seeded toffee bark

seeded toffee bark on
seeded toffee bark on

Hello, lovely people!

Despite my careful planning, I have about a gazillion things to do before we leave town for the holidays. (How does that always happen?) But I wanted to leave you with one more homemade holiday gift idea before I jump on my plane!

seeded toffee bark on

If you read last year’s holiday post, you know I’m a huge fan of giving chocolate bark. It’s easy, beautiful and can be topped with almost anything you have floating around in your cupboards: chopped peppermints, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, candied citrus zest, crushed cookies. You name it.

This year’s bark is a little more involved since it calls for a base of buttery toffee. Don’t be daunted though--it’s not hard at all as long as you have a heavy-bottomed pot and a good thermometer. If you want to get fancy, you can temper the chocolate. Or not. The good news is you top this bark with so many crunchy toasted seeds, it's pretty hard to tell if the chocolate is tempered or not. (Win!)

seeded toffee bark on
seeded toffee bark on

I’ll be writing to you next from the other side of the Atlantic. Until then, I wish you all a Merry and Bright Holiday!



Seeded Toffe Bark

  • Vegetable oil or butter for the pan
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I like 72% Guittard Onyx wafers)
  • ½ cup pepitas (raw hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (I like Maldon)
  • Special Equipment: Instant-read thermometer

*Note: Tempering the chocolate keeps it shiny and gives it a nice snap when you break it. If you decide to temper, the method described below (based on Alice Medrich’s technique) is the easiest I’ve found. A good thermometer makes tempering (and all candy-making) a lot easier. Lots of people use a classic candy thermometer, but I prefer something like this because it's more versatile. If price is not an issue, I think this Thermapen is the best thermometer you can buy.

seeded toffee bark on
seeded toffee bark on

Brush a large rimmed sheet pan very lightly with oil or rub very lightly with butter. Combine the ½ cup butter, granulated and brown sugars, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of water in a large heavy saucepan fitted with a thermometer. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the thermometer registers 300° (the toffee should be a deep golden brown), 7–9 minutes.

Remove the toffee from heat and carefully stir in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over the toffee and stir just until incorporated (be careful not to overmix). Quickly scrape the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan and tilt from side to side to spread mixture slightly. Do not touch the underside of the pan as it will be very hot. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. Wash and dry the thermometer.

In a small, dry frying pan over medium-low heat, gently toast the pepitas just until fragrant and beginning to pop and brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside to cool. If your  white sesame seeds are raw, add them to the same pan and toast until light golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside to cool. 

When your toffee is completely cool, prepare your chocolate. Roughly chop 4 oz. of the chocolate. Leave 1 oz. in large pieces and set aside. Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water and heat over medium until just under the simmer. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low to keep the water just under a simmer. Place the 4 oz. of roughly chopped chocolate in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl and set over the warm water. Use a flexible spatula to stir until ¾ of the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until all of the chocolate has melted, 1-2 minutes. If all the chocolate has not melted, place the bowl briefly over the warm water and stir. 

Use the instant-read thermometer to take the temperature of the chocolate. If it is over 100°F, let it cool to about 100°F. Add the reserved 1 oz. large pieces of chocolate and stir until the temperature reaches 90°F. 

Test to see if the chocolate is tempered by drizzling a little on the blade of a knife and setting aside in a cool place. If the drizzle starts to set within 3 minutes, without streaks or mottling, it is tempered and ready to use. If it still looks wet after 3 minutes, stir the chocolate and chunks for a few minutes more and test again. When the chocolate is tempered, remove the unmelted chunks and set aside for later use.

Pour the melted chocolate over the toffee and spread evenly with an offset or flexible spatula. Scatter the seeds and cacao nibs over the top, then sprinkle with the salt. Set aside until the chocolate is firm, at least 2 hours. 

Lift the bark from the sheet pan with a thin metal spatula then break into large shards.

Makes 2 dozen 2- to 3-inch pieces.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

seeded toffee bark on

matcha white chocolate bark with coconut and raspberries

matcha white chocolate bark //

I’ve got big news this week. Beau and I are buying a house!!!!!!!!!

