Let’s talk gifts.
As in, ’tis the season.
As in, I like receiving them.
As in, giving them makes me nervous.
When it comes to gift-giving, I generally like to keep it homemade. Because, the fact of the matter is, whether you know someone well or you’re just keeping it acquaintance-like, homemade gifts show thought.
And isn’t thought what it’s all about?
I think so. (See? I just shared a thought with you.)
For my part, I really love receiving homemade gifts: the effort, the thought, the craftiness – I feel like the giver is sharing a little bit of him/herself with me.
In a good way.
I don’t want your nail clippings. I don’t need you to clean out your hairbrush. I just want to know more about you and how your life is going. Because I think you’re cool and maybe we could end up friends.
So I made this Tequila Sunrise Chocolate Holiday Bark for someone who I think is cool.
I didn’t clean out my hairbrush. Nope.
I kept it unawkward with some simple sweets in the hopes that maybe we’ll end up friends.
And now the recipient of this bark knows about me:
1. That my favorite song by the Eagles is ‘Tequila Sunrise’;
2. That I generally prefer to consume fruit after it has been soaked in tequila and dipped in chocolate;
3. That I enjoy the process of making candy – it helps me to go to my Zen place; and
4. That I like pretty food, especially rainbow shades of boozy dried fruit.
This is a fun and absolutely simple bark to make – it’s festive, tastes lovely and is easy, easy, EASY.
If tequila isn’t your thing, soak the fruit in apple juice! Just make sure to soak it because it really helps to sweeten and plump the dried fruit.
And you can vary the fruit to suit your own palate… dried blueberries! dried figs! dried mangos! Get it done!
That’s right: give a homemade gift, hang on to your nail clippings, and make a new friend.
Tequila Sunrise Chocolate Bark
3- 11 oz. bags of white chocolate (Please note that I used 11 ounce bags of Ghirardelli White Chocolate chips here. You can easily substitute solid chunks of white chocolate, or another brand of white chocolate chips. You just need 33-36 ounces of white chocolate.)
1/2 c. pineapple, dried, sweetened, chunked
1/2 c. apricots, dried
1/2 c. cranberries, dried, sweetened
1/2 c. cherries, dried, sweetened
tequila reposado (for soaking)
Chop the large pieces of fruit (like the apricots and pineapple pieces) roughly. If you’re trying to create a ‘rainbow’ effect in the finished bark like I did, you’ll just want to be sure to keep your chopped fruit separate. Soak the fruit (again, keeping the varieties separate if you prefer) in just enough tequila to cover. Regarding soaking times, this really depends on how much of a party you’re planning for yourself or your gift recipient. I opted for approximately two hours of soaking time, but you could soak overnight if you’re hoping for a real barnburner. Just be sure to save your soaking tequila for another party later.
Once the fruit has soaked, remove it from the soaking liquid and use your fingers to lightly wring the pieces out. Pat them dry with a clean paper towel and set aside.
As soon as the fruit is set and you’re ready to complete the bark, prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet by lining the bottom with parchment. Set aside.
Place two thirds of the white chocolate in a double boiler and heat over simmering water, stirring regularly. Once the chocolate has melted, carefully remove it from heat and stir in the final third of chocolate, continuing to stir until all of the solid chocolate is melted. Working quickly but carefully, pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared pan and tilt the pan to get an even coating. As soon as the pan is evenly coated, sprinkle the fruit in rows over top. If you’re working with particularly small pieces of fruit, it may be necessary to lightly press the fruit into the melted chocolate, just to be sure it adheres and stays in place.
Allow the bark to set before snapping into pieces. Store in an airtight container before serving or gifting.
YIELD: 2-3 pounds of chocolate bark