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Dark Chocolate Bark is studded with sweet dried cranberries and salty pistachios, and finished with a sprinkling of sea salt – perfect for dessert to an elegant wine and cheese pairing or for a holiday gift.

Cranberry-Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark

I’ve been trying really hard to keep our schedule free and clear. I’ve failed miserably. Somehow, over the past two weeks, we ended up attending 4 potlucks, hosting friends for an evening 3 times, and hosting overnight guests for a long weekend. Add this to school Halloween events, prescheduled doctor’s appointments, and work crazy and I’m seriously ready for a vacation.

A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to get ahead of all of these events. I spent an epic weekend cooking and baking to get us through the busy week and the numerous events. That weekend, not only did I make Kahlua Truffle Triangles, but I made a Cranberry-Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark – a sweet perfect for an evening out without the kids (potluck!). Bonus? Like most candies, bark keeps pretty well at in at a cool room temperature, so I didn’t need to spend that Saturday baking (in between family photos and a Halloween potluck party) before heading out to the party, an hour away.

Cranberry-Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark

This chocolate bark – or at leas some variation of it – will definitely be included in my holiday baking this year. Because it keeps so well, I can make it a bit ahead of time instead of stressing out at the last minute and the recipients won’t have to consume it immediately, along with all of the other holiday goodies they’re sure to make and receive.

Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for more #CranberryWeek recipes! Thanks again to Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking for hosting!

Cranberry-Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark


  • 3 lb. good-quality 70% cocoa chocolate, divided
  • 1 c. Dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. Pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt flakes


  1. Lay out two baking sheets. Line each with parchment paper, taping paper to the baking sheet in each corner. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine chopped cranberries and pistachios. Toss to mix and set aside.
  3. Take 2 lbs. of the chocolate and chop into small pieces. Place in the top bowl of a double broiler set over medium heat and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Continue until chocolate is melted and the temperature (taken with an instant read thermometer) is between 115 and 120. Turn off stove and remove bowl from double broiler. Wipe bottom dry with a dish towel.
  4. Place 1/2 lb. of the remaining chocolate into melted chocolate. Fold melted chocolate around solid chunk, which will begin to melt. Continue folding and mixing until mixture reaches 95F. Remove solid chunk from mixture, setting onto a piece of wax or parchment paper to harden and save for later use. Add remaining 1/2 lb. chocolate piece and repeat until mixture reaches 90F.
  5. Quickly pour half of the chocolate onto one of the prepared baking sheets.
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Recipe Notes: 

  • Recipe by Books n’ Cooks, but I followed the tempering technique outlined in Fine Cooking, issue #144. Fine Cooking also recommends using the largest blocks of chocolate you can find for making bark, in particular for the tempering, as the larger blocks are easier to remove. (When removing the blocks from the chocolate, place on a piece of wax paper and pop back in the fridge to set again. Store in an airtight container or baggie and save for use in another recipe.)
  • If you choose to use milk or white chocolate for this recipe, please be sure to read the above Fine Cooking article, as the temperatures listed in this recipe will be different.
  • I used Scharffenberger chocolate for this recipe.
Cranberry-Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark on Books n' Cooks

See all the other recipes being shared for today’s final Cranberry Week post – we hope you’ve enjoyed following along and will try some of the many cranberry creations!



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Welcome to #Choctoberfest!

#Chocotoberfest is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar and the other sponsors listed below. This is my first year participating, and I’m excited to share a couple of great recipes with you. And don’t worry – they’re not all desserts!


#Choctoberfest 2017 Giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #Choctoberfest Sponsors  Barleans, The PinterTest Kitchen and our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar for providing prizes for #Choctoberfest free of charge. These companies, as well as sponsors Rodelle and Davis Chocolate also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #Choctoberfest . All opinions are my own.

Over 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting 200+ chocolate recipes over the next week. Keep your eyes peeled, visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, where we post chocolate recipes all year long.

You can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack. Thank to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:

    • $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
    • 1 case of granulated white sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of light brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), and 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds) from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar – search social media for #88lbsofsugar to see just how much this is!
    • 16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint from our silver sponsor Barlean’s
    • 300-piece Lindt LINDOR Truffles gift bag (you choose the flavors!) from blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen

This prize pack is valued at over $450! To enter, simply follow participating sponsors and bloggers using the below giveaway widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned to see the delicious recipes bloggers have cooked up using Imperial Sugar and Barlean’s products. Thank you also to Davis Chocolate and Rodelle for being #Choctoberfest shoutout sponsors! Watch Instagram and Facebook to find out more about about their chocolate products.

