Monday, December 5, 2011

Marcona Almond Bark with Blood Orange and Sea Salt

If you have never tried Marcona almonds before then you have not truly ever experienced life. Yeah, I said it! Nowadays you can find them readily at specialty food stores but they come with a hefty price. I mean that literally because they run about $15 a pound. Then again, time and time over I have made pesto with pine nuts and those suckers are $23/lb in the bulk section of my grocery store.
But back to Marcona's!
These almonds are top nut in my opinion. They are a sweeter variety from Spain that are skinned then DEEP FRIED and heavily salted. They taste as good as they sound. Because of  their sweet/salty taste, they pair amazingly with desserts and even better with chocolate in particular.

This bark reminds me of those chocolate oranges sold during the holidays but with far better flavor and depth. If you can't find blood oranges, substitute tangerines or satsuma's.

Marcona Almond Bark
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tbl water
1 tbl earth balance vegan butter
1 1/2 cups fried marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
1 lb 65% dark chocolate
zest of 1/2 blood orange
fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes until the sugar caramelizes into a dark amber. Swirl the pot to move the sugar around, do not stir.
Remove from heat and add in the butter. Swirl to melt then add in the almonds. Pour out onto the baking sheet in a thin layer and let cool to firm up. Break into pieces and set 1/4th of the candied almonds aside.
Line your baking sheet with new parchment paper.
Microwave the chocolate, 30 seconds at a time for 1/2-2 minutes. Stir for 20 seconds in between. Once the chocolate has melted 80% stop heating and stir to allow the residual heat of the chocolate melt any remaining. Add the zest and 3/4ths of the almonds.
Pour onto a baking sheet and top with remaining almonds and a sprinkling of sea salt. Chill for 1 hour or until set and break apart into pieces.

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