Chocoholic: Smoked Salt, Potato Chip, and Pretzel Chocolate Bark
I know the idea of chocolate bark is nothing new, but for me it's always a chance to try out new texture and flavor combinations without the risk. I'd rather test out my lunacy in an easy bark than put a cake in the oven and cross my fingers it all works out. This however, is fairly tame. I've always been a fanatic over chocolate dipped pretzels, but surprisingly I hadn't indulged in the wonders of chocolate potato chips until last week. (I was interviewing a local chocolatier in Singapore and sampled their potato chip chocolate bar). The addition of crunchy, greasy, salty chips with chocolate was amazing, but it was a sugar-free chocolate bar, so I decided to go home and mix up my own concoction with my favorite delux bittersweet chocolate.
Chocolate bark is one of the easiest treats you can make—it almost doesn't need a recipe. But unless you plan to keep the chocolate bark in the fridge, it pays to do a quick temper of the chocolate to keep it from blooming. When chocolate melts, the crystals fall out of line. Tempering helps to re-crystallize the chocolate so that it sets back up properly, with a smooth texture and without white blotches.There are many different ways to temper chocolate, involving thermometers, marble slabs, and the like. Since this is just a simple bark, and covered with stuff anyway, I just perform my "cheaters" or quick temper technique, which is to gently melt two thirds of the chocolate and then stir in the remaining chocolate until it's all melted and smooth.
My real experiment with this bark was adding smoked salt, and it was a winner. The unique wood fire essence almost gave the bark a flavor of bacon, which was amplified by the grease of the potato chips, but without the meat. Crunchy, salty, smokey, chocolatey—and way too addictive for its own good.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.