Here is a complete list of all the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2017, so you can see the recipes they are posting throughout the week:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchSavory MomentsCrumbs in my MustachioHouse of Nash EatsBake It With LoveThat RecipeHardly A GoddessCooking With CarleeA Kitchen Hoor’s AdventuresBody RebootedCindy’s Recipes and WritingsThe Redhead BakerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceSweet CoraliceSeduction in The KitchenCooks&Books&RecipesEveryday EileenUnder My Apple TreeFamily Around The TableBottom Left of the MittenThe Spiffy CookieFairyburgerJoin Us, Pull up a ChairJonesin’ For TasteJane’s Adventures in DinnerTake Two TapasJennifer BakesThe Unlikely BakerHostess At HeartKaren’s Kitchen StoriesKate’s Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsWildflour’s Cottage KitchenChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin MamasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeBooks n’ CooksMildly MeanderingLiving IdeasRestless ChipotleGet the Good Stuff!The Weekday GourmetAn Affair from the HeartWest Via MidwestCookie Dough and Oven MittThe Bitter Side of SweetCookaholic WifeDaily Dish RecipesFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook’s HideoutBy the PoundsTramplingrose: Cooking, Baking & Ranting in Small-Town South DakotaSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFantastical Sharing of RecipesSarah’s Bake StudioThe Pajama ChefFrankly EntertainingLong Distance BakingPalatable PastimeThe Freshman CookThe Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine ♥ A Day in the Life on the FarmWendy PolisiTampa Cake GirlMy Southern Sweet ToothCanning and Cooking at HomeFull Belly SistersSuperSizeGuy.comOur Good LifeThe Jolie Life



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Welcome to #AppleWeek 2017!

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

I’m excited to be participating in this year’s #AppleWeek – a week featuring recipes made with all things apple (fresh apples, apple sauce, apple cider, etc.) hosted by Carlee at Cooking with Carlee. Be come back all week to see what I’ve made for you, as well as what recipes our #AppleWeek bloggers have created to share with you. You can also search social media for #AppleWeek, or follow the event’s official Facebook page or on Twitter for more great recipes featuring my favorite fall fruit.

We had some truly amazing sponsors this week that not only shared products with the #AppleWeek bloggers but have generously donated some awesome prizes for YOU to win. Below you’ll find a list of prize packs available as well as the Rafflecopter for you to enter – and you can do so a number of times both today and throughout the week. Good luck!

Prize Pack #1 from Rodelle:

A baker’s dream come true! This delicious prize pack includes premium vanilla products, gourmet dutch-processed cocoa and specialty extracts.

Items include:

Pure Vanilla Extract
Gourmet Dutch-Processed Baking Cocoa
Gourmet Vanilla Extract
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
Organic Vanilla Extract
Organic Chocolate Extract
Almond Extract
Vanilla Paste
And some fun baking supplies to whip up your next batch of goodies with!

Prize Pack #2 from Dreamfarm and Casabella:

Items include:a 2 ‘n 1 veggie brush
a clip n strip shears
a set up levups
a set of levoons

Prize Pack #3 from Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal:

Prize Pack #4 from Pyrex and Chicago Cutlery:

Prize Pack #5 from Rainier Fruit:

A prize pack from Rainier Fruit including a box of freshly farvested Rainier Fruit apples, a stainless steel apple slicer, apple corer, “Baked with Love” ceramic pie pan, copper apple loaf pan and a $25 Williams Sonoma gift card!

Prize Pack #6 from Veggie Wash:

A prize pack from Veggie Wash

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.








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This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Welcome to #BrunchWeek 2017!


Welcome to the fifth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We are so excited to have you join us this year as we celebrate Brunch and prepare for Mother’s Day.


Forty Bloggers from around the North America will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to cakes, danish, tarts, and pizzas – with 170 recipes, there is something for everyone! Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!


Prize #1 Red Star Yeast is giving one winner an amazing baking set, which includes “I Knead to be Loaved” apron, French rolling pin, Bench/Dough cutter, Oven mitt, Dough scraper, Bamboo spatula, Silicone spatula, Measuring spoons, Kitchen towel, 6 3-strips of Red Star Yeast, Red Star Yeast recipe book, Kansas Wheat Commission recipe book

For more than a century, home bakers have trusted the high quality and consistent performance of RED STAR Yeast. Inspiring bakers from novice to professional, our goal is your baking success! Visit for hundreds of tried & true recipes, baking tips and how-to videos. Better yeast. Better bread. Every time.

Prize #2 Dixie Crystals is giving one winner 1 case of 2-lb Extra Fine Granulated Sugar, a silicone baking mat, White Marble Pastry Board and Marble Rolling Pin, and Dixie Crystals red ruffle apron.

Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South’s choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

Prize #3 Cabot Creamery Coop is giving one winner $50 assortment of Cabot Cheese, one Berghoff Cheese Knife and one Slate Cheese Board

Cabot is a co-operative owned by 1,100 dairy farm families throughout New England & New York. In our farmers’ communities, they are often the ones to volunteer first. We honor their community spirit with our Reward Volunteers program. Learn more & start logging your volunteer hours today!