Those of you who have purchased houses before probably know how nerve-racking this process is. I had no inkling of the mountain of paperwork buying a house entails, not to mention the nail-biting stress induced by waiting to see if your bid is accepted. And then there’s that whole forking over a huge pile of money part, too. 

matcha white chocolate bark //

But, home-ownership! How exciting is that? I can barely sleep at night, I’m so jazzed to start painting and refinishing and laying tile. And my index finger is practically paralyzed from all the decor-related pinning I’ve been doing. 

All this stress and excitement has left me more than a little behind on my Christmas preparations, however. As in I have done precisely nothing to prepare for the holidays. I haven’t even played any sappy Christmas music, which is my favorite way to kick off the season.

But thanks to this recipe for Matcha White Chocolate Bark with Coconut and Raspberries, I will at the very least have some pretty homemade treats to give. 

This bark is inspired by a green tea bar made by the L.A.-based chocolate company, Compartés. The recent appearance of many excellent white chocolates on the market had already made me a white chocolate convert. But the sweet, grassy flavor and pleasant bitterness of matcha powder against the silky sweetness of white chocolate made me consider it in a whole new, more sophisticated, light. 

One of my go-to gifts for the holidays is chocolate bark. It’s stupendously easy to make and the possible flavor combinations are limitless. This bark is my favorite to date though. I’m obsessed with the green tea/white chocolate combination. The raspberries provide contrast to the earthiness of the tea and the sweetness of the chocolate. And the coconut gives the whole thing crunch. 

matcha white chocolate bark //
matcha white chocolate bark //

I’m feeling pretty nice about the whole Christmas color palette, too. And did I mention this gorgeous confection only takes about 15 minutes to make? 

So if you’re looking for a last-minute homemade holiday gift or just a little something different to slip in someone’s stocking, I suggest you get acquainted with this Matcha White Chocolate Bark. 

I’ve made two batches today, which might be the extent of my holiday “baking” this year. But I’m cool with it. Especially if it means decking the halls of our own little bungalow come Christmas 2016.


P.S. If you're looking for other homemade holiday gift ideas, here are a few more recipes you might like:

I am obsessed with the green tea/white chocolate flavor combination! And this beautiful bark comes together in about 15 minutes. Hello last-minute homemade holiday gift!

Matcha White Chocolate Bark with Coconut and Raspberries

  • 1 lb. high quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons culinary grade matcha powder
  • ½ cup freeze-dried raspberries, lightly crushed
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened, shaved coconut

*Notes: I used Green & Black's organic white chocolate for this bark but any high-quality white chocolate will work.

- Trader Joe's and Whole Foods both carry excellent freeze-dried raspberries.

- Unsweetened coconut is important since white chocolate is generally quite sweet. Using sweetened coconut would, in my opinion, push this bark into cloying territory.

- The chocolate is gently heated to between 100 – 110° F in order to keep the temper of the chocolate. Reserving 1/4 of the chocolate to stir in will cool it down more quickly and also help keep it in temper. Once your chocolate it is out of temper it gets a whitish sort of "bloom" more quickly and will lose some of it's snap. Of course, it isn't strictly necessary to try to keep your chocolate in temper. For a slightly less fussy version, you can simply heat it all until melted and then proceed with the recipe. This option works better if you or the recipients of your bark are going to be eating it within a 2-4 days.

matcha white chocolate bark //

Heat a small saucepan with one inch of water over high heat until the water barely comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain this bare simmer. Place a large metal bowl over the saucepan of water and add ¾ of the chopped chocolate. Take care not to let any water or steam touch the chocolate or it can seize

Cook, stirring often until the chocolate has melted and reads between 100 – 110° F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the reserved chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted. Sift the matcha over the bowl to make sure there are no lumps and stir until the streaks disappear and the chocolate is uniform in color.

Stir half the raspberries and half the coconut into the melted chocolate then pour onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Spread the melted chocolate to a roughly 10x10-inch square then sprinkle the rest of the raspberries and coconut over the top. Gently press the toppings into the chocolate to make sure they stick.

Set the bark aside to cool for 2 hours at room temperature or 20 minutes in the fridge before slicing into 16 pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 16 pieces.