I can’t take credit for this one. Like me, my sister Melissa is obsessed with all things tea related. For the longest time, she’s been telling me do a recipe on tea bark, and finally…here it is, just in time for Christmas gift giving!
There are so many awesome things I can say about this recipe. First and most importantly it’s EASY. As much as I love to cook and bake, once in a while it’s nice to bypass a large kitchen production. No baking or compulsive measuring here, you just need some good-quality chocolate and fragrant, lovely tea.
I learned in cooking school that the better the ingredients you use in a recipe, the fewer you need to use. This is such a wise culinary concept. So, when it comes to making Chocolate Tea Bark, quality chocolate and quality tea are all we need.
For the chocolate here, I’ve used a mix of semi-sweet (Guittard) and bittersweet (Scharffen Berger). Choose a chocolate with some depth to so that it can stand up to the strong flavors of tea in its raw form. You can also use a white chocolate to make this bark, as it will really bring out all the beautiful shades of color from your tea blend. Spread the melted chocolate out on the parchment as thin or as thick as you want. I happen to prefer a thinner bark because its delicate texture helps to make subtle tea flavors more noticeable. On the other hand, you will want a slightly thicker bark if you plan on shipping this to your friends.
And speaking of flavors, you want to use the freshest, most fragrant teas to make this confection. Knowing how great they taste and look, I have my own favorites teas for scattering atop this bark (please click on links above for info and sources).
Green or herbal teas work best here, as the earthy taste of unsteeped black tea may get lost in the flavors of darker chocolate. Chai teas, especially if they contain large pods of cardamom and whole cloves also won’t work well in this recipe.
Along the process of experimenting, I even came up with my own delicious herbal blend, which I will name “Purple & Pink.” My “Purple & Pink” blend is made of culinary-grade lavender ( I prefer Folgate lavender, for its mild taste and brilliant color) and fragrant rose bud tea.
The best tea to serve with tea bark? The very same tea of course! This way, you’ll be able to appreciate all the different layers of flavor in the tea you’ve chosen.
You can make these way before Christmas as they will store extremely well in an airtight container or bag at room temperature. The bark also ships very well as long as you use a piece of tissue paper in the food box you are placing them in to prevent the bark from breaking during shipping. Cut with a knife or broken apart with your fingers, tea bark makes a simple yet fancy holiday time confection that your loved ones will be so impressed with!
Chocolate Tea Bark
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
9.7-10 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger)
10 Tbsp of best quality fragrant, floral green or herbal loose leaf tea/tisane (use different teas if you want, just plan on at least 2 Tbsp of any given type of tea for each 1/2 cup of melted chocolate)
3 pieces of parchment paper- torn to 12″ each
1/2 cup measure
rubber or flat spatula
1.) On top bowl of double boiler, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with lightly simmering water (in bottom pan of double boiler). Gently melt the chips until they all have melted and become a thick liquid. Add bittersweet chocolate, 2 ounces at a time, allowing each of the 2 ounces to melt thoroughly before adding the next 2 ounces. Place the pieces of parchment on a large clean work surface.
2.) When all the chocolate has been melted and evenly mixed, use a 1/2 cup measure to scoop out a full measure of the melted chocolate and pour it on the upper half portion of a piece of parchment, making sure to not let it leak over the edge (two 1/2 cup measures of chocolate fit on one sheet of parchment). Smooth out the chocolate using a rubber spatula to an even, desirable thickness for your bark . I spread each 1/2 cup measure of chocolate to a 7″ x 10″ rectangle for a thin bark. From one full recipe, you will get about five 1/2 cup measures of bark.
3.) Sprinkle tea evenly over melted chocolate, about 2 Tbsp for every 1/2 cup of melted chocolate.
4.) Wait for 2 hours for the chocolate to set completely. When set, cut or break bark into 2-3″ pieces and enjoy!