16 December, 2011

Spicy Sweet (Recipe: Chai Spiced Pistachio Bark)

Truth be told, I had my sister-in-law in mind when I made this for the first time. She loves milk chocolate and can appreciate the heady spices of the Chai Spice mix. Of course, with her living in another city I wasn't able to share any with her. I'm pretty sure she wasn't thrilled with me for that.

The Chai Spice mix is intoxicating blend is warm, spicy, and just a little bit different from the typical winter spice dominated by cinnamon. The addition of pepper, cardamom, and ginger bring a little heat and change the taste. Use this spice mix in hot cocoa, chocolate cake, muffins, banana bread, or granola. Substitute it for the spices in pumpkin or apple pie. Or use it in the chocolate bark below.

Chai Spice Mix

2 tbsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp ground ginger

Mix all spices together in a small bowl.

I adore the mix of chai spices and pistachios, using it to great effect in my favourite granola. You could use any other nut in this bark, or leave it out entirely if you need to. Add some crystallized ginger or dried fruit if you are making it nut free. I also adore making this with my kids because I put them to work shelling the pistachios. Of course, it takes twice as long because they gobble up pistachios like candy.

A little bit of heat and spice combined with the richness of the chocolate is perfect in a season blinded by sweetness. You can make this with dark, bittersweet, or milk chocolate. Buy the best quality chocolate you can afford.

Chai Spiced Chocolate Bark

16 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 tsp Chai Spice Mix (recipe above)
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Line a rimmed cookie sheet or baking pan with parchment paper.

Set the chocolate in a medium bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the Chai Spices and stir frequently as the chocolate melts. As soon as the chocolate in fully melted remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring for 2 minutes as it cools. This isn't a perfect way to temper the chocolate, but it will help set it up to be somewhat firm when at room temperature.

After 2 minutes of stirring off the heat pour into your prepared pan and spread. Do not spread too thin, aim for roughly 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch. It will not reach the edges of the pan. Sprinkle on the pistachios. Place in the fridge to cool completely for an hour or more.

Once cool and hardened break into large chunks. Store in the fridge or a cool place.

PS The other cookie in that picture is this Peppermint Shortbread.


Your sis-in-law said...

Yum and honoured to be your inspiration!

heartsease54 said...

Royal Mail. I'm sure they deliver.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, water from the bain-marie got into the chocolate -- and it all went terribly wrong. Still, at least the grainy mess smells nice. Thanks for the inspiration. Like with quilting, practice makes... for some fun experiments. Thanks for the inspiration! JJ

Unknown said...

:) = me

Jen said...

Tried it. AWESOME!