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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark + Steamy Secret #1

Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark

With a photo like that, do I really need any words?!

I firmly believe that in order to start off the New Year properly, one must have chocolate. And lots of it.

Janet, wonderful customer of my husband’s company brought these Chocolate & Toffee Barks into the office a few months ago. While totally intended for Russ, one of Digital Doctor’s helpful techs, I snuck a piece.

Crunchy. Chocolatey, Nutty. Toffeeeey.

And then snagged another.

And shhhhh….another.

Crap. I was addicted, and had to email Janet for her recipe, partly because I needed to feed my new addiction…but mostly because I had to replenish the stash that I snuck. Surprisingly, it was no more than a handful of ingredients that I already had on hand and the only skill needed was stirring, spreading, chilling and eating.

Steamy Secrets to Becoming an Internet Food Stupidstar

Christmas Eve, as I was spreading the melted dark chocolate for these treats, I had an epiphany. As defined by Websters with my edit in red:

“a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience or SPREADING CHOCOLATE.”

Suddenly, the motion of spreading gooey heavenly chocolate was much more than just Step 3 of a recipe. IT WAS THE ANSWER.

What is it that transcends a normal food blog into Internet Foodblog Superstardom? Here’s the beginning of Steamy Secrets to Food Blog-Whoring.

Now, I know some of you are just food blogging to share with close friends, family and blog-friends. Great. But…some of you yearn for something a bit more…maybe the next level where you can actually make some moolah from blogging? Maybe a food career? Become a professional food blogger? Be a food blog stupidstar? Have a big ego? (check)

I really think that 2008 will the year of the food bloggers. Food reality competitions are soooo 2007, and the Food Network was soooo 2006. (well, for me, anyways. and i bet you one day, i might just eat my words).  My fav celeb chefs are the ones who make themselves accessible – Zimmern, Ruhlman, Greenspan, Gower, Nguyen, and others I’m sure I’ve left out. These are chefs who enjoy a dedicated, proactive, progressive and massively influential fans (psst…that us, the food bloggers.)

Here’s my take. If you’ve always had a dream to make a little splash in the food world, why not go for it in ’08?

Listen well, young grasshoppa. A blog-whore you shall learn to be.

First off, I’ve always said that any moron can come up with a recipe.

Case in point. The World Wrestling Federation has a friggin’ cookbook. Savory Smackdown? Seriously.

So, given that recipes are a dime a dozen, there is is an exception:

STEAMY SECRET #1: Post insanely irresistible, no-brainer recipes or tips

Like the recipe below, Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark, or maybe even Rolo Turtle Pretzels. Recipes that are so easy that a 4-year old can make it.

You see, these are recipes, tips and tricks  that are so simple, readers get an uncontrollable urge to just swiftly flick their wrist, and click on the del.icio.us button so that the link is safely tucked away for fu.tur.e re.fere.nce. These are also recipes and tips that popular food blogs, like Epicurious, Chowhound, SlashFood, The Ktchn, Stumbleupon and Lifehacker enjoy highlighting.

The lesson is to add value.

Great Cooking Tips. What’s a kitchen tip that saves you SO much money, time or hassle? How much time/money does it save? How did you come up with the tip? Give some practical applications. Remake Popular Recipes. Take a popular recipe and make it even better. Ok, so my No Knead Bread post didn’t really remake the recipe, but I bribed my son to be chef with a whale tattoo and showed that it was so simple that a 4 yr old could bake bread. Google “No-Knead Bread” and I think I come up #2. Anyone have a pet orangutan? Bread so easy an chimp could make it! (kidding guys…kidding)

      The #1 bread book on sale at Amazon right now is

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

      , based on the super popular No-Knead Bread recipe. But authors Zoey and Jeff took it a step further and adapted the technique with recipes for 100 different breads, including savories and sweets. I’ll be reviewing this book in the next week and will publish some of my results of their recipes. So, what are some of the most popular recipes that have been circulating the web…and how can you make it different/better/faster? An example is my

Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese


Wanna know what are popular recipes?

Young Padawan…No Longer.

When I started this blog 11 months ago, it was because of these wonderful, generous folks who inspired, nudged, cheered, befriended, laughed with and advised me.Some gave me a start in my food career. Others wooed me with food porn (and inspired me to be a food photographer). One special friend coached me on television presence and inspired me to garden. And my most dearest friends, Julie, Lisa and Kelly were my homegirl cheerleaders.

