Sexy & Sweet Valentine's Day Recipe: Salted Pistachio, Candied Orange, and Dark Chocolate Bark

Salted Pistachio, Candied Orange, and Dark Chocolate Bark. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Salted Pistachio, Candied Orange, and Dark Chocolate Bark. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Nothing says “I love you” more than candy! Ok that’s a load of crap, but having someone care about you enough to make that candy from scratch? Now that is love.

Despite being head-over-heels for my husband, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I don’t like forced romanticism, big expensive bouquets of roses aren’t really my thing, and don’t even get me started on trying to find a babysitter and go out for a nice dinner on that “lovers-only” evening. I’m totally happy having a quiet dinner that my husband made for me (a dinner in which I did none of the shopping or cooking; ahem, husband, are you reading this?), then snuggling on the couch, nibbling on some dark chocolate bark, and watching a great movie. Perfection!

Despite how I, or even you, might feel, this dark chocolate bark is a good way to someone’s heart. Gilded with bits of candied orange, tangy orange peel, and salty-sweet pistachios, it is both gorgeously colorful and irresistibly delicious. You probably won’t be able to stop eating it. (But you really should, at some point.)

Once you make it and let it set, break it into pieces then find a memorable way to present it: in a colorful cellophane bag tied with a big ribbon or raffia or in a paper-lined metal tin or box.

Have fun trying different combos, such as toasted almonds and mini marshmallows, pecans and chopped dried apricots, or peanuts and ancho chili powder.

Salted Pistachio, Candied Orange, and Dark Chocolate Bark. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Salted Pistachio, Candied Orange, and Dark Chocolate Bark. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Bark with Salted Pistachios and Candied Orange

Makes about 2 1/2 lbs bark

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Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 2 lbs good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 10 oz pistachio meats
  • 4–4 1/2 oz finely diced candied orange peel
  • Fleur de sel or other flaked sea salt

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Instructions:

  1. Line a 12x15-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate, vegetable shortening, and orange zest in a heatproof bowl that will set atop a medium saucepan. Add about 1 inch of water to the saucepan and warm over medium heat just until steaming.
  3. Place the bowl of chocolate on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir just until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from over pan. (Make sure you don’t overheat the chocolate or it might separate.)
  4. While the chocolate is melting, in a bowl, stir together the pistachios and candied orange peel. Remove 1 cup and set aside. Pour the remaining pistachio mixture into the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
  5. Using a heatproof silicon spatula, scrape the mixture onto the buttered parchment and spread until the mixture covers the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and candied orange peel, gently pressing them into chocolate. Sprinkle with a little of the salt.
  6. Let the bark stand at cool room temperature until completely firm, about 4 hours, or overnight. Break or cut the bark into pieces. Store airtight in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.
Break or cut the bark into pieces. Store airtight in a cool place for up to 2 weeks. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Break or cut the bark into pieces. Store airtight in a cool place for up to 2 weeks. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

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