Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Bark for Noche Buena

Hey!  It’s Christmas and here in Manila, traffic jams since the December month came  really kicked up like hell.   By the mid-month all the mall have been like some kind of a safari!  And just days before Christmas, only then can the feast be planned.  The Noche Buena…and everyone lines up the cashier awaiting to be served after hours spent picking the right ingredients said to be part of the list from a roll of paper.  Hoohh!

I used to remember the holidays when I was a child.   Anticipating about Christmas school-parties, Simbang Gabi, new clothes and stuff, gifts opening on Christmas Eve and of course, Noche Buena.   Those times when fire-crackers start cracking and houses smelled heaven, each home cooking up storms of their heir-loomed recipes.   And our house would have boxes of imported chocolates from Saudi Arabia, and US.  Ahhh…the chocolates.  
I could forever be a kid with my favorite chocolates…

I could never get tired of gnawing on these cubes of goodness.   May it be milky sweet, uber bitter, semi-sweet, coarse, melted, hot or cold, hard as a gravel or whatever form it may seem to acquire.   All those chunks stylishly wrapped in gold or silver is what completes my Christmas!   Well you’d say, you can have it everyday not only during Christmas.   And I’d say, well that would make everyday choco-indulgence a Christmas day for me.

As a matter of fact, with the love I had with cocoa, I learned to bake, and with that I immersed myself studying more on how to sell chocolates in my own simple ways and thus I became a Chocolate Concessionaire.   Molding chocolates and giving so much attention to details that it took over my whole being and forgot how it can also be bad to your health.   Yes the insanity that drove me to delving in too much to it, hahaha… Actually everything that is too much is bad, though there has been a lot of news in the past year about how chocolate is actually (maybe) good for you.  Well, no one can deviate that it is sweet, thus may contribute to the raising issues of diabetes.  No, I don’t have diabetes but my daughter has but not because of chocolate, primarily because she was born with it.  Not until she was five when it really manifested and had almost took us under. 
So there’s dark chocolate, make sure it is not lower than the 40 % dark. I am however taking the concept one step further by combining the miracle food that is chocolate with other beneficial all-natural ingredients to make what I would tend to think of as holistic health chocolate. 
When I was a kid, well until now as well, I would always receive this as gift, handful of toblerones, Mayfairs, Goya and Hersheys to name a few, and this is my gift for you…
Thank you Kulinarya and fellow foodies of the group, for having us, together with Sherilyn of  Senorita Sisa's Blog  , as this month’s hosts.   What I initially thought of was having everyone in Kulinarya share a dish using one of their favorite ingredient.   But alas, well since everyone had been up to decorating their homes well this could also be a good time spent thinking how we can get our table for Christmas more embellished through the menu everyone have designed and with of course the star dish.
As you can see I’ve been clamoring a lot about chocolates, but my first thought was on dried fruits, like the ones we have for Fruit Cakes. 
picture from Chocolate Fire's FB page
It was my plan to do Chocolate Barks as my gift for my kids’ teachers.  I first encountered this at Naci Comfort Foods and Dessert Bar, a newly-opened restaurant at Greenhills.  Then I saw this next during Facebook airtimes of Chocolate Fire, a chocolate café in Salcedo, Makati.  I’ve never actually tried making this nor have I seen a demo on this, but then my kitchen is always up for an experiment.   So of we went to Chocolate Fire to check out their Christmas barks and of course to try out the foray on their menu.  Here is what I got, Belgian Hot choco, Bhogs had the regular cappucino...
Australian Style Hot Dark Chocolate ( P 120)
Cappucino served with shaved Belgian Chocolate (P 95)
We did not buy the barks since I got to think that I might be able to imitate them and I was  prepared since I had my parents buy me  a few packs of dried fruits from Milan, Italy.
The five assortment of dried fruits- Macedonia (mix  of the ff with cherries and pears), dates, apples, peaches , prunes
Well, I did it!  It was as easy as pie...No gadgets to buy, no ovens, and you can actually play with an array of mixins, so if you're not into dried fruits you can just put nuts, rice crispies, marshmallows and many more,
To make it extra special I used chocolate molds with teddy bear and angel design, but you can also use plastic lids or any small trays that would fit your freezer.

It wasn't the look that I've expected though coz I don't have a dried fruit that's red, like cranberries or strawberries, but I'll do better on Christmas eve.
Yes!  I don't have to spend that much to have me and my family enjoy chocolate in a healthy way, since chocolate barks in Christmas packages are sold a bit pricey here in Manila.  But before I give you the full detail on how to make them, let me give you my pre-planned Noche Buena menu, well we don't actually do Noche Buena per se, we eat an extravagant dinner at 8 o'clock on the 24th, since by 10 pm my kids would have gone to bed and would hardly eat at midnight.  They just wake up and open their gifts and go back to sleep afterwards, then they will enjoy their opened up gifts the next day.
My 2011 Noche Buena menu:
Canapes with cream cheese and caviar
Oriental Crab Cake Salad
3 Cup Chicken (Chef Bruce Lim's Lee Kum Kee recicpe)
Ribbon Pasta with Pesto Sauce
Chocolate Java Truffles
Dark and White Chocolate Barks 

While waiting for the Eve...Hot Tsokolate eh, using pure chocolate blocks from Bohol.

