Fancy Chocolate Bark

Makes 20 pieces
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

1 cup whole salted cashews, roasted
6 to 7 ounces very good quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 to 7 ounces very good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, diced
1/4 cup candied orange peel, drained well and diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a pencil trace a 8.5- by 11-inch rectangle on a large piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan. Flip the parchment over so you can then see the outline but avoid getting pencil lead in your bark. Yuck.

Spread the cashews on a baking pan and toast for 8 minutes or until starting to brown. Set them aside to cool. You don't need the oven anymore so you can turn it off.

Place the semisweet chocolate and half of the chopped bittersweet chocolate into a glass bowl. Set the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes on high. Put the bowl in the microwave and watch very closely. You are going to stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula in 20-30 second intervals until when you take it out the chocolate is just melted. You absolutely need to pay close attention to this. You are going to be using expensive chocolate and once you burn it, it's all over. That would totally stink. And, be a waste of delicious chocolate!

Once the chocolate is just melted, stir in the remaining bittersweet chocolate. Allow the melted chocolate to sit at room temperature and keep stirring the mixture. You want it to be completely smooth. There will be enough residual heat in the chocolate to melt the added bittersweet chocolate pieces. Keep stirring. The chocolate will get smooth and glossy which is what we want. This whole process will take about 3-5 minutes.

Pour the melted chocolate into the outline of your rectangle and using a spatula, smooth the surface and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top evenly with the toppings in the following order: first the ginger, then the cashews, then the orange peel, then the cherries, apricots and raisins. 

Set aside for at least 1 to 2 hours until cooled and firm. Cut or break the bark into 20 pieces and serve at room temperature or package for a perfect hostess gift.

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