Christmas baking is something I look forward to each and every year. It’s a time where I can go crazy baking every day and storing in the freezer to share with friends and family later. While I obviously love to bake, I can’t exactly be baking pies and dozens of cookies regularly just for Adam and I. Much to Adams chagrin. Whom by the way asks me to bake him an apple pie almost weekly; I have yet to give in to this plea.
While we were living at his parents the last three months before we moved into the new house it was great because I had even more people to bake for, including his sister and brother in law that came over often. I find baking and cooking to be quite joyful and soothing. Even more so during this time of year. It’s sort of old fashioned, but I love bringing people baked goods, and cooking comforting foods even more so. It must be the Italian in me – I feel it is our life’s goal to feed people.
If anyone knows my Nonna they can attest to the truth in that sentence. You never leave Nonna’s hungry, even if you weren’t hungry to begin with. Adam has been force fed entire pizzas in the past. You can never not eat almost an entire homemade pizza when you are at Nonnas.
It can be hard during the holidays when people are feeling the hustle and bustle to take time and bake, especially with complicated recipes and long lists of ingredients and steps.
This recipe, however, requires no cooking or baking and comes together quite easily and can be made within 20 minutes start to finish.
One of the many fond memories of my father was his sweet tooth. Another thing I must have inherited from his Italian ancestry, a love for sweets. He would nonchalantly mention to my mom to pick up ‘something sweet’ while grocery shopping to eat aprés dinner. Some of his favourites were Safeway Brownies (the kind with the fudge frosting on top), ice cream, or a sinfully decadent combination of both.
Dad would always pick up a treat for my brother and I on his way home or at the corner store. Usually it would be those sesame snaps, or a Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut chocolate bar. Italians love fruits and nuts, as they would usually be our dessert after a traditional Italian dinner. In Italy this past summer every night after eating my Nonna and Giuseppe would peel some pears, apples or peaches for dessert. When my Nonno was here he would always crack some walnuts or almonds after dinner on Christmas Eve for us.
You can add in any combination of fruit/nuts you like. I bought roasted salted almonds (the salt + chocolate pair nicely), but you can use roasted unsalted, or raw, or any type of nuts you like. I also added in raw Cashews.
You can also make as much or as little as you like depending on how much chocolate you use. About two cups of chocolate chips makes a good size batch. You can store in the fridge/freezer easily.
Fruit & Nut Bark
Dark Chocolate, Chopped (Chips, Bar, or Baking chocolate works)
Dried Apricots, chopped
Roasted Salted Almonds, roughly chopped
Cashews, roughly chopped
1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (not saran wrap)
2. Place chopped chocolate in glass bowl and microwave for 1 minute intervals at 70% power until completely melted. Stir with spoon to break up chunks. Alternatively you can place in double boiler and melt as well.
3. Add in your chopped nuts and chopped fruit, reserve about 1/2 cup for topping. Mix together fully.
4. Using a spatula spread the chocolate mixture onto the lined baking sheet and spread evenly.
5. Sprinkle top with reserved nuts/fruit.
6. Place baking sheet in fridge/freezer to chill and harden fully. Once it is solid, use your hands or a knife to break apart into smaller chunks.
To serve, place in cupcake wrappers on tray, or package them up for your friends and family this Christmas.