Our third and final homemade holiday chocolate bark this week is our Roasted White Chocolate Bark with Cherries and Pistachios. This one has a bit more to it because we are roasting the chocolate, but it is still simple and the extra effort is paid off in spades with caramelized, rich flavor set off by salty pistachio crunch and sweet-tart dried cherries.
You start this one by roasting your white chocolate in a low oven. It will melt and then slowly brown your white chocolate, bringing out rich, deep notes of caramel. It’s the perfect way to enhance white chocolate, which can be cloyingly sweet. So, if you are like me and typically avoid white chocolate, try this technique and fall in love with all the flavor unlocked by roasting!
At first, the chocolate will melt. This happens pretty quickly. Keep a very close eye on it the entire time it’s in the oven because it can burn quickly and needs to be stirred every 5 minutes to keep the color even. Altogether, it will take around 30 minutes to develop a nice golden color and the wonderful flavor we’re looking for.
After as little as 10 minutes, it will go from smoothly melted to rough and a little grainy. Then it will get a bit stiff and you will be convinced that you messed it up. But you didn’t do anything wrong! Just keep going. Stir and fold it as best you can and watch closely for signs of burning. If it starts to get crumbly and fall apart even after folding/stirring/turning it, take it out of the oven and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Cocoa Percentage Matters – A Lot!
White chocolate can be a bit tricky to choose. A lot of the so-called white confections out there aren’t really chocolate because they contain no cocoa butter. To roast white chocolate, you have to have at least 30% cocoa butter, which should be indicated on the package. If it’s not, that’s not a chocolate you want to choose for this technique.
Like with other chocolates, you can find really nice versions with a high percentage of cocoa butter at World Wide Chocolate online. But stores will carry it, too. Check in the solid bars and read the package details carefully.
I’ve been using my current easy-to-find and inexpensive chocolate by Choceur from Aldi. It has only 28% cocoa butter but has worked for me, though it doesn’t get the nice, deep golden color before getting stiff and crumbly.
Mix It All Together
While the chocolate is in the oven, chop your pistachios and cherries. After the chocolate is finished, scoop it into a small bowl and stir to smooth it out as much as possible. It’s okay if it seems a little grainy or clumpy.
Set aside 1-2 tablespoons of the pistachios and cherries, then mix the rest into your roasted chocolate before spreading it out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle the reserved portion of the mix-ins over the top for a beautiful, festive finish. Allow this to set until firm, then cut or break up into pieces.
You Can Skip Roasting
If you are short of time, or can’t find a white chocolate with a high enough cocoa butter percentage, or if you just prefer it, you can skip the roasting and melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until most (but not all) of it is melted. Stir to melt the remaining pieces, then add all but 1-2 tablespoons of your pistachios and cherries. Finish by spreading it out on your prepared sheet pan and sprinkling it with your reserved mix-ins.
A Trio of Chocolate Barks
Make all three of our bark recipes and share them with friends and family this weekend and next. Or choose your favorite. You really can’t go wrong with any of them!
Nutty Caramel Milk Chocolate Bark, Strawberry Almond Dark Chocolate Bark, and this Roasted White Chocolate Bark with Cherries and Pistachios – three solid candy offerings that are quick and easy to make. Perfect!
Roasted White Chocolate with Cherries and Pistachios
- 8 ounces white chocolate with at least 30% cocoa butter
- 3/4 cup roasted pistachios chopped
- 3/4 cup dried cherries chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- Break the white chocolate into pieces and place in an even layer on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Place into your preheated oven and stir every five minutes until the chocolate is golden. It will melt fairly quickly, then start to look grainy and lumpy as it caramelizes. Just keep stirring and watch carefully for that golden color, checking it often to make sure it doesn’t burn. This should take around 30 minutes altogether.
- If your chocolate begins to firm up completely, so that it is difficult to stir and spread out again, remove it from the oven even if it has not yet turned golden brown. This happens when you have a lower cocoa butter content. With even a little roasting, you still get the amazing flavor depth! If the chocolate does crumble on you or become too firm to spread, don’t throw it away! It is delicious and can be used as a topping or mix-in for cookies or bark.
- While the chocolate is in the oven, combine the pistachios and cherries in a small bowl. Set aside a small portion (1-2 tablespoons).
- When the chocolate is golden in color, scoop it into a bowl and stir to smooth it out a little bit. Stir in the pistachios and cherries (all but the reserved portion).
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then spread the chocolate mixture onto it in a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the reserved portion of pistachios and cherries, and the sea salt, over the top and let it set until firm before carefully cutting it into even pieces. If you prefer, you can simply break the bark apart by hand for more uneven pieces.
- Store in a sealed container at cool room temperature for up to two weeks.
- You can make the Roasted White Chocolate Bark without roasting the white chocolate. It will taste a bit sweeter without the caramelization that the roasting brings, but will still be delicious. Simply place the white chocolate pieces in a glass bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until it is not quite melted. Stir to melt the remaining chocolate. Add in all but 1-2 tablespoons of the pistachios and cherries, then spread on your parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining mix-ins and the sea salt. Allow to set, then break or cut into pieces.
- You cannot roast a white chocolate that contains very little or no cocoa butter. It just won’t behave the same in the oven, so stick with the higher-quality white chocolates for roasting. If you can’t find any, or prefer a brand with less or no cocoa butter, use it without roasting by following the alternate instructions in the previous note.