Prize #4 Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors is giving one winner a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors since 1907. Each of Nielsen-Massey’s all-nature pure flavors are crafted with premium ingredients, sourced from around the world and chosen to meet the utmost quality standards. From lemon to peppermint to coffee or chocolate, Nielsen-Massey’s pure flavors offer convenience, quality and consistency to ensure your favorite recipes taste delicious every single time. All products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free, all-natural and Kosher.

Prize #5 Michigan Asparagus is giving one winner an Asparagus Steamer Pot with $40 gift card to Williams Sonoma and a box of fresh Michigan Asparagus

Fresh asparagus is the taste of spring and Michigan is one of the largest domestic asparagus growers in the U.S. Michigan Asparagus is available mid-May through June and is the only hand snapped harvested asparagus which means more usable asparagus and less waste.


Prize #6 Rainier Fruit is giving one winner a set of 3 stoneware pie plates with $40 Williams-Sonoma gift card and a box of fresh Lady Alice apples.

If you love apples, pears, cherries and blueberries than Rainier Fruit is the fruit brand for year. Nestled in the shadow of Mount Rainier, we focus on growing fruits and living a lifestyle that is Wholesome to the Core and brings you the best of organic and conventional grown fruit including our proprietary Lady Alice apples and all your other favorites like Honeycrisp and more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.


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Consider supporting a good cause

Bid for one of the tasty sweets donated by bloggers, with proceeds going to breast cancer.

Bidding open tonight at midnight, closing at midnight on May 6.

Bloggers Bake for Hope

Seven Layer Cookies,

to be donated by

Books n’ Cooks

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I’ve been blogging about a year and a half, and I’ve come a long way since then. My photos have improved, although they’re still not great, and my posts have more personality. In the past couple months, life has settled down a bit – less traveling, finished grad school, finished the SKG walk…. and so, I’ve had more time to devote to blogging and thinking about the future for my little hobby.

With this in mind (and the hope of a blog redesign later this year), I’ve cleaned up some old entries and categories and have added some features. Much of this is transparent to you, my reader, but I’d like to highlight a couple of posts which received new photos – one recipe had no photos of the finished product while the other two simply had photos of abysmal quality.

A batch of the seven layer cookies, along with a couple dozen other sweet treats, will be auctioned off on May 4-6, with all proceeds going to the fight against breast cancer. Check out Bloggers Bake for Hope for more info and to place a bid.

The second update, made recently was to re-index both book-related posts as well as recipes. After wavering on the best method for indexing (pages within wordpress or sortable google documents), I returned to a simple page within the blog. The Book Index and Recipe Index can now be found at the tabs on the top of the page.

Finally, a Facebook page for Books n’ Cooks has been launched, for those that would prefer a facebook update to new posts rather than googlereader (or whatever your favorite subscription method is). Like Books n’ Cooks here.

Thanks to everyone for following my first year and a half of blogging!

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Happy New Year!

Coming home from Christmas away, I’ve been looking forward to the start of a new year, with new habits and new things to strive for. This past year has been a craze of wedding planning, school, and life. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 2010 will be much more low-keyed, allowing me to take more time for the things I want and enjoy doing.

What are your goals for 2010?

In the Kitchen

I have high hopes that 2010 will allow me more time in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. I want to experiment with new fruits and vegetables. I’m dying to try cooking duck, to test my hand at cooking with yeast (so intimidating!), and to actually make a caramel that I don’t burn.

I’d also like to make a greater effort to cook healthier (so you might see some nutritional information cropping up with my recipes). This will be a challenge, but I think that as long as I plan my week’s menu in advance (and have some healthy and easy fall-backs), that I’ll be ok. In spring, I hope to join a CSA for the first time which will also help us eat better, get to know new foods, and most importantly, will support our local farmers.

Off the Bookshelf

While I’m super-excited about the arrival of my Nook (thanks Mom, Dad & Hubby!), I’d really like to make a dent in my growing bookshelves, which are filled with lots of mystery novels (thanks Mom & Grandma!).

There are also many non-mystery books that I’d like to read, but somehow keep making it to the bottom of the TBR pile. So, for the coming year, I’d like to tackle some of these books and series (sorry James Patterson, you’ll have to take a backseat for a while). On my 2010 TBR list are:

  • All of Jane Austen’s works (6  books, 1 short fiction, and 2 unfinished fiction)
  • Gone with the Wind, a book that has always intimidated me a little bit in its length
  • The Lord of the Rings series. I love the movies, I just need to start the books!

And my final goal for the year… I’d like to continue with my little blog here and improving my photography.

What are your cooking or reading goals for 2010?

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This is my first attempt at blogging. I’m going to share two of my interests – playing around in the kitchen and curling up with a good book. I’ll post favorites, and for recipes, share adaptations. I’d love to try at least one new recipe a week and read one new book a week – a great goal for a busy schedule. I’ll also add links to some of the blogs I’ve been enjoying (I hope nobody minds!) so that you can enjoy them as well.

Thanks for reading!

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Books n’ Cooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Some links on Books n’ Cooks may be affiliate links – links books and kitchen supplies that I love and would recommend. If you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!

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