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Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

December 31, 2012
Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Sometimes I’m afraid I am gonna get busted.

I could hear the beat of my own heart in my head and feel the pulse of it in my finger tips. Building excitement turned into mad nerves. Such pressure hung in the balance. With gift bag handles hanging from elbow to wrist on both limbs, I reached for the stack of glittery wrapped boxes of “sugar” cereals. The kind that only a jolly fat man would permit my children to start their days with.

Ever so quietly with fuzzy-socked feet, I slid my way down the long corridor  meager hallway, past the baby’s room. I paused to regain composure as the greatest feat lie ahead. The Stairs.

Let me preface.

I once (okay, maybe 157 times) considered making all teenagers in my house sleep upstairs, for they’d never be able to sneak out in the middle of the night with…The Stairs. The 1923 built creaky old things would blow their chances lickety split. And I, the mother standing in a beam of radiant light with praises being sung by choirs of parent cheerleader angels, would gallantly hold my chin high as I smirked at my teenager and eloquently proclaimed, “Ha, busted you are, doll face! Can’t pull one over on this broad!” I would then be crowned with the Mother Has Eyes on The Back of Her Head Award. Pretty much brilliant, I know.

But now…well, now the pendulum has swung, and ’tis I that was under the watchful eye.

Bugger! I had only the gifts in hand. I would have to go back for the stocking stuffers. One mis-step and my cover would be blown. Deep breath. Amanda, you can do this! I considered waking my sleeping giant of a husband to help with the Santa duties, but then I recounted that his steps are not exactly…err, gazellish.

I pressed my chin down against the stack in my arms to secure the packages and began my descent. Creak. Crock. Crickety, creak. Upon reaching the base of the mountain, I again paused to see if my journey downward had spawned any children to jolt from their beds and pitter patter their way living-room bound to confirm their all along suspicions: that Santa Clause was, indeed, the real deal.

Not a peeping sound. Whew.

I felt extraordinarily nervous at this point and wished I had reapplied deodorant for this task. Like a deer in the meadow’s center with the nearest tree line being a bit too far, I longed for the cover of my bed sheets. Deep breath. Soon enough. Soon enough. Stay focused.

With a bit more determination on my worried face, I worked quickly. Placing each gift under the tree, stuffing the stockings with socks, mango flavored chapstick, bits of chocolate and candy, and packs of watermelon Bubblicious. My mission was almost complete.

Doesn’t the man in red also own up to job of eating cookies at each house? Or, is it true that he really prefers Espresso Cherry Almond Bark instead?

It was lying there, innocently displayed on a plate, so I figured I should probably partake in effort to keep with the consistency of the Christmas fairy tale. I wouldn’t want my non-partaking to dispel any childhood fantasies that some burly man in a red jump suit with a white beard, a jingling roof-top sleigh, and a heard of nine flying reindeer whom grants the wishes of children all over the world doesn’t actually exist. Or worse yet, that my children might think St. Nicolas himself doesn’t like chocolate bark. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I couldn’t let this happen.

I left a few crumbs as evidence…

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

A pound (16 ounces) of good semi-sweet chocolate. Seriously.

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Chopped.

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Melted over a double broiler (or make-shift double broiler, which consists of a glass bowl atop a pot of boiling water…just make sure the bowl isn’t actually touching the boiling water). Flavored with rich smelling espresso grounds, then poured onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly leaving a 2-inch border. The melty goodness should be about 1/4-1/2 inch thick when spread.

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Studded with bits of crunchy, salted almonds and shrivels of tart, crimson cherries. Then rounded out with a moderate strewing of sea salt.

‘Tis compensations such as this, that makes the whole staying up until 2 a.m. wrapping gifts, sneaking around, playing the magical Santa role completely worth it. Even if I do end up getting busted, at least it will be with a mouthful of Espresso Cherry Almond Bark!

Hope all you mums and dads got the job done right.

Love,

Missy Magpie

P.S. May you be delighted with a spirited New Year celebration amongst those you love.

 

Espresso Cherry Almond Bark

Serves: 40 pieces
A dark chocolate would work for those who prefer its rich bitter flavors. Also, do not underestimate the addition of the sea salt. It really pulls all of the flavors together when the chocolate melts in your mouth.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound / 454 grams good quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans or instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup whole salted dry roasted almonds, hand chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate in a double broiler or a make-shift double broiler (a glass bowl atop a pot of boiling water…just make sure the bowl is not actually touching the boiling water). When completely melted, stir in ground espresso or instant espresso, until thoroughly combined.
  2. Spread chocolate on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a 2 inch border (or so the chocolate is 1/4 inch thick).
  3. Evenly sprinkle on almonds, dried cherry bits, and sea salt. Let set in refrigerator or freezer before breaking into pieces of bark. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Notes

Do not use chocolate chips, as they will clump when melting because they contain stabilizers. Hand chop almonds; do not use a food processor as it will create too much almond dust.

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