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!
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
Easy Dark Chocolate Bark
- 1 pound dark chocolate preferably 60% , chips or chopped
- 2 1/2 cups of nuts seeds, and dried fruit, divided
- 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.
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