Chocolate Bark

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½ to 1 pound block of Valrhona or Callebaut chocolate, 60 to 70 percent cacao
Any of the following combinations of toppings:
Maldon sea salt
Black pepper
Instant espresso coffee
Chopped walnuts
Chopped almonds
Chopped peanuts
Sunflower seeds
Currants
Raisins
Cracked candy cane

Roughly chop the chocolate block into large chunks, and put them into the top of a double boiler or a large Pyrex bowl. If you’re not using a double boiler, place the bowl in a small to medium saucepan, so that the bowl can rest on the sides of the pan without touching the bottom. Put about an inch of water in the saucepan, making sure the water doesn’t come up high enough to touch the bottom of the Pyrex bowl. Put the entire assembly on low heat, and allow the water to come to a boil. Turn off the heat, and let the chocolate sit, steaming over the warm water bath, for a full 5 minutes and stir. If it’s not smoothly melted, turn the heat on low for another minute or 2. You want to melt the chocolate gently.

When you have smooth melted chocolate, pour it out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the melted chocolate with a spatula until it is about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Allow it to set for 10 minutes before adding various toppings of your choice. Allow it to set completely, up to 4 hours, before cracking the bark into shards and boxing it up. Store at room temperature.

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