Learn how to make dark chocolate bark, with simple tips on how to customize this delicious holiday treat and create your own unique combination of flavors.
December is no ordinary month. For many of us it’s a series of weekends spent baking, nights spent celebrating and houses filled with family and friends. An abundance of special occasions fill the calendar during this time.
Chocolate bark makes an elegant hostess gift or party favor for any holiday get-together you’re attending this year. It’s simple to prepare and a healthier indulgence in a season often filled with excess. Today, I’m sharing how to make your own homemade chocolate bark, including tips on how to customize it.
One of the best and easiest things to make at home during the holidays is chocolate bark. It’s easy and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It’s also simple to customize based on the likes and dislikes of your recipient. Just start with the basic chocolate bark recipe and add the toppings of your choice!
Here I’ve topped my dark chocolate bark with crunchy pumpkin seeds, shimmering bits of crystallized ginger, along with dried apricots and a sprinkle of sea salt. The salty, sweet combination is thoroughly addicting and the little zip from the ginger gives this bark just the right amount of heat but there are endless combinations to be made. Here’s what you’ll need:
(Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. As always find the full list of ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Dark Chocolate – Use either semi-sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate. Avoid chocolate chips and choose either chocolate discs which are meant for melting or chop your own chocolate bars for the best results.
- Nuts and Seeds – I’m using pumpkin seeds but you can substitute your favorite combination of nuts and seeds. Both raw and roasted seeds work here.
- Dried Fruit – I like a combination of crystallized ginger and dried apricots but again any combination of dried fruit will work. If you want a little shimmer choose at least one crystallized fruit like candied orange peel.
- Sea Salt - A few pinches of fleur de sel brings a nice bit of crunch and elegant touch to the chocolate bark but you can omit it if you’d prefer.
- Other Optional Add-Ins – Consider adding toasted coconut, chunks of gluten-free pretzels and cookies, festive sprinkles, candy canes or any other bits of candy you might have lying around.
How to Make Chocolate Bark:
(Here are the basic steps and some helpful tips on how to make the recipe. Find the full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- For chocolate bark that stays shiny and keeps it’s snap you’ll need to temper your chocolate. The easiest way to do this is the “Seed Method” where you add back some tempered chocolate to melted, now un-tempered chocolate. Basically you melt some but not all of your chocolate then add in the rest of the chocolate and stir until everything hits the right temperature. I give the directions for how to do this below but if you prefer to keep things simple you can simply melt all your chocolate and proceed with the recipe keeping in mind that your chocolate bark won’t have a shiny finish when it cools.
- Once you have your chocolate ready you’ll spread it out with a spatula across a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Now sprinkle the bark with your desired toppings, let it cool until set and it’s ready to enjoy!
Homemade chocolate pumpkin seed bark studded with ginger and apricots makes an elegant hostess gift or party favor for holiday get-togethers.
- ½ cup/ 2oz toasted pumpkin seeds (or nuts and seeds of choice)
- ¼ cup/ 1 oz dried apricots, thinly sliced (or dried fruit of choice)
- ¼ cup/ 1 oz crystallized or candied ginger, thinly sliced (or candied fruit of choice)
- 1 pound /16 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- A few pinches of fleur de sel
- Line an 11" x 17" baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the pumpkin seeds, apricots, and ginger in a bowl.
To temper chocolate:
- Using a microwave, place ¾ of chocolate in a microwave- bowl (set aside remaining chocolate). With bowl uncovered, heat chocolate for 30 seconds at 50 percent power and then stir with a rubber spatula. Repeat, heating for 30 seconds and stirring, until almost all the chocolate in the bowl is melted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Using an instant-read thermometer, check temperature of chocolate. It should be no more than 118°. If it hasn't reached desired temperature, continue to heat (in 10-second increments). Then add reserved chocolate and stir constantly until completely melted and smooth and thermometer reads 88° to 90°. Chocolate is now tempered.
To make bark:
- Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate in an even layer, about ¼ inch thick, on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with the nut and fruit mixture and a pinch of fleur de sel. Tap the pan to settle the toppings into the chocolate.
- Allow bark to cool until hard and use a sharp knife to cut into pieces.
- Wrap in gift boxes lined with decorative paper, or place in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.
- Use nuts and/or seeds of choice.
- Use dried fruit and/or crystallized fruit of choice.
- Use either semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.
- Optional Add-In's: toasted coconut flakes, gluten-free pretzels, gluten-free cookies (chopped), colored sprinkles, candy canes (chopped) or candy of choice.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.