Bark--peppermint bark, pistachio bark, and chili bark, to name a few--has got to be one of the easiest and most gratifying candies to make. People simply love this simple dessert and how few think to make it themselves. Next time you get invited to a potluck, and you need to make something impressive but don't have the time to think about it, here's the answer: Smoked chili bark. Simply smashing and with a surprisingly light, smoky afterburn.
12 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cup chopped unsalted nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans--or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle (smoked jalapeno) peppers (available cheaply at Cost Plus World Market)
1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Melt the chocolate in either a double boiler over boiling water or in a large bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Once melted, stir in all but a handful of the nuts and all of the ground spices, continuing to stir until well-blended.
Pour the mixture out onto either waxed paper, parchment paper, or a silicone non-stick mat on a baking sheet. Spread to make the bark as this as desired.
Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and press the nuts lightly in. Sprinkle the top with more smoked paprika. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Break up into bite-sized pieces.
Homemade for the Holidays Series
Part 1: Pistachio Bark
Part 2: Curry Powder (Garam Masala)
Part 3: Chocolate Truffles
Part 4: Peppermint Bark
Part 5: Chili Bark