Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Chocolate Bark & Baking Party

I hope you all had a relaxing and fun Super Bowl weekend?  I know I did, I was lucky enough to spend part of it with fellow Bay Area food bloggers baking Valentine's Sugar Cookies and Valentine's Chocolate Bark over at Patty's house.

The last couple of weeks have been rather stressful, we put our house for sale and it's been non-stop showings and trying to keep the place spotless.  Well this baking party must have been just what I needed, because when I returned home I had two offers on the house, one of which we accepted. This is welcome news because it frees me up for the important stuff I've been neglecting, like baking.

The weather in the Bay Area was gorgeous this weekend and the amazing Patty graciously welcomed us into her kitchen. We were joined by Lisa - The Authentic Suburban Gourmet, BonniBella, Baking Barrister, and my daughter joined us too.

We had some amazing appetizers to nibble on.  I brought Blood Orange Jam and Meyer Lemon Bread, Patty made us a delectable Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese Apple Quiche, Lisa delighted us with her Stilton and Walnut Palmiers, Stephanie surprised us with Leek Confit, Goat Cheese and Crostini, Bonni shared Thai Shrimp with us, yum.  Everything was so good; I should have stuffed some in my purse for later.

Looks amazing, huh?  Well then you should have been there partaking in the merriment with us, shouldn't you have.  We didn't just gather there to eat though; we were on a baking mission.  

Patty & Lisa fooling around mixing icing.  

Bonni -Chocolate Pop maker extraodinaire.

Valentine's Chocolate Bark
1 pound dark chocolate - Trader Joe's or whatever good quality chocolate you can find
1 pound milk chocolate - Trader Joe's or whatever good quality chocolate you can find
Assorted sprinkles (the big hearts are chewy red hots)

Melt one pound of chocolate at a time in a heat proof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water.

Let the chocolate cool for a couple of minutes.

Spray a half-sheet baking pan with no-stick spray and pour one kind of the chocolate in the pan drizzling it around.

Melt the second kind of chocolate and pour it in the empty spaces on the pan.  Tap the pan on the counter to fill in the gaps.  

Cover with sprinkles.  Place in the fridge till hard.  Turn the bark out onto a piece of parchment and slam it down to break up.

We divided up the loot and placed it in "Bark Bags", I repeat "Bark Bags", not "Barf Bags" (sorry inside joke).  Again, you should have been there.

Lisa and Bonni helped style the plates for us.  I must say they are both so good at it, I picked up a couple of new tricks myself.  I wanted to pluck a piece of chocolate right off that napkin, but I resisted the temptation. After we finished the bark, we moved on to sugar cookies.  We put on our inner diva decorator hats and created some super cute cookies to take home to our loved ones.  Patty is going to post the cookie recipe for you shortly.

B.B. and her wicked sense of humor, love it!

My Love and her Cookie Love.  Wonder where she gets those mad decorating skills from?

What do you mean you didn't get your invite to this par-tay?  No worries, there will be another one of these baking parties coming up soon.  To get on the super exclusive invite list, you will have to pass a gang group initiation.  You will need to bring an appetizer for the group to analyze, critique and then eat more of, just to be sure our initial impressions were correct.  If you pass that portion of the initiation; we will stick you in a room with no windows, 16 colors of royal icing, 19 kinds of sprinkles and a piece of cardboard and you will have 6 minutes to come up with a masterpiece to present before the group.  Did you think we would start you off with cookies?  You only get those if you make it to part three.




  1. I am definitely not missing the next one. Hey, maybe I should host it so I don't miss?! :) Gina, your daughter is beautiful AND has the decorating skills--just like mommy! :)

    PS: Congrats on accepting an offer!

  2. LOVED the recap! Made me feel less bummed about missing a great party. And I agree with Jean-your daughter us lovely (just like her mom) :)

  3. Your daughter is gorgeous! But we all know where she got her good looks from :)

    What a fun time, I really am so bummed to have missed it. I'm glad you were able to go and forget about the week's stress - and hey, congrats on the offers, that's wonderful! Can't wait to hear how the house adventure will turn out :)

  4. I had such a fun time with everyone! One thing I learned from you is sprinkles makes everything better. Your daughter is super adorable and cute, love her decorating skills. I can't wait for the next baking event. Thanks for the gifts and "bark bag."

    See you on Friday!

  5. Hi Gina! I just finished my post(midnight) and had so much fun checking out your post and Lisa's. I'm going to bed! Thanks again for being a part of our fun baking day, you are so talented, I loved baking and decorating with you;-)

  6. Gina,
    Sorry I missed this super fun party and all that wonderful food. Hopefully I will pass the initiation.

    Your daughter is beautiful, and looks like she will be the Cookie Princess!

    Wow, I'm sure relieved about the house, Great news!

