Chocolate bark is a delicious and lovely treat to prepare as an easy after dinner dessert, or during the holidays as a decadent little edible gift. My mouthwatering chocolate bark recipe is prepared with dark chocolate swirled with a touch of white chocolate, then topped with a colorful mixture of chopped pistachios, cranberries, apricots and roasted almonds for lots of texture and sweet flavor!
A Sweet and Crunchy Chocolate Indulgence
The holiday season is a wonderful time for indulgent desserts and sweet treats, and when we can share those goodies with family and friends, and delight them even just a little, there's nothing better.
Being a lover of all things chocolate, this year I thought it'd be a fantastic treat to share my favorite chocolate bark recipe here, one utterly brimming with lots of texture and color fit for this lovely and sparkly time of year!
Easy to prepare, this festive chocolate bark recipe features a base of dark chocolate with a sweet swirl of creamy white chocolate, plus a generous sprinkle of chopped pistachios and roasted almonds for crunch, as well as sweet and plump dried cranberries, and chopped dried apricots.
The flavor combination is a little bit sweet and fruity, a little nutty too, with a crunchy-chewy texture that is absolutely delectable when it comes to chocolate bark.
There's a sweet surprise in each and every bite of this wonderful, chocolate goody, and it makes this chocolate bark a delectable after-dinner treat when you're looking for an easy dessert, or the perfect edible item to drop into cello bags as gifts for guests!
My Recipe for Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruit and Crunchy Nuts
While there are some chocolate bark recipes that may call for tempering the chocolate, which requires checking the temperature of the melting chocolate, I must admit that this is far too exacting a process for me.
I prefer to keep things simple, so I melt both dark and white chocolates, separately, using the double boiler method, just until I see that the chocolate is completely smooth, glossy and melted.
Once I prepare the chocolate bark, I then like to place it into the refrigerator to set up and harden, which gives the bark a nice snap. I also like to store my cut-up pieces of chocolate bark in the fridge as well, to keep it fresh, cool, and with that nice snap for up to a couple of weeks...if it even lasts that long! 😉
I love the color combination of the green pistachios, the red cranberries, roasted almonds and dried apricots for this more festive bark, but you could use your favorite combination of toppings.
Some other terrific options for toppings are cashews, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, dried cherries, dried currents, or raisins. Even a sprinkle of candied and minced orange peel is delicious!
Just make sure that the toppings you choose compliment each other flavor-wise, if you decide to get creative.
As far as the chocolate goes, when it comes to the dark chocolate, opt for good quality chocolate bars rather than chocolate chips when preparing chocolate bark, and simply chop those by hand using a sharp knife.
Chocolate chips have some additives and tend to be a bit more difficult to work with and to spread out once melted, as opposed to the bars, which tend to be easier to smooth out and spread to the desired thickness.
Here's a sneak peek at my chocolate bark recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare/chop my chocolate bark toppings to have ready and on hand to sprinkle over the melted chocolate, which will slowly begin to set once spread. I also chop my dark chocolate bars by hand.
- Next, I line a large baking sheet (12 by 17 inches) with parchment paper, and have that ready to pour and spread my melted chocolate over for the bark.
- Then, I melt both the dark chocolate and the white chocolate chips, separately, in bowls set over simmering water, just until melted and smooth. (And when ready to pour, I wipe off the bottoms of the warm bowls to avoid water dripping into the melted chocolate.)
- To prepare the chocolate bark, I pour the dark chocolate onto my prepared baking sheet first, and using an offset spatula or small rubber spatula, I gently smooth and spread it out to about ¼ inch thickness.
- Then, I dollop little spoonfuls of the melted white chocolate over top of the dark, and gently swirl that into my desired design using a skewer or the point of a sharp knife.
- Next, I sprinkle over my chopped nuts and dried fruit, plus a teeny pinch of flaky sea salt (optional), then place the chocolate bark into the fridge to firm and harden for at least an hour or two.
