an elegant hostess gift or party favor for any holiday get-together. It’s simple to prepare and is a wonderful healthy indulgence.

Shards of decadent dark chocolate are topped with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds, shimmering bits of crystallized ginger, along with sweet, but tart dried apricots and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt.

The salty, sweet combination is thoroughly addicting and the little zip from the ginger gives this bark just the right amount of heat.

Filled with antioxidants, heart healthy fats and immune boosting properties, this deliciously rich treat is sure to be gratefully devoured by its recipients.

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed and Ginger Bark 4 Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

I was thrilled to contribute this recipe to the Holiday 2011 issue of Simply the Sweet Life Magazine (pg.56-57). It’s a wonderful publication filled with great ideas for the holiday season, I hope you check it out.

RECIPE: Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup/ 2oz toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup/ 1 oz dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup/ 1 oz crystallized or candied ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound / 16 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • A few pinches of fleur de sel

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line an 11″ x 17″ baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the pumpkin seeds, apricots, and ginger in a bowl.
  3. To temper chocolate: Using a microwave, place 3/4 of chocolate in a microwave- bowl (set aside remaining chocolate). With bowl uncovered, heat chocolate for 30 seconds at 50 percent power and then stir with a rubber spatula. Repeat, heating for 30 seconds and stirring, until almost all the chocolate in the bowl is melted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Using an instant-read thermometer, check temperature of chocolate. It should be no more than 118°. If it hasn’t reached desired temperature, continue to heat (in 10-second increments). Then add reserved chocolate and stir constantly until completely melted and smooth and thermometer reads 88° to 90°. Chocolate is now tempered.
  5. To make bark: Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate in an even layer, about 1/4 inch thick, on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with the nut and fruit mixture and a pinch of fleur de sel. Tap the pan to settle the toppings into the chocolate.
  6. Allow bark to cool until hard and use a sharp knife to cut into pieces.
  7. Wrap in gift boxes lined with decorative paper, or place in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield):  makes 1 lb of bark

Copyright © 2010-2011 gourmande in the kitchen.

 

virtual Holiday Brunch Pot Luck 9 300x267 Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

Be sure to check out the complete Virtual Holiday Brunch Menu below:

Drink
Godiva Mudslide Minitini – Kristen from Dine & Dish

Main Dish
Gingerbread French Toast – Diane from Created by Diane
Asian Fusion Omelette/Frittata – Jeanette from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Bon Appetit’s Macaroni and Cheese - Naomi from Bakers Royale

Side Dish
Potato Casserole – Julie from The Little Kitchen
Hazelnut Roasted Brussel Sprouts – Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food

Dessert
Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle with Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce – Sommer from A Spicy Perspective
Almond Brickle Coffee Cake – Kathy from Cooking On the Side
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream – Cheryl from TidyMom

 

What are your favorite brunch dishes?

pixel Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots | A Holiday Brunch Party

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  1. says

    What stunning images of this holiday treat. I wish I had a tin of this right now, although I’m afraid I would eat the entire batch up. Love the combination of flavors and textures in your recipe.

  2. says

    What an unusual bark, it’s so beautiful with the orange tones and the slivers on top going every which way. I love how thin and regular yours is, I’ve been making barks to give as gifts all week, and mine is more of the rustic variety!

  3. says

    The colours in this bark are absolutely gorgeous – so wintry and vibrant. I love sharing food with friends and can completely understand the need to continue to do so, even if you can’t actually meet. A virtual brunch is such a good idea!

  4. says

    This is my kind of chocolate bark. Love the simplicity but array of great flavors. Congrats on the magazine feature will check it out. As always I love your photos. Happy Holidays !

  5. Love & other Spices says

    Absolutely gorgeous,Sylvie!I wish I can delve into that bark right now. Congrats on the magazine feature.

  6. says

    Congrats on the magazine feature! :)

    I absolutely agree that chocolate bark makes an elegant hostess gift or party favor and it can certainly be a healthy indulgence if you use the right ingredients. I love how you’ve paired ginger with the pumpkin seeds – it’s unusual, but I’m sure it works really well.

    As for my favorite brunch dishes, I have to say cardamom french toast with fruit, or then a frittata with lots of feta cheese!

  7. says

    All I can say is…. wow! I’ve never been a huge fan of “bark” since most versions have been too sweet for my tastes. But this one? Oh, this one I could devour.. and as soon as I make it, I probably will!!

  8. says

    I am with you. Brunch is a great way to go. Besides, I have way more energy in the earlier part of the day. This chocolate bark looks wonderful! Great for gifts too.

  9. says

    oh delicious! I just made ginger and darck chocolate caramels – oh my word, so good! I love how pretty the crystrallised ginger looks on top of the chocolate and so easy to make for last minutes gifts too.

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