Sweet & Spicy Almonds – Dark Chocolate Bark
Strictly speaking this cannot be called a recipe post. It is a two-step process with an oven time of about ten minutes and that’s it. Roast almonds, pour melted chocolate on them and you’re done. The wait time is a true test of endurance though. This bark takes about 3 hours to firm up.
The molten chocolate poured over shiny glazed almonds looked so tantalising that those three hours passed in total agony! I made constant trips to the refrigerator – poking, prodding, touching, lifting (spot the fingerprints and knife wounds in the picture above!). Turns out, you cannot will the chocolate to harden. It is stubborn and temperamental and will take its own sweet time. So I suggest you make this at night, just before bedtime and let it set overnight. Easier on you and better for the chocolate too.
- Whole raw almonds – 2 cups
- Honey – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
- Maple syrup – 1 tbsp (can be substituted with honey)
- Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
- Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
- Chilli powder (cayenne) – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Sea salt or rock salt – 1/4 tsp
- Dark chocolate (at least 60%) – 350 to 400 grams
- Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
- Add almonds to a big bowl. Pour in honey, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Add the red pepper flakes, chilli powder and salt and stir thoroughly until the almonds are evenly coated.
- Looks gorgeous doesn’t it? Now, if you haven’t already wolfed them down at this stage, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on the tray in an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. After the initial 5 minutes stir the nuts around on the tray and continue to bake. Keep a close watch! Nuts tend to burn very quickly. Mine were toasted perfectly in about 12 minutes.
- Allow the almonds to cool completely. Leave them on the tray till they are cool and the syrup has formed a nice hard glaze. The almonds will form delicious little clusters.
- When the almonds are nearly cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler – a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the melting chocolate gently, making sure the chocolate doesn’t come into contact with any water at all. Once it has all melted, take it off the heat. Line another baking sheet or brownie pan with parchment paper. Break up the almond clusters and spread about two-thirds of the almonds on the sheet. Pour the chocolate over the almonds and try to spread it out as evenly as possible using an offset spatula or a flat knife. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of the chocolate and gently press them down with the spatula. Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.
- You’re done! Well almost. Refrigerate till the chocolate is set hard. This takes about 3 hours. After the nearly interminable wait, when the chocolate has finally set, break it up into chunks either with a knife or by hand. If breaking it up by hand, avoid getting your fingerprints on the chocolate by placing a layer of parchment on it first. Keep this almond – dark chocolate bark refrigerated.
If you, like us, have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this should last you a couple of days. If you are blessed with greater self control it should be good for about a week to ten days.