At this month's first Friday gathering, we kept things low key with grilled hot dogs (beefy and vegan-y), tons of condiments, mulled cider and autumnal beer, a salad, a slaw, some vegan pumpkin cookies that are almost as good as my grandma's recipe and - the big hit of the evening - spicy pepita-ginger chocolate bark. So many people commented on the bark that, after getting a surprise invitation to an amazing dinner party, I whipped some up to bring as a host & hostess gift.
Recipe: Spicy Pepita-Ginger Chocolate Bark
(inspired by this recipe at Chow)
serves plenty for a little dish at a party
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (cut into chunks)
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chips or broken up)
1/6 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne - or more if you like it really spicy
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Set up a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
Combine the chocolate in a small saucepan. Over low heat, stir until it melts and is smooth. If you're worried about burning the chocolate, using a double-boiler is a safer method.
Heat a tiny drizzle of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, adding the pumpkin seeds once the pan is hot. Cook, stirring often, until some of the seeds begin to toast. Add the cayenne, cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt.
Add the ginger and two-thirds of the pumpkin seeds to the chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spread the mixture on the parchment into a rectangle that is about 14 by 11 inches. Quickly add the last third of the pumpkin seeds to the top of the chocolate. Allow to cool for several hours and break into chunks.