- Once hardened, I lift the parchment paper with the chocolate bark from the baking sheet, place it onto a cutting board, and using a large sharp knife, cut the chocolate into different size and shape pieces for a rustic look.
- I store my chocolate bark pieces in a covered container or ziplock bag in the fridge until ready to serve, for up to 2 weeks.
by Ingrid Beer
This chocolate bark sprinkled with pistachios, roasted almonds, cranberries and apricots makes for an easy dessert or a lovely gift to share!
Yield: Serves 16
Nutrition Info: 283 calories per serving (2 ounce pieces)
Prep Time: 25 minutes (does not include chill time)
Cook time: 10 minutes (to melt chocolate)
Total time: 35 minutes
- ⅓ cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
- ⅓ cup raw shelled pistachios, larger nuts chopped
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup dried apricots (about 8 to 10 apricots), chopped
- 1 ¼ pounds dark chocolate bars (20 ounces), chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
- Pinch flaky sea salt, optional
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To melt the chocolate, place the chopped dark chocolate into a double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl set over top of a pot filled with water (do not let the bowl touch the water). In a separate bowl, do the same with the white chocolate chips (or, you can melt those slowly in the microwave in 30 second intervals since it's a smaller quantity).
- Bring the water in your double boiler or pots to a simmer and slowly allow both chocolates to melt, gently stirring them occasionally, to help the chocolate melt completely and become glossy.
- While the chocolates melt, line a large baking sheet (12 by 17 inches) with parchment paper, to have on hand and ready to pour the melted chocolate onto.
- Once the chocolate is melted, wipe the bottom of the bowls so that no water drips into your chocolate bark. Pour the dark chocolate onto your prepared parchment-lined baking sheet, using a rubber spatula to scrape every bit out. Then, using an offset spatula (or the rubber spatula), gently smooth and spread the melted chocolate towards the edges of the baking sheet until it is even and quite thin, about ¼ inch in thickness.
- Next, dollop spoonfuls of the melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate, and using a wooden skewer, drag the skewer back and forth across, as well as up and down, through the white chocolate starting at the top making your way towards the bottom, to create a decorative swirl.
- Evenly sprinkle over your almonds, pistachios, cranberries and apricots, plus the flaky sea salt if using, and place the chocolate bark into the fridge to harden for at least 1 to 2 hours.
- Once hardened, use a sharp knife to cut the bark into uneven shards, then peel those away from the parchment and place into either ziplock bags or into a covered container and store the bark in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chocolate Bark recipe:
- Chill in the fridge, or at room temp: When you've prepared your bark and are ready for it to harden, you can opt to either allow it to set in the fridge (my personal choice), or at room temp, especially if the kitchen is cool. I prefer the fridge, because it's quick, and gives the bark a distinct snap, and keeps the bark a constant temperature. (It's also best to keep it cold until ready to enjoy or serve, for that nice "snap".) If you opt to use then room temp method, it may not have quite as much of crisp “snap” when biting into pieces of the bark. It also may “bloom” (become gray and spotty) if it gets too warm at room temp.
- Dark chocolate bars, for a balance of flavor: While you can substitute milk chocolate bars for this bark if you prefer, I like to use dark chocolate bars to offset some of the sweetness from the white chocolate, and offer a bit more “depth”. Dark chocolate is terrific with nuts and dried fruits, and if you add an optional sprinkle of flaky salt, the flavor really comes through.
- Choice of toppings for chocolate bark: You can prepare chocolate bark with a combo of all nuts, if you prefer, or all dried fruit, instead of using both. Some other tasty crunchy toppings are peanuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or even sunflower seeds. Other dried fruits that work well are cherries, golden raisins, currents, dried peaches, or candied orange peel.
- How to store homemade chocolate bark: While you can store chocolate bark in a covered container at room temp, I prefer to store it in a covered container or ziplock bag in the fridge. This way, the temperature is constant (better for chocolate), and it keeps the bark cool with a nice snap. It also stays fresher a bit longer that way.