Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark

It's the season where everyone is looking for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. It's all the more special if its something homemade, something that looks fabulous and at the same time requires so little effort. These bars are so easy to make and there is no baking involved!! It's just the thing to involve your kids in and they'd be so excited! Melt the best chocolate you can find and top it with your favorite fruits and nuts and pack them in cute little bags and you've got the perfect gift! And Chocolate does make one Smile!!

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark

12oz bittersweet/ semisweet/ milk chocolate
1/2 cup mixed dry fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots)
1/2 cup mixed nuts, roasted and chopped roughly (almonds, pistachios or any other nuts)

Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper, coming up the sides a little bit.
Take the chocolate in a bowl and place over a bowl of simmering water, making sure that the bottom does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and swirl the pan to cover the base completely or use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer.
Immediately sprinkle the dry fruits and nuts all over the melted chocolate and press lightly into the chocolate.
Keep aside in a cool and dry place until the chocolate sets.
Once set, cut or break into pieces and store in an airtight container for upto one week.

Sending this to Christmas Food Fair

Chocolate and Vanilla Melting Moments with Chocolate Truffle

Anushka's school closed for holidays last week and as always we had potlucks on the last days of school.  I made these cookies for one of them. They were so buttery and delicious and they literally melt in your mouth.

These snowy pillowy cookies are so apt for this season too.I can't believe that another year is coming to an end so soon, but I do love this time of the year. Love the reds and greens everywhere and the brightly lit trees. Carols playing everywhere and all the yummy treats!

I sandwiched the cookies with some chocolate truffle, but that is just optional. Adding the truffle makes them more of a dessert cookie but I loved them plain too. Recipe is adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly.

Melting Moments

Vanilla Cookies:
125g  butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vanilla custard powder or cornflour
icing sugar for sprinkling on the cookies

Chocolate Cookies:
125g butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup scant icing sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup cornflour
icing sugar for sprinkling on the cookies

Sift the flours together and the cocoa for the chocolate cookies.
Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Stir in the sifted flour/ flour cocoa mixture in two batches.
Take small portions of dough (I measured 10g of dough for each cookie) and roll into balls using slightly floured hands. Place about 2 inches aparton a cookies sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flatten slightly with a floured fork. Bake at 350F for about 15 mins. Let stand for 5 minutes and then lift onto wire racks to cool completely.
Sandwich the cookies with chocolate truffle, preserves or buttercream.
Makes about 25 sandwich cookies.

Chocolate Truffle

100g semi-sweet chocolate
75ml heavy cream
1 tbs butter, softened

Take the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream until you see bubbles at the edges of the pan. Pour the cream on the chocolate and add the butter. Let stand for a couple of minutes, then mix and stir well until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Sending this to Christmas Food Fair