Mr. Hubbyman came home the night before…he was back from a week long business trip in Atlanta, Georgia. His two little miss loves had been missing him so bad that they almost sprang on him, on his way up the stairs to our door. Well, and his missus followed the girls too…but only till the door. While my heart jumped with joy to see him too, my body tried best to stand with patience. A quick hug, a couple glances and a grin was all S and I could steal amidst our girl’s ritualistic group hugs with Daddy, joyful screams and a good few minutes of “Daddy you know all that happened while you were gone?” detailing.
Today’s was Sunday morning and the girl’s extension of “Daddy’s homecoming”. The past week hasn’t been easy for us. While S was training teams, in day long meetings and working graveyard hours, I was down too exhausted working and playing Mom and Dad to two boisterous busy girls, the entire week. The girls were good to mommy, but missed S too much. It was so relieving for the bunch of us to be back together again. We spent a beautiful Sunday chatting, sleeping, and driving around the town…it felt lovely…perfect!
Since S had been eating out all of last week and since the girls and I adhered to the good healthy foods, it was time, we had some homemade treats. And though I wanted it special, I couldn’t imagine getting myself do anything elaborate in the kitchen. Today was meant to be a stress-free celebration after all! I had some left over packets of chocolate morsels from my baking stint last month. I added and mixed some rose syrup, dry rose petals, pistachios and cardamom…and ended with surprisingly delicious chocolate cluster barks. I had made sweets using dry rose petals, cardamom, and pistachios earlier…Remember those decadent Pistachio Rose and Coconut Laddus? But these chocolaty ones definitely turned out very scrumptious. I knew then, that this recipe needed to be on my blog, and I’ll have to bookmark it to remind myself and make often.
The 1st batch of chocolate bark was made, tasted, shared with two other families, and was all gone in no time. My phone gladly received messages laden with those happy emojis, thanking and informing that the kids as well as their parents had loved the sweet-delights. I was told that they found the flavors very refreshing, delicious and unlike what they’ve had in chocolates. Big-J spared no time in pointing out that mommy hasn’t been all fair to her, because I apparently forgot to save another portion of the chocolate bark for her.
So a hurried trip was made to the Stop and Shop in our neighborhood, two packets of white chocolate and a pack of milk chocolate morsels were bought, and I rushed home as it drizzled continuously. I did to the chocolates what I had done to them this morning. I melted some milk chocolate and spread them thin on a wax paper lined cookie sheet tray. Then I melted double the amount of white chocolate and folded in some chopped pistachios, pounded fresh cardamom seeds, crushed dried rose petals and a couple spoons full of “Rooh Afza”…and quickly poured it over the milk chocolate layer, and allowed it to cool in the refrigerator. Big-J and lil-J now have their own stock of the chocolate treats. And later this evening, I finally got to click a few pictures of the bark for my blog…I’ve also set up a reminder note for myself to replace these not-so-appealing night photography end-results with a set of better quality, pleasing pics.
Rooh Afza is an exotic traditional bright red non-alcoholic sweet syrup concentrate made out floral, fruit and herbal extracts. It has a very refreshing taste and is extremely fragrant… when mixed with water and ice cubes, it forms a rejuvenating summer drink. It is easily available at an Indian store. The milk chocolate base layer adds a new dimension to the bark and also acts as a layer to hold the slightly sticky white chocolate top (owing to the rose syrup).
The recipe is super easy…it takes only 40-45 minutes (10-15 minutes of prep and at least half hour refrigeration) to have these blessed treats on the table. Make it when you crave for a quick sweet to treat yourself or for those last minute guests who’re stepping in without a prior notice. Moreover, there isn’t any end to the substitutes/variations possible for this recipe. Tweak it as you like and it will still taste good. However, I insist you make the recipe below for all the floral fun, the warmth of cardamom and the nutty pistachio crunch! Be it the Rose Day, or Valentine’s, or Mother’s Day, or Spring time or the Holidays…or be it yet another sweet everyday…this recipe is easy, quick and is com-florally refreshing! These also make great gifts on festivals, birthdays and weddings…no doubt, you’ll fall in love with these…
Makes about 16 chocolate servings
- 0.5 cup packed or about 2 handful dried Rose petals + 2 tbsp extra for garnish
- About 25 pods of green cardamom, peeled and coarsely pounded (≈ 2.5 tsp crushed fresh green cardamom seeds)
- About 35 pistachio nuts, chopped (≈ 2.5 tbsp chopped pistachios)
- 4 tsp Rooh Afza — available at most Indian stores
- About 1.5 lbs (or 24 oz or 680 gm) premium quality White chocolate morsels (I used 2 packets of 12 oz morsels)
- About 0.7 lbs (or 11.5 oz or 330 gm) premium quality Dark or Milk, or semi-sweet or semi-bitter chocolate morsels (I used one 11.5 oz packet)
- Line a cookie sheet with wax-paper or parchment paper.
- Keep chopped pistachios, dry rose petals and crushed green cardamom seeds ready for use. I used a mortar and pestle to coarsely pound the cardamom.
- Pour Rooh Afza or the rose syrup into a smaller bowl and keep ready for use. This is because ingredients would be needed to be quickly mixed into the melted chocolate and poured on the lined sheet before they start solidifying.
- In a microwave safe bowl, place the dark or milk or semi-sweet or semi-bitter chocolate morsels. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Take out the bowl and using a spatula/spoon, give one quick mix/stir. Place in the microwave again and heat for another 30 seconds. 70-80% of the morsels should have been softened by now (if not, re-heat for another 10-15 seconds, but do not overheat — it burns/spoils the chocolate). Using the spatula, quickly mix the melted chocolate contents for a few seconds to melt in the remaining softened morsels till you get a smooth chocolate.
- Immediately pour the chocolate on the lined cookie sheet. Use a cake-frosting spatula to level and spread the chocolate melt into a rectangular layer. (You will not need to use the entire cookie sheet area.) I could roughly obtain a 11″x9″ chocolate rectangle.
- In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, place all the white chocolate morsels and heat at high for 40 seconds. Take out, give one quick mix with a spatula and re-heat the chocolate for another 40 seconds. One mix again and re-heat for 40 more seconds on high. By now, about 80% of the morsels should have melted (if not then heat for a couple more seconds. Do not overheat!). We’ve got about 1 minute now to mix the ingredients and pour on the cookie sheet, before the chocolate starts getting hard. Add the pistachios, crushed cardamom and 2 handfuls rose petals to the chocolate quickly and stir to mix for 2-3 seconds.
- Now pour all the rose syrup and quickly stir one or two times to fold it into the chocolate. The rose syrup doesn’t need to be uniformly mixed. The red-marble effect in fact looks best.
- Immediately pour the white chocolate mixture on top of the previous brown chocolate layer and spread or level using a frosting spatula.
- Sprinkle the extra rose petals on the chocolate top to garnish. Press down gently with your palm so the rose petals stick to the chocolate well.
- Refrigerate the chocolate bark for at least half hour.
- When hard and done, break the chocolate bark into shards using your hands or cut them into neat squares with a sharp knife.
- Refrigerate any left over in an airtight container or store the container in a cold place.
Substitutes and Variations: Substitute rose petals for any edible flowers. You may also replace the pistachios with other nuts of your choice (like almond slivers or hazelnut chips). To pep up the visual appeal, you could drizzle some dark or milk chocolate on the white chocolate top! If you love white chocolate too much, you could also skip the base brown chocolate layer altogether…in this case however, the white chocolate base could be a little sticky to touch because of the rose syrup in it. You may also add dome dry desiccated or fresh grated coconut…it sure is very compatible with rose and cardamoms!