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By Mari Levine
Iâ€™ve run the gamut of Valentineâ€™s Day experiences. And while Iâ€™m rather indifferent to the general idea of the holiday, no celebration Iâ€™ve had as an adult has ever matched the ones from when I was a kid. I remember the excitement of picking out the perfect cards (in my case, always Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed), choosing which type of candy to attach to them, and then matching the message on the card to each of my classmatesâ€™ personalities.
This year, I was thinking about the adult equivalent of those childhood valentines. Now, instead of a classroom, most of us spend our days in an office. Instead of classmates, we have coworkers. And while Iâ€™m all for injecting a bit of youthful fun into the workplace, I draw the line at giving my colleagues cartoon cards that call them â€śdudetteâ€ť and asking them to be my â€śmondo Valentine.â€ť (Thatâ€™s Ninja Turtle speak for â€śI like you.â€ť) I wanted to bring back the Valentineâ€™s Day tradition of bringing in treats for everyone, but this year I didnâ€™t have time to make any quintessential adult sweets, such as homemade truffles or caramels.
Enter chocolate bark. This sweet can get pigeonholed as a December treat, but itâ€™s easy to make (only four ingredients!), attractive to wrap and appealing to eat all year round. My coworkers will be noshing on this version, with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and coconut, but the toppings are easy to change based on your recipientsâ€™ tastes.
Chocolate Bark with Pepitas and Coconut
Makes eight 1-ounce portions
1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Stirring frequently, toast coconut in small skillet over medium heat. Once coconut turns the color of straw, transfer to small bowl to cool.
3. Add chocolate to medium, heatproof bowl and set over pot of simmering water. (Do not let water touch bottom of bowl.) Stirring frequently, heat chocolate until fully melted. Quickly pour onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and tilt pan until distributed evenly, but not covering entire pan. (Otherwise your bark will be too thin.)
4. Sprinkle coconut, pepitas and salt, to taste, evenly over chocolate. Transfer to refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and break into 1-ounce portions.
Reprinted with permission from JewishBoston.com. Chosen Eats appears every Thursday on JewishBoston.com.