This year has really rocked my world, as I don't want to complicate my life in preparing our festive dinner, just the six of us and a few visits from relatives nearby.   It may not be as festive as anybody's but as long as you offer your cooking skills to your loved ones it becomes the best dinner for them!
Hoping that my daughter, Danielle pitch in and bake brownies or cupcakes!!!   (Huwag sana unahan ng katamaran).
Pardon me for the picture, the barks were already in plastic boxes
Recipe for Chocolate Barks
Things needed:
1/2 K dark chocolate bar
1/2 K white chocolate bar
1 cup mixed nuts (i used chopped walnuts and slivered almonds)
2 cups mixed dried fruits 

To make the Chocolate Barks:
1.   Do the white chocolate first.   Chop the white chocolates and set aside.
2.   Chop the dried fruits in small pieces , as in 1 cm thick.  Depends on how thin or think you want your barks to be.
3.   Prepare a double boiler or two pans, one bigger pan or aluminum bowl on top of the other.  Put boiling water on the bottom pan at least 2/3 of the pan.  Put the chocolate on the pan or bowl on top of the pan with boiling water.  For the double boiler, just do the same.  
4.   Once the chocolate is melted thoroughly, and the consistency is flowing when you put up a spoon with it, dump in the nuts and the dried fruits.   Mix well to completely cover the mixins with chocolate.
5.  Spoon slowly on the molds or plastic lids, then put inside the freezer. 
6.  You can remove the molds when you see that the bottom of the plastic is frosty already.
7.  Bash it on a tray carefully to remove the chocolates on the mold.
8.  Leave it there for a few minutes, be careful not to touch it with bare fingers for your marks will be left on them, the shiny look will not be be achieved.
9.  Do the same with the dark chocolate.
10.  You may or may not break the barks up, but if you want the fruits to show off on the edge, you may want to break it, either with a knife or with hands, but put on  plastic gloves first.

Sorry, but due to excitement and time constraints I was not able to take shots of them not on the boxes.  Oh! I think I had at least one, that's on the top in white chocolate though. 
As you can see, these are not only good to munch on all by yourselves, their as good as any gifts worth of expensive gourmet chocolates, you may also want to spruce it up a bit by adding your fave alcohol drink, but put it on the fruits not on the chocolates.   Other chocolates may be used as well such as semi-sweet choco-chips, milk chocolates and others.
Let me have the honor of greeting everyone an early Merry Christmas!


  1. The chocolate bark sounds so delicious. I need to get some molds and give these a try sometime. Yummy!

  2. What a chocolatey Christmas! ... They are gorgeous Joy .... I bet it tastes heavenly .... :=)

  3. Wonderful Christmas treats, Joy! We love chocolate bark! My daughter and I made some for her friends last week!

  4. These chocolate barks are fantastic gift ideas! Thanks for sharing. Thank you for hosting the KCC this month. Merry Christmas!

  5. @Quiche-ing Queen...deliciously addicting! Visited your blog as well. Thanks!

  6. @Reel and Grill...A chocolatey Christmas indeed! Tnx for the comment!

  7. @Tina...These are easty to make, kids would love to stay around and lick the spot where chocolates have touched! And a good gift idea as well, just as you did! Nice job!

  8. @Elizabeth Q...Hosting for you guys is such a privilege! Tnx!

  9. Falalalalalalalala.... that looks heavenly good !!! Will make this for my pamangkins !!! =) Happy Christmas to you !

  10. Thank you for hosting the theme this month, Joy! This chocolate looks really rich and delicious. Heavenly delicious. Merry Christmas!

    ~ ray ~

  11. decadent. tsalap tsalap.

  12. Huwag sana unahan ng katamaran.... hoping she would read this. Hahahahaha!

    Great! You've already prepared the Noche Buena Menu. And yes, I've always thought that Noche Buena is a family affair- intimate, cozy, simple but special.

    There's no need to put up a fiesta for the whole baranggay...

  13. oh my! chocolates lots and lots of chocolates! sarap!!!! i'l bookmark this- i need to learn to do this :)
    Merry Christmas to you Joy and to your family!


  14. I tasted it and it was good!!!! I had one box of Joy's bark chocolates and di talaga ako namigay.. Yummy����!'


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