Easy chocolate bark
This bark helps wean your kids off cheap, sugary chocolate bars and onto darker chocolate with less sugar. Little ones like making it because they get to do a lot of bashing and breaking up - and there's chocolate at the end of it. You can vary it and put whatever nuts or dried fruit you fancy in it (see below). For a grown-up version, add a little chopped up crystallised stem ginger. Perfect for the school run or great for you on the side of a coffee. Look for chocolate with 75% or more cocoa solids and no added sugar. And don't worry too much about quantities - chocolate drops tend to come in 150g packs and bars tend to be 100g, use either/or, no biggie, and add as much fruit and nut as you want. You can also use good quality milk chocolate if you prefer.
Makes 1 batch
a bar of gluten-free 75% dark chocolate or a pack of gluten-free dark chocolate drops (substitute for milk chocolate if preferred)
your choice of: cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries or crystallised stem ginger
Takes 10 minutes + setting
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with greaseproof paper and boil the kettle. Break up your bar of chocolate. The easiest way for kids (and grown-ups) to do this is to smash it about a bit on a chopping board and between your fingers while it's still in the foil wrapper. Decant into a plastic jug. If you have a pack of chocolate drops you can just put them straight in the jug.
2. Pour the boiling water into a large pan that your jug will fit nicely inside and set over a low heat until the chocolate melts (a few minutes).
3. Meanwhile choose a few handfuls of whatever nuts you want, put them between two clean tea towels and get your kids to bash them about a bit with a rolling pin (or pulse once or twice in a food processor). Get a handful of dried fruit - if you're using apricots or dried cherries you'll need to snip them up with kitchen scissors.
4. Once the chocolate is melted take it off the heat and stir in your fruit and nuts.
5. Pour onto the prepped tray and pop in the fridge to set. It doesn't matter whether or not it fills the tray as long as it's relatively even. Finally, chop it up into chunks and wedges with a sharp knife (adults only) and store in a tin in the fridge or somewhere cool.