And hey, my turn to give back to this year’s crop of young padawans new food bloggers. Steamy Secrets will be an ongoing series as long as I have the brain capacity to continue. Next week, I’ll share with you my top secrets of food photography for people who ARE NOT professional food photographers (because I’m not one either!)

I’ll teach you how to take drool-worthy photos like this:

So, what Steamy Secrets would you like to learn? (ahem….about BLOGGING I mean)

Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark


Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark

Servings: 1 pound Prep Time: Cook Time:
Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 3.40.58 PM

A great treat that you can customize to your liking. Substitute with milk chocolate chips, those fancy white chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, pistachios (ooooh that would be pretty).

note: the Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark takes 2 hours to chill.


½ box of graham crackers
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ lb butter (2 sticks)
3 cups dark chocolate chips (or your favorite chocolate bars, broked up in small pieces)
1 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts (or other nut if you prefer)


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a lipped baking sheet with a layer of tin foil. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers in the pan without overlapping. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add the sugars. Whisk to dissolve. Let boil and simmer for 5 minutes on low. Very carefully pour mixture onto the graham crackers, working quickly with a spatula to even out the layer. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and evenly spread out the chocolate chips and leave it to melt for 5 minutes. Using spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly. Top with chopped nuts. Let cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Break pieces.

Share with the world.

61 Responses to “Dark Chocolate & Toffee Macadamia Bark + Steamy Secret #1”

  1. BrandusB — 1/4/08 @ 3:25 pm

    Thanks for the tips, as a starting out food blogger, I need all I can get. Only close friends look at it now it seems, but maybe soon others will find it.


  2. one food guy — 1/5/08 @ 1:01 pm

    I can’t wait to make some of that bark, three of my favorite ingredients – dark chocolate, toffee, and macadamia nuts!

    Also looking forward to your food photography secrets!

  3. Cindy — 1/6/08 @ 3:35 am

    Haha I started my new year with chocolate too!

  4. Ellie — 1/6/08 @ 7:27 am

    The bark looks good, but as someone with no access to graham crackers, I’m afraid that looking is all I can do :/

  5. Tartelette — 1/12/08 @ 10:45 pm

    Wow…if my screen would open up and hand me that right now I’d be a happy gal!

  6. mimi — 1/30/08 @ 12:04 am

    i just made the bark and i’m not sure what I did wrong — I tried to follow the instructions to a T. First off, no matter how long a simmered and whisked the butter + sugar mixture, the butter would not blend into the sugar. Instead, the sugar caramelized and sort of clumped together floating on the surface of the butter. Second, even on 375 for 10 minutes, the chocolate chips would not melt completely (I bought Nestle milk chocolate chips). They melted half way and when i tried to move the pan up on the oven rack, that didn’t do the trick either. Finally, I tried to microwave them so the chocolate would melt enough so I could smooth it out (it got dry and clumpy when I tried to spatula it down) but I ended up burning the chocolate and then I had to chuck the whole darn thing. :(

    Another baking disaster. Any ideas?

  7. SteamyKitchen — 1/30/08 @ 12:09 am

    Hey mimi- you were doing just fine with the chocolate, when you take it out of the oven to let sit, it will finish melting and should be spreadable. Darn. I know this recipe works well, as many other bloggers have tried it with success – and it’s a well circulated recipe online.

    Now I don’t know what happened to your butter…..


  8. weekly baker — 2/22/08 @ 3:26 am

    cannot get graham crackers at my place.Can i replace them with digestive biscuits or marie biscuits? Which would be better?Thanks!

  9. SteamyKitchen — 2/22/08 @ 10:33 am

    Weekly Baker – I’m sure you could! saltine crackers work great too.

  10. Denise — 4/10/08 @ 11:15 pm

    Just found your site this week and I spent the last three nights reading, drooling and bookmarking ! Today I made the NKB and the dark chocolate and toffee macadamia bark mmmmmmmmmmmm both so easy and so so delicious. Thanks so much for sharing such great recipes, stories and bits of your life.


  11. Stephanie — 12/18/09 @ 4:34 pm

    I made these two days ago and they were delish!! I love the texture of the graham cracker and toffee, once baked and cooled. I had to omit the nuts since I was giving to a sensitive crowd but it was still good! thanks for sharing this recipe :)

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