Nov 27, 2011

The Tale of Two Desserts

While I pondered making more traditional sweets for my family's Thanksgiving meal, I couldn't stop thinking about something unusual and chocolatey.  I have a healthy collection of cookbooks and spent a few hours leafing through a whole host of delicious dessert recipes before settling on two that made the cut.  Of the many cookbooks that I own, one of my favorite authors is Ina Garten of Barefoot Contesssa fame.  Her dishes are always so homey and made from very basic ingredients which I truly appreciate. 

The first holiday dessert that Miranda and I baked was a simple and fragrant apple crisp from Garten's Back to Basics Cookbook.  5 pounds of apples goes a long way and most of the ingredients are typically found in a well-stocked pantry.

Apple Crisp

While the apple crisp was fun to make, it was the French Bark from Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties that Miranda and I really loved creating.  Made with a combination of good-quality semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolates, the bark came out smooth, not-too-sweet, and delicious.

French Bark

As Garten explains, what makes this a French bark rather than an American one is that the candied/dried fruits and nuts are layered on top of the bark instead of mixed into the chocolate.  We put a more varied combination on one half and simply Crasins and almonds on the other.

Both desserts were a hit but the dessert table wasn't complete without my sister Kathy's fantastic pumpkin roll and pumpkin pie, my niece Kristina's beautiful blueberry pie, and my other niece Nicole's sugar cookies.  Heavens knows how we had room for these desserts, but don't worry ...  we did!

Xavier, Miranda, Nicole, and Kristina


  1. The chocolate bark looks yummy.

  2. I have Back to Basics too, and I've been wanting to make the French bark! Thanks for reminding me! Everything looks delish, but I wish I had some of that blueberry pie!

  3. I'm up for leftovers, Evelyn.
    Yum ! ! !

  4. Both look like great desserts! Yummy. I also love the Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes always work out for me.

  5. What a feast! I want to rush off to the kitchen and do baking now!