Easy Dark Chocolate Bark

Easy Dark Chocolate Bark

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Packed with dried fruit and nuts, dark chocolate bark is full of flavor and fun! Making this bark – simply a sheet of rich, decadent chocolate studded with crunchy bits of goodness – couldn’t be easier. You can whip up a batch in about 5 minutes before chilling in the fridge. There’s no tempering or wax to help it set up. The best part is that you can tailor the “stuff” to what you like. Read on to learn how to make Easy Dark Chocolate Bark.

Dried Fruit and Nuts

This Easy Dark Chocolate Bark only takes a few minutes to put together — and you can make it in the microwave! In this recipe, I am including almonds, but of course, you can use other nuts including peanuts, pecans, or walnuts. In terms of dried fruit, cranberries are nice as are dried apricots. One of my favorite additions is candied ginger — candied ginger is absolutely fantastic with chocolate. The deal is that you kinda can’t go wrong. The only rule is that the “stuff” cannot be wet or moist. If it tastes good on its own — it’s going to taste even better bathed in dark chocolate!

Dark Chocolate

Lawd, I do love chocolate. I prefer to use dark chocolate to counter the sweetness of the dried fruit. One of my favorite “grocery store” chocolates is Ghiradelli. You can use chips or bars and simply chop the chocolate into bits. A helpful hint for chopping chocolate is to use a serrated knife, as seen in the photo above. (For more about chocolate and how it’s made take a look at this post on another one of my chocolate favorites, Chocolate Pots de Creme.)

“Stuff” to Chocolate Ratio

The key is to pack enough “stuff” into the bark that it’s more than just a homemade candy bar. You want just enough chocolate to hold it all together — and undoubtedly, we all need a little extra help holding it all together these days! I like to use about 2 1/2 cups per pound of chocolate. You’ll want to include about 2 cups in the actual molten mixture, then save some to sprinkle and impress into the top.

Dark Chocolate Bark

What is Tempering Chocolate?

One of the most seductive qualities of chocolate is that it melts at body temperature. Tempering is a culinary technique heating and cooling chocolate to stabilize it for making candies and confections. It gives the chocolate a smooth and glossy finish, keeps it from easily melting on your fingers, and allows it to set up beautifully for dipped and chocolate-covered treats.  It’s a process that candidly needs practice and patience to perfect.

Some recipes call for wax or shortening to help chocolate stay solid once melted and cooled. This recipe for Easy Dark Chocolate Bark simply suggests that you place the chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer to set.

Have you ever opened a bag of chocolate chips and noticed grayish-white streaks across the surface? That’s called bloom. Fat bloom happens if the chocolate gets too warm. The cocoa butter melts and then re-solidifies, leaving those gray streaks. So, this method will sometimes produce bloom, but it’s not bad for you. And, since this Easy Dark Chocolate Bark is packed with dried fruit and nuts, you really can’t notice it!

Is Chocolate Good for You?

 According to the Mayo Clinic, flavonoids in dark chocolate contain naturally occurring antioxidants similar to those found in teas, red wine, and some fruits and vegetables. These flavonoids are thought to have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, and one recent study showed that 6 grams of dark chocolate a day (about one square) lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 2 points each.

Although packed with good-and-good-for-you stuff,  but this chocolate bark is still a super decadent treat. Let’s be real — even with the antioxidants and other healthful properties, chocolate is rich and a high-calorie food containing fairly high amounts of sugar and fat.

This recipe will fill a quarter sheet pan or a 9 x 13-inch pyrex baking dish. One ounce of dark chocolate chips is 7  WW points…. Add the dried fruit and nuts and well, you can reach 10 points pretty quick. 

Size Matters

However, by now you probably know my philosophy. I’d rather have a proper portion of something really good and count the points or calories than have something small and less tasty. So, the serving size is up to you. This Easy Dark Chocolate Bark is so rich and delicious just a dab will do you!

I do suggest sharing it and not keep too much temptation so close at hand. 😉 Which brings me to gift-giving! (We made this to send off to a couple of freshman college students, including my dear sweet, smart godchild, Ruby who’s on scholarship at Vassar! I am so proud of her!) There’s something so special about a homemade gift. Is there anyone in your life that you could make smile with a batch of Easy Dark Chocolate Bark?

Dark Chocolate Bark

Vote

I mentioned we made this as a gift for Ruby. It’s also doing double duty for a culinary video series to encourage people to VOTE my dear friend Claire Perez have running over on our Instagram pages. We’re posting one a day through the election. Check it out!

Care Package Cargo

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoy this recipe for Easy Dark Chocolate Bark — and maybe you can make a care-package for someone special in your life, too. If you make it, please tag me and let me know what you think!

Bon Appétit, Y’all

Virginia Willis

PS I am booking for Zoom holiday events and private cooking classes. If you or your business is interested, please shoot a note to Jona@VirginiaWillis.com and we’ll chat!

Dark Chocolate Bark

Easy Dark Chocolate Bark

Prep Time5 mins
Chill1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, Chocolate Bark, confection, Dark Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dark chocolate preferably 60% , chips or chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups of nuts seeds, and dried fruit, divided

Instructions

  • Line a 9 x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper allowing the paper to overhang ends a few inches; set side.
  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a double boiler over medium heat and stir occasionally until melted. Or, place in the microwave and heat in bursts until melted. The time will depend on the strength of your microwave.
  • Add 2 cups of the "stuff" and stir to coat. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining reserved fruit and nuts onto the top, pressing to adhere.
  • Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until set and firm, a couple of hours.
  • Lift the ends of the parchment paper and place the bark on a cutting board. Cut the bark into 1-inch squares or break into bitesize pieces by smashing on the counter! Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.) 

If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or book signing, let me know! Send an email to jona@virginiawillis.com and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

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Copyright © 2020 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

 

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.

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