Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry Bark

I offer up an exotic Indian twist on this traditional holiday gift-able sweet.

Ingredients:
10 oz. dark chocolate chunks (like Private Selection 62% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chunks)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder, divided (like Kroger Curry Powder)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

You'll Also Need:
a large cookie tray, parchment paper, a nonstick skillet, a microwave-safe mixing bowl, a microwave

Step-by-Step:


1. Line the cookie tray with parchment paper.
2. Put the chocolate in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a paper towel. Microwave on high power for two minutes.
3. While the chocolate is melting, pour the coconut into the skillet in a thin even layer. On low heat, toast the coconut, stirring frequently.
4. When the microwave beeps after two minutes, stir the chocolate, then re-cover and put back in the microwave for another two minutes on high. Continue stirring the coconut.
5. When the microwave beeps, stir the chocolate again, then re-cover and put back in the microwave for another minute (or until completely melted).
6. Now that the coconut has been toasting for about four and a half minutes, add a 1/2 tsp. of the curry powder and a 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon to the skillet. Stir frequently for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and remove the skillet from the burner.
7. Add the remaining 1 tsp. curry powder and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to the melted chocolate. Stir through.
8. Add about 3/4 of the coconut mixture from the skillet into the mixing bowl with the chocolate. Fold in.
9. Spread the mixture thinly onto the parchment paper. Pour the remaining coconut-spice mixture on top of the bark. Refrigerate for about an hour.
10. Use a pizza cutter to break into pieces.
Makes about 14 pieces.

The AHH Factor: When it comes to making traditional Indian food, let's face the facts. You don't want me making it for you. Or, at least, you don't want me making it for you, then trying to pass it off as authentic, when the truth is I substituted multiple ingredients for ingredients that were "easier to find" or "healthier" or "that I could pronounce."

But fusion cuisine, now that I can do. So, with the holidays swiftly approaching, I developed this recipe as an exotic version of the American holiday favorite: chocolate bark. A few years ago, I made a white chocolate bark with broken candy cane pieces and gave it out as a casual Christmas gift. I got great feedback on this gift.

This year, I had friends taste-test this bark. Actually, I put them on the spot and asked them to guess the secret ingredient. (OK, so it's not a secret for you since you've read the recipe already, but I wanted them to say "curry powder.") I heard a range of guesses that were all in the correct range -- cumin, turmeric, and coriander, to name a few. I also got comments it was clear there was a "warm taste in the background," "a distinctive aftertaste," and that it should be "inhaled, and not just tasted on the tongue." I know -- my friends sound a lot more sophisticated than I do!

Later, Nick, who already knew what the secret ingredient was, surprisingly liked this bark too. I say surprisingly because Nick doesn't generally like dark chocolate. He's more of a sweeter milk chocolate guy, but I think it was the coconut that won him over.

Oh, and yes, I know that chocolate is better melted using the double boiler method, and it was also suggested to me (quite correctly, actually, I will also acknowledge) that instead of using a ready-made curry powder mix, I would be better off selectively picking the individual spices in the correct proportions, maybe even grinding them myself. And, I would even make my own suggestion that it's more fun to break the bark into pieces by slamming the pan on the counter, rather than quietly slicing with a pizza cutter.

But, again, let's face the facts: I didn't have the time to pull the bark out of the refrigerator until 1 a.m. (And I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only one with this no-spare-time predicament.) So, I say -- in the spirit of Thanksgiving -- let's all be thankful for pre-made mixes and microwaves!

9 comments:

  1. As you know, I really liked it. I think if I ever made it, I would put some chili flakes in it.

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  2. Yum! Never figured curry would go with chocolate :)

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  3. Thanks, guys! Exotic-flavored chocolates are the best! The Choxie brand at Target has some surprisingly good ones. And Nicole: Chili flakes are a great idea.

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  4. I love curry powder but I've never thought to combine it with chocolate! This is a fabulous idea, and a fantastic gift. Thanks for the idea!

    And yes, I have a weakness for Choxie. And everything else that Target has to offer.

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