This is the post where I'm really glad that you don't know my real identity. I mean... the three of you out there who read my blog who aren't my close friends don't know who I really am... right?
You see, there was once this teen sensation called Twilight... which lead to a series of 500-page novels... which lead to a low-budget movie... which re-introduced us all to Robert Pattinson after his brief Harry Potter stint. And that re-introduction lead to a world-wide hysteria that hit even the most unsuspecting victims: young, smart, stylish, professional, business women. Even women in New York City. It just so happens that my friends (and let's be honest, myself) fall into this category of fabulousness, so it wasn't long after the 4-book saga ended, the movie was played and re-played, and the Robert Pattison posters were hung in cubicles, that a group of us realized the best party theme idea ever: Twilight.
Clearly this exclusive fete will only include the most die-hard fans, will not include the men in our lives that mock us, and has got to be a party Alice Cullen would be proud of. The hostess is making Italian food ("Molto Bene!"), we're playing Debussy in the background ("Clair de Lune is great"), we're serving blood-red wine, and we're all wearing flannel shirts and galoshes (because Bella hates the cold rain in Forks, WA). Next on the agenda is fading my tan to vampire-pale and growing out my hair for the November 19th midnight showing of New Moon. Because we're obviously going. And I obviously already have my ticket.
In the meantime, for my contribution to this week's party I thought long and hard. Other than a fantastic bottle of Hunt Country Cabernet Franc 2007 paired with a Camembert to die for, my hostess asked me to bring... what else? Dessert. She knows me too well.
Even though the Cullen's don't eat people-food, there will be a few hot-blooded females ready to chow, so I thought of a dessert party-favor that even the most fanatical fan could appreciate. When James is after Bella in Twilight, Esme and Rosalie don Bella's clothes and head north to throw James off Bella's trail (who is headed South). They rub her clothes on trees in the forest, leaving her scent for James to follow. So, what am I making? Chocolate bark! One that everyone will love to smell (and we humans will love to eat).
I tested this recipe last week and over-did it a little on the nuts, so I upped the chocolate in this batch. I dunno kids, chocolate bark might be my new go-to hostess gift. It's simple, tasty, looks great in a clear cellophane bag wrapped in ribbon, and has countless adaptations to try. I can't wait to break up candy canes for holiday-ready peppermint bark in the coming months. I used apricots and raisins, but dried cherries and hazelnuts (like in the original Southern Living recipe) would be divine. Use whatever's in your pantry and send me your combinations!
Chocolate Almond Bark
adapted from Southern Living
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
1/3 cup dried apricots, coursely chopped
1/4 cup raisins, coursely chopped
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
Slice almonds and coursely chop dried fruit. Combine in medium bowl.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate melts, stirring every 15 seconds. Add to nut mixture, stiffing just until combined. Spread mixture evenly on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil; freeze 1 hour.
Break into pieces; serve immediately. Yield: about 12 ounces, serving size 1 oz.