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First of the Holiday Gift Recipes – Chocolate (white and dark) with toasted Pecans and Dried Cherries

White and Dark Chocolate Bark with Pecans and Dried Cherries
Here is the first and simplest of my holiday treats (and one of my dad’s favorites) and it is a good one to start with because it can be made well in advance and takes only three ingredients.  I always make a double batch (about 5 1/2 lbs) because I like to make one regular chocolate and one white chocolate and that’s what the pictures show, but the recipe is for a single batch.  Feel free to substitute whatever type of nuts and dried fruit you prefer, I’ve done it with all kinds and it is always great.
Ingredients for Chocolate Pecan Dried Cherry Bark
2.5 lbs of chocolate (white, dark or milk) as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the Ghirardelli brand because it melts and hardens perfectly and still tastes great.  Otherwise, choose a good chocolate, not a “candy” coating or chips as they will not taste as good.
1/4 lb pecans
1/4 lb dried cherries
Pecans ready to toast
Start by spreading the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Toast in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Check them often because they will burn easily.
Pecans Toasted
While the pecans are toasting, chop the dried cherries.
Chopped Dried Cherries
Place the dried cherries and cooled toasted pecans on a large sheet of waxed paper or foil.
Toasted Pecans and Dried Cherries
Now melt the chocolate.  Chop into smaller pieces and place in a microwave proof cup or bowl with a spout and heat for 1 minute, stir then heat again in 15 second intervals just until the chocolate melts.  If you are using regular chocolate, leave out a small amount and then add it after the rest has melted and stir it in until it melts.  That will keep the chocolate nice and shiny.
Melted Chocolate
Now the fun part!  Pour the chocolate over the nuts and fruit, spreading evenly with a spatula if necessary.
Pouring the chocolate
White Chocolate poured
When the chocolate hardens, break it into pieces and put on a plate or package for gifts.
Hardened and ready to break apart
Bark in a gift package

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