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Simple, versatile chocolate bark

By Alison Ladman

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12 2013 8:20 p.m. MST

In this image taken on Jan. 21, 2013, four variations of Valentine's Day chocolate bark are shown in Concord, N.H. You can top the chocolate with whatever your love loves.(AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Associated Press

Looking for an easy way to impress this Valentine's Day? Consider a simple — but still sensational — chocolate bark.

As treats go, it doesn't get much easier than this. And the best part is that there are infinite ways to personalize the bark. You know, so that you can show that you really do listen to your significant other and care enough to cater to his or her tastes.

You start with a pound of chocolate. It can be white, milk or dark. Doesn't matter. Then you add your toppings. Whatever your topping choices, look for contrasts — something crunchy, something tangy, something salty.

Of course, because it is the star of the show, be sure to use a good quality chocolate.

VALENTINE'S DAY BARK

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 12

1 pound dark, milk or white chocolate

Start by lining a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Have all your bark toppings ready before melting the chocolate.

Chop your chocolate into small bits. Transfer the chocolate to a large glass measuring cup or bowl, then heat in the microwave on medium, stopping to stir every 20 to 30 seconds, until melted.

Pour the chocolate onto the prepared pan, then tap the pan on the counter to level the melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle your choice of toppings over the surface of the chocolate. Allow to cool completely and set up, then break into pieces.

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS:

Chopped dried cherries, shelled pistachios, chopped chocolate wafer cookies, large flake sea salt

Honey roasted peanuts, chopped extra-crispy cooked bacon, ground black pepper

Crushed toffee pieces, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped dried apricots

Chopped candied ginger, chopped macadamia nuts, toasted coconut

Broken salted pretzel sticks, cut up mini marshmallows, caramel popcorn

Alison Ladman is a recipe developer for the AP. Twitter: CrustAndCrumbCo

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