Aztec Chocolate Bark

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord who’s taking a study break to make us spicy chocolate bark. ~Elise

Apparently peppermint bark just isn’t everyone’s favorite winter candy, and admittedly once in a while I get a bit tired of the same ‘ol treats. This however, this is something completely different.

Chocolate was brought to Europe by the conquistadores, who were introduced to it by the Aztecs in what is now modern day Mexico. Prized by the Aztecs, the cacao was ground into a drink and flavored with chili, cinnamon, and honey. “Xocolatl” was often served during important ceremonies and was thought to improve one’s stamina and help fight fatigue.

While not an exact recipe, the flavor echoes from those earlier and exotic times. This chocolate bark is studded with toasted pumpkin seeds, ancho chili, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper creating a nutty, seasonal, and spicy treat. I suggest using some high quality chocolate to ensure superior bark, and you can usually find hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) at your local natural foods store or Whole Foods. If you are having troubles finding ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder could be used in a pinch as well while adding a slightly smoky flavor.

Follow on Pinterest

Aztec Chocolate Bark Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, plus a dash extra
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, plus a dash extra
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ancho chili powder, plus a dash extra
  • 12 oz. of bitter or semi-sweet chocolate

Method

1 Place the pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds for about 5 minutes, they'll pop and jump a bit as they release their oils and moisture. Allow to cool.

2 Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer's directions. Once melted add the cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, and most of the pumpkin seeds saving some to decorate the top with.

3 Spread onto a flat baking pan lined with a silpat or wax paper. Sprinkle over and press into the chocolate the last few pumpkin seeds and sprinkle on a dash more of the spices for color and taste. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container. Best consumed in one or two days.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Follow on Pinterest

aztec-bark-2.jpg

Links:
History of Chocolate - Wikipedia
How to temper chocolate - useful advice from David Lebovitz if you are planning on making the Aztec bark and not eating it right away

garrett-2-100.jpg
Garrett McCord writes for Edible Sacramento and his cocoa-licious food blog Vanilla Garlic. Garrett is writing a series of cookie recipes for us here at Simply Recipes. ~Elise

14 Comments

  1. jonathan

    Yum. I’m thinkin’ that using an El Rey or Ibarra (latin) brand chocolate would make this muy auténtico…

  2. Kate

    Cost Plus also carries pepitas, FYI.

  3. David Daniels

    Sounds tasty. I love chocolate and this is an interesting twist. Ancho chile powder can also be made by getting whole dried ancho chiles (Most grocery stores carry them) and grinding them in a spice or coffee grinder. Ancho chiles are dried jalapenos and are also good in moles. I’m going to have to try this.

  4. jen

    Recent houseguests brought us some spicy chocolate bark–stunningly addictively delicious. I think only the pistachios were covered in the spice mixture, however. Small explosions of spicy goodness per bite.

  5. Kevin

    I made this last night and the results were heavenly. I tried giving some to my godchildren, who are usually scared of chile, and they loved it. Of course, at first I didn’t tell them that it had chile in it! To get the ancho chile powder I bought whole dried ancho chiles and toasted them for about 12 minutes in a 325 degree oven. I then ground them in my spice/coffee grinder.

  6. Mia

    I made this last night and instead of the cayenne, I used some dried orange peel. I used the ancho chile powder though. I am taking it to a holiday party tonight.

  7. Marcia

    This is crazy good! Made this along with some other candies/cookies/barks on trays for family for Christmas but this was, by far,the hit. Thanks!

  8. Zoe

    I made this with both pistachios and almonds and gave the pistachio version to my husband in his stocking. He has been raving about it! I will be making this throughout the year using sugar-free chocolate (I used the stuff from Trader Joe’s) as a not-too-bad-for-you treat. Thanks!

  9. Rebecca

    I made this for my new year’s party (http://a-side-of-beef.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-years-chili-other-goodies.html) People enjoyed it. It wasn’t as spicy as I expected — just the right amount of kick. Next time I’ll add extra pepitas though, I like how they breakup the chocolate texture and flavor.

  10. meliss

    Thank you Garret & Elise. This was such a quick and easy recipe, I will be making variations throuhgout the yesr. For the trial, I used Pepitas, roasted/salted pumpkin seeds, and it came out fabulous. I am a big fan of sweet and savory dishes.

    Side note, does anyone have a simple or not so simple recipe for just making chocolate? I know you need cocoa powder and nibs, coco-butter, powdered sugar and something else? Help me please, thanks, ~m

  11. Shana

    Great recipe, I was looking for a different type of chocolate bark recipe to make for holiday party gifts and I will have to test this one out! Thanks for the background on the mixing of spices and chocolate.

  12. Steve the Mexican

    Anchos in the UK??…. Look no further than the Mexican Food specialits :

    http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/Ancho-Chillies-100g-p-16142.html

    They’ve got loads of products that I love love love. The best range of authentic Mexican foods & chillies.

    Check them out folks! Saludos!!

  13. Mike

    Looks like a great recipe. I love the combination of sweet and spicy. I’ve been buying pepper (jalapeño, habanero, red) for years and love it with ice cream. Of course there are a lot of people who have a hard time crossing the mental hurdle that the two could go together so well.

  14. michelle

    What a delicious and easy recipe! I used chipotle chili powder instead of ancho. Loved this! We had it for our New Year’s Eve party tonight. :)

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong