With no electricity for a week after Hurricane Sandy, I felt like time was stolen away from me. It completely threw me off. What? It’s November already? V didn’t even trick or treat yet! It was only two days ago that I realized Diwali is only days away! I still have presents to buy and cookies to make. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that it all gets done in time. I didn’t think I had the time to create something new for Diwali this year. I’m sticking with my Rangoli cookies as my main contribution to family and friends. But yesterday, I had an idea and could not resist trying out a small batch. Why not make some chocolate bark for this holiday? It’s fast and easy and it can have an Indian twist.
So I came up with a good mix to put into my bark. I used vanilla bean Godiva chocolate bars that I mixed with rose essence and saffron strands. It’s generously sprinkled with pistachios, sliced almonds, and roughly crushed cardamom seeds. To top it off, I cut the sweetness with a bit of of Merlot salt. I love the color of this salt. It makes everything so pretty.
I was so pleased with this new concoction. It reminded me a lot of paper halwa. Maybe next year will finally be the year where I plan more in advance so I have time to make more! It would be great for giving out in place of the standard box of mixed mithai. Don’t you think?
WHITE CHOCOLATE DIWALI BARK
yield: about 16 pieces
7 oz white chocolate (mine was vanilla bean flavored)
1/4 tsp rose essence *
pinch of saffron
3 Tbs sliced almonds
2 Tbs chopped pistachios
1/4 tsp roughly crushed cardamom seeds.
Merlot salt or sea salt
Melt all but a few pieces of the chocolate over a double boiler until it’s just melted. If you have a thermometer, it should be 113°F. Remove it from the heat and continuously stir to cool down as you add the remaining pieces of chocolate, rose essence, and saffron. Cool it down to 80°F and then briefly reheat back to 83°F. (This heating/cooling process tempers the chocolate so the finished bark is shiny and hard.) Stir in the nuts and cardamom. Pour and spread the mixture over a parchment covered baking sheet to a 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt. Let it cool until hardened and cut into pieces. If you must refrigerate for it to harden then wait until it comes back to room temperature to cut it so that the pieces are neat and don’t fracture.
* Please note, rose esssence is not the same as rose water.