  7. Hi Gina, Looks like you all have so much fun! Hope I can join in too but I'm too far away.
    Your daughter is very beautiful, just like her mom :)

  8. Hello - GREAT news on the offer - that is SO exciting! Congrats! What a fun day of baking - loved your recap. Thank you for the wonderful recipes, decorations and conversations. Fun day!!!

  9. I wish I didn't live thousands of miles and an ocean away. I'm definitely going to do food blog get togethers here this year. It looks like way too much fun to miss out on.

  10. Oh how fun--wish I could join you! Your chocolate bark looks so pretty with the valentine sprinkles on top!

  11. You guys are the sweetest. Jean, we'll talk about next month, like your idea though.

  12. Congratulations girlfriend! That is amazing about the house...answered prayers!!!
    Oh how I wish I lived close to you! That baking party looks like such fun and your chocolate and the cookies are so cute! Love the Love! xoxo

  13. As I already told Patty, you sure convened a ton of talent all under one roof. I'm just jealous I live nowhere near any of you as I'd love to be barking and cookie-ing it up with your crew. Congrats on your offers, too! May you land somewhere with a fabulous kitchen, of course. :)

  14. What a fun little party!! And I'm so jealous of the foodie spread!! Definitely making this bark so that I...opps...I mean...others can eat it :)

  15. What a great party and this bark looks delicious!

  16. What a great party that sounds like! And so much fun too... the chocolate bark is super-cute! As is your daughter :) with such a talented mom, of course she has mad decorating skills! Great post, Gina :)

  17. Gina-your daughter is a "spitting" image of her mom! Gorgeous, absolutely a stunning beauty!
    What a fun, baking party with all the other food bloggers. Such fun chocolatey goodness to make, especially those chocolate pops!
    Thanks for sharing all the fun you and the ladies had! I'm totally jealous!...actually, I'm so happy that you shared it all with us:DDD

  18. COOL! And Elisabeth has taken the words out of my mouth about your pretty daughter!
    I wish I lived near enough to join the party and fun!

  19. Bravo on the house, Gina! Great news since it certainly is stressful. What a brilliant idea on your baking party and chocolate bark? That's the answer to everything - so cute with the decor.

  20. How fun! I'm sure this chocolate bark is super delicious because everyone looks so happy baking it. That's so cool Gina that you got 2 offers and one was accepted! We just showed our house to potential renters last weekend too. Hopefully, I get good news like yours :D

  21. Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous....she has her mother's eyes (and more). Congrats on the sale of the house. I'll keep fingers and toes crossed until the closing! It looks like you guys had a great party. next time I'll join you in spirit from across the country.

  22. How Cool!! what a great party and that chocolate bark looks tempting

  23. Baking that is my kind of party! What a great spread!

  24. Oh, what FUN!!! I want to come!!!! Your bark looks amazing...and my gang would prefer this a million times over my lentil soup :/ Congrats on the sale of your house, too...hooray!

  25. It looks like it was such a fun party. One day I'm going to crash your party Gina and Patty :) So glad to hear about the house offer. The no hugs cookie is hilarious! Your love is just as gorgeous and talented as her mama. Thanks for sharing the photos Gina.

  26. Hi Gina! I was just over at Bonni's. I felt a huge sense of jealousy in my mind right now..LOL.. not only all of you get to make valentines cookies, it's also the meet up. I feel so sad that I am not in San Fran right now. Hmmm.. if I was there, will you all bring me along to share goodies? What am I am happy most is that you ladies stayed in touch and are truly good friends to me. Can't wait to see what you ladies have planned out. Missing ya!! Hugssss..

  27. Sounds like a fun party..well any party that have you turns into I right or what?:))

    Greta cookies and pics are wonderful!!!xoxo

    1. Totally misspelled:)) "Great" chocolate barks..I am under meds, please forgive me:))))

  28. What a fun day that must have been; talented family. Wish I was there.

  29. Gina I sure wish I had been there!

  30. I can't tell you all how envious I am!! I would so love to join you for a baking day, and I'm happy to bring an appetizer!! Perhaps I can convince my husband for a Bay Area Weekend one of these days and I will join you all. You never know!
    Congrats on the house sale, I can imagine that is quite a relief. And good luck on that packing!
    Your daughter is beautiful, what a smile she has! So fun to see the other photos too!! Happy Valentine's Day Gina!

  31. Congrats on the house sale Gina! Looks like you guys had a great & delicious baking day, the bark look awesome! Hope you're having a great weekend!

  32. Oh no...I'd never make it past the second part of the initiation, well even if you gave me 6 hours, lol
    What a fun party and great group...everything looks delightful and love that bark :)
    Hugs, hope you had an amazing weekend

  33. how fun!! Jumping over from Patty's, such a sweet day!!

  34. Wow! I wish I could be there with you and make those beautiful V-day treats by Patty. Thanks for the beautiful flowers and thanks for taking the time seeing me before I leave. It was great seeing you guys and have a last wonderful lunch together. Please keep me posted. I miss you guys and our eating feasts.xoxo.