Hazelnut-Apricot Chocolate Bark
Chocolate bark is a good way to try your hand at tempering, the technique of heating and cooling chocolate so that it solidifies quickly and remains firm and shiny. A simplified version of tempering involves melting two-thirds of the chocolate, then cooling it by adding the remaining one-third and stirring until smooth. For best results, use a candy or instant-read thermometer to check chocolate temperature.
1. Place apricots on double layer of paper towels. Top with double layer of paper towels, and press to remove moisture. Set aside. Line rimmed baking sheet with silicone baking mat or wax paper, and have large spatula ready.
2. Heat 2/3 lb. chocolate in double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until chocolate has melted and is no warmer than 105°–110°F (41°–43°C). (Check with candy thermometer.) Remove top of double boiler from heat.
3. Stir remaining 1/3 lb. chocolate into melted chocolate, and continue stirring until chocolate cools to 88°–90°F (31°–32°C).
4. Spread melted chocolate in 1/4-inch layer on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and apricots. Cool until firm and shiny. Break into pieces.