When it comes to “gift giving”, I love creating homemade recipes that pack a punch. Not only are they wonderful host/hostess gifts but they are downright delicious too.
One of the simplest things to make and take which is NO BAKE (yes, all that rhymes), is chocolate bark. And even if you’re not a baker, you can’t screw this recipe up. I swear. If you can melt chocolate, which is the easiest thing to do, you can make this in a blink of an eye.
This particular chocolate bark is both an all encompassing sensory treat. It’s great for gifting and it checks off all the boxes by being salty, sweet, crunchy, aromatic, and decadent. My rule of thumb is no matter what type of chocolate you use, make sure it’s good quality for the best flavour.
My favourite is 70% DARK chocolate but feel free to use any type your heart desires. I dediced to go with two different types of bark here – WHITE AND DARK. As for toppings? Once again, the sky is the limit. Just to show you how my “thinking cap” works, I had extra macarons from another recipe and decided to crush them and throw them onto the white chocolate. Not only did they look pretty, they made the bark taste amazing! You can literally throw just about anything on this bark with the exception of fish? Not joking. It’s one of the best treats EVAH.
What’s the key to melting chocolate perfectly? I have a few opinions on this method which I’m sure some of you would beg to differ on.
I have melted chocolate in the microwave many, many times. Do I love the consistency using that method? NOTSOMUCH.
I prefer using the old school method – I USE A POT AND A HEATPROOF BOWL because I’ve never owned a double boiler and this works just as well.
Here’s the pros and cons of using both methods….either way, you are going to end up with this simply beautiful bark and that’s all that matters, right?
Pro: Melting chocolate in the microwave oven is more convenient, faster and requires less dishes, BUT and this the CON part, there’s always a chance you will burn the chocolate due to the high temperatures of the microwave. Now, nobody loves burnt chocolate so in order to avoid this, you can 100% lower the wattage you are microwaving on and take the bowl of chocolate out every 30 seconds to stir it. The cooking process continues even after you take it out of the microwave so you can rest assured that even if you have a few chunks of chocolate, they will still melt if you let it sit.
Con: You need a bit more time to do this method and you will be cleaning two pots instead of one dish. Not a big deal in my books.
Con: You can absolutely still burn your chocolate if you’re not careful. This is one theory that doesn’t holds true for chocolate – “a watched pot never boils”. Well, it does with chocolate. You can’t leave it alone for a second.
Pro: The end result is worth it. Your chocolate will have a lovely sheen and beautiful consistency.
The stove top method involves melting the chocolate over hot water and here’s how to do it:
Firstly, break the chocolate into pieces into small pieces (I chop mine finely – this will ensure it will take less time to melt) and put it into a heatproof bowl or in the top of a double boiler. Set this over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl or boiler doesn’t touch the water.
Next, heat the chocolate very gently until it starts to melt, then stir regularly until completely melted.
The correct way of cooling your bark? Once again, you need time and patience. If you have both, let the chocolate bark cool at room temperature for a few hours. If you are in a rush, throw it into the fridge and let it harden quickly. The teensie issue with a quick cool in the fridge is that the chocolate can develop some light condensation on the surface. This is called a “sugar bloom”. It doesn’t affect the taste AT ALL but it isn’t as appealing to the eye.
Simple to make.
AND best of all, it tastes like a fancy treat.
- 5 cups good quality chocolate, melted
- ½ chopped dried fruit (you can use any dried fruit here)
- ½ cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup freeze dried strawberries or raspberries, lightly crush them through your fingers
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (I use this on the dark chocolate bark)
- Note: For the white bark I used crushed champagne flavoured macarons (totally optional but really yummy)
- Line a large baking sheet pan with parchment, wax paper or non-stick mat.
- Pour melted chocolate onto prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread out chocolate into a thin and even layer. Working quickly, sprinkle on your toppings (and sea salt for the dark chocolate bark) evenly over the entire surface. Gently press toppings into the chocolate. Let chocolate bark set completely on the counter or place in fridge to harden quickly.
- Transfer bark onto a large cutting board. I usually break off pieces even in size OR for a neater look you can heat the blade of a sharp knife under running hot water, wipe off wet blade with a clean towel, and cut bark into 2×2-inch strips to create individual squares. Make sure to reheat and clean off knife blade between each cut in order to keep the chocolate bark edges clean.
- Store the chocolate bark in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.