Do you have a beloved seasonal foodstuff you look forward to rediscovering every December? Some eagerly anticipate the return of Caramel Brulee Lattes and Cranberry Bliss Bars to Starbucks, others count the days until boxes of Candy Cane Joe Joes arrive at Trader Joe’s. A fabulous friend of mine looks forward to getting another item from Trader Joe’s: their Eggnog Almonds. Alas, she found them to be sold out on a recent visit. Being me, I thought I would see if I could surprise her with my own rough re-creation.
As it turns out, making smooth, uniform, individually coated almonds is way beyond my confectionery skill set, but I quickly figured out that the big blob of white chocolate and nuts would make a great bark instead. When I changed course, I roughly chopped THROUGH the blob (which I do not recommend, it was just my only option since it was already combined), spread it on a baking sheet and chilled it. Voila, eggnog bark. I do believe it will now be an annual Thing.
Note: next time I make a batch of this, I’ll probably try adding a teeny pinch of turmeric for color. Just enough to add a lightly golden hue, not enough to give it undertones of curry. If you beat me to it, let me know how it turns out!
EGGNOG ALMOND BARK
16 ounces white chocolate chips
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon rum flavor (or real rum)*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Set up a double boiler, or fashion your own with a metal mixing bowl set atop a medium saucepan. Add a few inches of water to the saucepan, making sure the level is low enough that the water won’t actually touch the mixing bowl/top half of the double boiler. Bring water to a boil. In the top half (or the mixing bowl), stir together white chocolate chips and a tablespoon of the heavy cream. Stir with increasing frequency as the chocolate begins to melt. Add more heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, as needed for smoothness and stirrability.
Once it’s juuuuuust about completely melted, remove from heat and whisk in rum, vanilla, and nutmeg, whisking until smooth. Stir in the chopped almonds. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the mixture out evenly, to about 1/4 inch thickness. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours. Cut into bars at jaunty angles (or break into jagged pieces, whatever your style may be).
Best shared with a friend!
*I might up it to a tablespoon if you do the real rum thing, since the flavor will be less concentrated. You can just reduce the heavy cream a bit.
Other creative barks around the web:
Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark from Endless Simmer
Buckeye Bark from Big Red Kitchen
Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark from Brown Eyed Baker
Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bark from Ezra Pound Cake
Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Bark from Elana’s Pantry
— posted by Anne