Dark chocolate & Almond Bark with Sea Salt

This is a perfect recipe to make to give as gifts and I’ve added it to my series called  Edible Gifts.

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There’s nothing here for you, my heart said.

Like with each Diwali I spend away from home, as I have over the past 15 years, I’ve grown accustomed to the dull ache that consumes me, stealthily, but surely like the tip of your thumb pierced by a large thorn on a rosebush. Nothing that needs emergency treatment or that a little plaster won’t fix, but annoyingly present.

The Diwalis we’ve managed to get together with my family over the last few years, while nothing like the celebrations I remember as a child, have been reaffirming, joyous get togethers replacing that longing with what must be fulfillment. Waking up the next day to a Pietermaritzburg sky-line hazy with smoke from the night’s fireworks displays, eating nutty, caramelly blocks of channa magaj and drinking glasses of milk with banana and honey will always be filed away as some of the most beautiful memories I have of time spent with my family.

Sometimes the best things are far from perfect. That awful, cloying fog of air pollution, for example.

Diwali arrived mid-week this year, with no pomp or celebration. Another working day. The end of an early morning call to my mother was replaced by the dull ache I’ve grown accustomed to. Well, it shouldn’t take me by surprise, but it always does. My father was away in Port Elizabeth and returned home that night. We really were a family separated by physical distance this year.

No boxes of sweetmeats, the aroma of ghee sizzling on the stove, oil massages followed by ritual baths and proud displays of new clothes.

I replaced the ache with the quickest sweet I could make. White chocolate rose truffles with salted macadamia centres, dusted with cocoa and this Dark Chocolate & Almond Bark with Sea Salt. It’s a grown up combination of flavours, the roasted almonds and beautiful salt off set the semi-sweet chocolate. Really easy to make too. It could never replace a Diwali with my family. But it helped ease the pain a little.

Ingredients

400 g semi-sweet dark chocolate (60% – 72% cacoa solids)

100 g raw almonds, roasted

Fleur de Sel (I still love Maldon)

Method

Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a bowl of boiling water, stirring to melt.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment (preferably not wax paper but baking paper)

In a pestle and mortar bash the almonds slightly till they break up. It’s good to have almonds of different sizes – some powder, some whole chunks.

Spread the melted chocolate over the parchment paper on the tray with a spatula or metal palette knife.

Sprinkle almonds and salt to taste over.

Chill in the fridge, until set – takes 8- 10 minutes.

Peel the paper away from the chocolate, carefully.

Break up the chocolate into pieces of “bark” – need not be even in size.

Sprinkle a little more salt on top and enjoy.

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