Last night I made a "test batch" of the holiday bark that I've made the past couple years. I want to give some away but I also want to eat it every day this coming week. Just a little bit here and there -after lunch, during rest time, (Naomi asks me what I'm eating, "nuts" is my reply.) and most importantly when Eric is with the girls during bedtime routine, Abel is somewhere and I'm in the kitchen gobbling down whatever I've told them they can't have. This is when being an adult really pays off -overeating and stuff. Because like the girls I've been staging an oatmeal protest at breakfast, much to Eric's dismay. And unlike them I can get away with it. So I make up for lost time in the kitchen when I should be helping but instead I'm standing by the sink pretending to wash dishes. And now that I have a trusty candy thermometer, I finally cook the sugar and butter and honey long enough where it turns out like a brittle.
Salted Honey and Chocolate Bark
12oz. saltine or Ritz crackers
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
6oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried tart cherries or sweetened dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. coffee beans, crushed
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
2 tbsp. roasted cacao nibs
2 tsp. flaky sea salt (use less if you have only kosher)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using your hands coarsely crumble crackers onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast until golden brown about 8 minutes. Let crackers cool.
Meanwhile, heat sugar, honey, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally, until butter is melted. Fit saucepan with thermometer and whisking with frequency bring to 300 degrees, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture with bubble vigorously). Quickly pour mixture over crackers, spreading to coat evenly. Let cool completely.
Drizzle chocolate over cooled crackers; immediately top with cherries, coffee beans, hazelnuts, and cacao nibs and sprinkle with salt. At this point I gently press it all down to help it stick together, but you don't have to. Chill until hardened. Break bark into pieces. It can be made 3 days in advance. And it also keeps really well in the freezer.
*Bon Appetit December 2013