Chocolate Bark is a great dessert to make when you have no time to make dessert; it comes together quickly and looks elegant. Makes a wonderful homemade gift, too!
I can’t really even call this a recipe since it’s pretty much just melted, re-solidified, and garnished chocolate. Rather, I’m providing a method of preparation along with some ideas to help you get creative.
You’ll want to use a good quality chocolate, as it is the main component. I used a dark chocolate with 60% cacao. I prefer to make a thinner chocolate bark, but if you want a more substantial thickness, don’t spread it as thin. That just leaves you to decide what to sprinkle on top. The five variations I made for this post are:
Matcha and puffed rice
Pomegranate, pistachio, and crushed cardamom seeds
Toasted coconut and almond
Hazelnut with black and golden raisins
Pumpkin seed, dried chiles, and sea salt
The choices are endless, however. Nuts, seeds, fruits, spices, herbs, broken cookies, puffed grains, and teas are all fair game for chocolate bark making! Here are some more ideas to help you decide what kind of bark you want to make:
lavender, candied lemon or orange peel, and almonds
cashews with garam masala
dried apples, walnuts, and cinnamon
popcorn and salted peanuts
dried rose petals and dried cherries
anise seeds and chopped dates
There are no rules as to what you can use but there a few things to keep in mind:
- Roasted nuts and seeds are always preferred to unroasted, as they are crunchier and more flavorful.
- Dried, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and fresh fruits can all be used. Keep in mind that with fresh fruits, it is best to eat the bark on the day that it is made since the moisture in the fruit will “unstick” the fruit after a day or so.
- Right after you sprinkle the chocolate with the toppings, jiggle the tray a little bit to settle them into the chocolate. This helps them really get stuck in the bark. It’s not the end of the world if you forget. I actually forgot to do it this time and the only issue is that more of the topping than usual will dislodge when you break apart the bark.
A quick dessert that you can whip up with ingredients you may already have on hand, this chocolate bark is also great for bringing along to a party and, when wrapped up nicely, makes a brilliant homemade gift!
- Dark, Bittersweet, Semisweet, or other good quality, non-dairy chocolate (I used 500g or a little over 1lb this time)
- Whatever toppings you'd like (Nuts, seeds, fruits, spices, herbs, broken cookies, puffed grains, and/or teas)
- Get all of your toppings ready and keep them handy.
- Place a heat-safe glass bowl over a gently simmering pot filled with about an inch of water. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and put it into the glass bowl. Heat the chocolate gently, stirring occasionally with a spatula. When you see that the chocolate is about ¾ of the way melted, remove the bowl from the heat. You want there to still be small, unmelted chunks of chocolate. If you remove it after all the chocolate has already melted, you may have broken the temper of the chocolate. (If this happens, you can fix it, see Notes below.)
- By now, you've been gently mixing the chocolate and all the residual heat left in the glass bowl should have melted the chocolate. You may notice that there are still small chunks of unmelted chocolate or that the consistency is not as runny as you'd expect--that's OK!
- Now pour the chocolate onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet and, using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer--whatever thickness you desire.
- Now sprinkle your toppings onto the spreaded chocolate and gently jiggle the pan to cement the toppings in.
- Allow to cool at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is warm or you are in a hot climate) until the chocolate has solidified and set. Using your hands, break the chocolate bark into odd-shaped pieces and serve.
-I know others have had great success with chocolate tempering in the microwave, but I've never had luck with it. Even when I use short 5 second heatings, I still find that it overheats the chocolate and breaks the temper. I only use the double boiler method now.