Dark Chocolate Dark
Makes 2 baking sheets of bark
These beauties are the perfect gift for holidays and neighbors, and in consideration of this, the recipe creates a good amount of bark. If you are making this for a smaller crew, halve the recipe. Tempering the chocolate gives it a nice, glossy finish and allows the bark to be stored at room temperature. Note that this is not a necessary step, and if you want to skip it you may — simply refrigerate the bark for best keeping.
For the candied orange slices
1 cup (125 g) sugar
1 blood orange, cut into 1/8-inch (3-mm-) thick slices
For the chocolate bark
1 1/2 pounds (680 g) dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1/4 cup (30 g) pistachios, coarsely chopped
Cyprus flake salt
For the candied orange slices: In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, combine the sugar and 11⁄2 cups (360 ml) water and bring to a boil. Arrange the orange slices in a single layer in the sugar water and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, turning the slices occasionally, until they are translucent and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the orange slices and transfer them to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to cool completely.
For the chocolate bark: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and place a heat-safe bowl over the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl is suspended above, not touching, the water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl and add two-thirds of the chocolate. Heat, stirring continuously, until the chocolate reaches about 100°F (38°C), being careful not to exceed 120°F (49°C). Gradually add the remaining one-third chocolate and stir until completely melted.
Remove the bowl from the pot and allow the chocolate to cool to 82°F (28°C). Return the bowl to the pot of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches between 88°F (31°C) and 90°F (32°C). Remove the bowl from the heat. You can test to see if your chocolate is tempered by spreading a small spoonful on a scrap piece of parchment paper. If the chocolate is glossy and dries quickly, it is tempered. If it has streaks or a dull finish, it is not tempered. (Alternatively, if you’d rather not temper the chocolate, you can melt it all at once and refrigerate it once assembled to harden.)
Divide the melted chocolate evenly between the prepared baking sheets. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer about 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick. Arrange the candied orange slices evenly over the top and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, pistachios, and flaky salt.
Let the bark rest until hardened. Peel the chocolate from the parchment paper and use a knife to break the bark into rough pieces. Transfer to an airtight container to store.
Storage – Store at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. (If your chocolate is not tempered, store in the refrigerator.)