Chocolate originated in Mexico, and records indicate that Aztec and Mayan rulers took their chocolate mixed with chiles. Chocolate bark is made by melting chocolate and adding additional items such as dried bits of fruit or nuts and seasonings that can include cinnamon, chile powder, and orange peel. The mixture is then poured over parchment paper (to prevent sticking), spread to about 1/8 thick, and chilled until it hardens and can be broken into bitesize pieces. The thin irregular shaped results resemble their namesake.
Recently, a chocolate bark with pepitas (hulled and roasted pumpkin seeds) became my favorite chocolate treat. It had great taste and texture and the pumpkin seeds have a natural affinity for chocolate. However, as usual, I wondered if I could make it better. I experimented and in no time discovered how to indeed make an already fine indulgence even moe delicious, and do so with just a few minutes preparation!
The accompaning recipe for Lo Mexicano Chocolate Bark makes a wonderful holiday gift for friends and is one of the simplest to make confections imaginable. Depending on what chocolate you use, it also costs less than half the commercial version. I suggest you begin with Guittard semisweet chocolate chips, often found in the baking section. They are inexpensive, have great flavor and are easy to use. If you can find already roasted pumpkin seeds, by all means use them and skip the roasting, but watch the salt content
I hope you will try the accompanying recipe and then try to improve it. Using different types of chocolate, adding different ingredients, such as candied mango, and using more or less chile powder, cinnamon, and salt are some suggestions. If you can’t find pasilla chile powder or do not want to make it (by toasting the chiles, letting them cool until they harden, tearing them into pieces and grinding them in a spice or coffee grinder) just use a little more ancho powder, which is much easier to find.