December 7, 2011

Homemade Gift Week: Winnie’s Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts & Apricots {Tales from the Trenches}

Winnie Bark

Homemade Gift Week: Don’t forget to enter below to enter the Duda Farm Fresh Giveaway for a Meyer Lemons, a $25 Williams-Sonoma giftcard and a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer in Majestic Yellow. Entry rules below, click here for contest introduction.

This is the latest installment of my Tales from the Trenches Series. An ongoing series where friends and readers share their stories and recipes about the great food they fit into family life. We all have tips and tricks to share with each other: when we cook, what we cook and how we cook the delicious food we love to eat. If you are interested in contributing a story and recipe please feel free to contact me. Today my friend Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen is sharing an amazing recipe for her favorite homemade chocolate bark, a simple and delicious holiday gift.

When it comes to holiday presents, I am a big fan of giving (and receiving!) those that are homemade. I preserve lots of jams and fruit butters throughout the summer and fall, and I save them in my pantry to give to family and friends during the holiday season. I also make big batches of granola which I package up to give away.

Every year I also like to make a few different kinds of homemade candy. I love making (and eating) toffee, but it’s a little high maintenance, and really not something younger kids can help with. Chocolate bark, on the other hand, is super simple. It’s completely safe to make around little kids, and older ones can help, if they like. I made this recipe in just a couple of minutes the other night while my kids were doing their homework in the kitchen.


Chocolate barks are incredibly versatile. They’re great with lots of different nut and dried fruit combinations, and this particular one was created based on what I had in my cupboards: a small bag of hazelnuts and some dried apricots. I think dried cranberries or dried cherries would be nice in here, as well, and would provide more of a festive “pop” in terms of their color.

I added just a bit of cayenne to this bark because I love spicy treats, but you can feel free to leave it out (or add a little more). Don’t leave off the coarse salt, though-  I think it really enhances the flavor of the bark.

Many thanks to my current blogging sponsor: Red Mittens and her Chewy Gooey Monster Cookies

Rules for Homemade Gift Giveaway & KitchenAid mixer grand prize!:

1. Leave a comment sharing what your favorite homemade edible gift to give or receive.

2. Subscribe to The Naptime Chef newsletter (upper right hand corner) – I’ll check!

3. Become a fan of The Naptime Chef on Facebook

4. Visit Duda’s website and tell me what recipe you would like to try to make using meyer lemons (use the ‘Older Entries’ link at the bottom of the page to view even more recipes). Leave a comment telling me which recipe.

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9. Weekly winners will be announced on Sunday December 11th at 7:00am ET, Sunday December 18th at 7:00am ET, and Monday December 26th at 7:00am ET. The GRAND PRIZE drawing for the KitchenAid mixer will be announced on December 30th at 7:00opm.

10. All winners will be selected by Each week the contest for the Meyer Lemon Tote and $25 giftcard will start fresh. Entries from the previous week will not be considered. The grand prize drawing pool will include all entries from the start of the contest on December 5th at 7:00amET through December 29th at 9:00pm ET.

Disclosure: I received the same products the winner will receive. The items were generously donated by Duda Farm Fresh Foods but the opinions and recipe expressed are entirely my own.


Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts and Dried Apricots

inspired by Ancho Chili Cinnamon Chocolate Bark


12 oz. dark chocolate (or 1 package of dark chocolate chips), fair-trade, if possible
2/3 cup of skinned, chopped hazelnuts, toasted for 3-5 minutes in a 300 degree F oven (toast until fragrant and make sure they don’t burn), then allowed to cool
2/3 cup of chopped dried apricots, preferably unsulphured/unsweetened (dried cranberries or cherries would also be nice)
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (increase to 1 teaspoon if you’re adventurous)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top


1. Combine toasted nuts, chopped apricots, cayenne pepper, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix well.

2. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave oven for 30-second increments until just melted. Add the rest of the chocolate and stir until smooth.

3. Pour chocolate onto a baking pan lined with  parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (silpat). Use an offset spatula to smooth out the chocolate evenly (it probably won’t cover the whole pan and that’s fine).

4. Sprinkle the hazelnut/dried apricot mixture over the chocolate, then sprinkle everything with coarse sea salt.  Refrigerate until hardened, then break into pieces.

5. Store in an air-tight container and consume within a few days, or package up to give as gifts.

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26 Responses to “Homemade Gift Week: Winnie’s Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts & Apricots {Tales from the Trenches}”

  1. Liz the Chef says:

    I have been meaning to try a “bark” for gift-giving during the holidays – love this idea.

  2. The Good Taste Guide says:

    Though I adore candies, jams, or even granola as a holiday gift, I am always beyond happy when someone shares their favorite food with me.  My favorite gift (and favorite food)?  Chocolate Chip Cookies.

  3. guest says:

    I love the fancy hot chocolate packages made up for giving, the pretzels with a half melted Rolo and a pecan on them, or “reindeer noses” pretzels with a hershey kiss half melted and an M&M pressed into it. Also love to give the cookie mix in a jar 🙂

  4. Jenny says:

    I love to give homemade vanilla or cookies as gifts – sometimes spice rubs!  Great post.

  5. Jenny says:

    I liked the Naptime Chef on FB.

  6. Nancy Larma says:

    I like to give praline pecans as a gift…everyone loves them!

  7. Nancy Larma says:

    Nanny’s Lemon-Glazed Pound Cake looks amazing!  I love lemon pound cake and this recipe looks great!

  8. Nancy Larma says:

    I liked the Naptime Chef on Facebook.

  9. Nancy Larma says:

    I subscribed to The Naptime Chef newsletter!

  10. emilyhanhan says:

    I’m totally addicted to making and gifting homemade marshmallows – vanilla & smoked salt, meyer lemon, salted caramel, any flavor my brain can think of.

  11. Julie @BananasforBourbon says:

    I’m all about infused liqueurs right now.  Making a cranberry one right now!

  12. Julie @BananasforBourbon says:

    I like you on facebook!

  13. Julie @BananasforBourbon says:

    Love the sound of that Sparkling Meyer Citrus Tom Collin.  I’m not as boozy as I seem, I swear!

  14. Julie @BananasforBourbon says:

    I tweeted!

  15. Yvonne Davis says:

    Spinach and Herb Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette 🙂

  16. Yvonne Davis says:

    darn, I already clicked the like button and posted it.  I was trying to figure out if I could still link it.  🙁  sorry.

  17. Kim D. says:

    I like getting fresh back pumpkin bread from my friend.

  18. Kim D. says:

    I The Naptime Chef on Facebook.

  19. Kim D. says:

    I would like to try and make the Nanny’s Lemon-Glazed Pound Cake.

  20. […] Colada Truffles (also from Sweet Confections) at White on Rice Couple My Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe (a guest post) at The Naptime Chef Scottish Toffee from Liz the Chef /* Bookmark/Share var addthis_config = { […]

  21. Christine says:

    I would like to try to Savory Holiday Turkey Rub w/ Lemon & Herb…I think I could also use this for Whole Chickens throughout the year or a Turkey brest when its not the Holidays

  22. Elizabeth says:

    This looks delicious!!