Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bark

I have a big birthday celebration I will be attending for my grandmother in the new few days, and of course with that comes the age-old dilemma of what to get her.  Since she is older, she is not so interested in lots of material possessions, but luckily she put in a request dark chocolate.  She doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth, but she always has a piece of dark chocolate after dinner or with her tea.

Bark

Now I could have been lazy and just bought some generic dark chocolate bar or box, but that didn’t seem special enough for the occasion.  Thus I decided I would make my own Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bark for her to enjoy.  Something unique, special and made with love just for her.

It is one of the easiest things to make and the best thing is that you can customize the bar to each person’s tastes. I used fruit & nuts for hers as these are her favorites, and like I said she isn’t a huge fan of sweet things.  I on the other hand, if I were making it for myself, would use milk or white chocolate topped with gummy candies (gummy bears & worms) and marshmallows… yum! Whatever version you choose to make though, the result is the same, you get a great personal gift that you can package up nicely.  Plus who doesn’t like chocolate!

Here are the directions of how I made my bark, so give it a go:

Ingredients:

  • 3 bars of dark chocolate
  • Candied Ginger
  • Candied orange peel
  • Blanched almonds
  • Pistachios

 Instructions:

1. Start by prepping the toppings you will be adding onto the bark.  So chop up the candied ginger, candied orange peel, the almonds and the pistachios. Once prepped, put them to the side.

Ginger
GingerDried Orange PeelDried Orange PeelPistachiosPistachiosAlmondsAlmonds

 2. Take the bar of chocolate and cut it into smaller pieces so that it can melt easier.  Put 2 and ½ bars worth in a microwaveable bowl and place the remaining ½ to one side.

Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Bar

Chopped Chocolate3. Before melting the chocolate, take a cookie tray with a deep lip and line it with parchment paper. This will make getting out the bark later a lot easier.

4. Place the microwaveable bowl with the chocolate into the microwave and heat for one minute on high.  Take it out, stir and place back into the microwave for another 30 seconds.  Keep repeating this process until it is all melted, but do it slowly so as not to over heat the chocolate (especially if you choose to use white chocolate). You know its ready when there are still a few small-unmelted bits that will melt by just simply stirring.

5. At this point, when it’s all melted, add the remaining half bar to the bowl and continue stirring until this melts into the rest of the chocolate.  The reason for this is so that it cools down and it’s also an easier way to temper the chocolate in order to keep its glossy shine.

6. Once everything is melted, pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking tray and using a spoon or spatula gently spread it out so that there is an even layer of chocolate.

Melted chocolate in tray
Melted chocolate in tray

7. Now comes the fun part! Start adding your toppings, and I found that it worked best layer by layer.  Thus I started with the ginger, then orange, then pistachios and finally almonds.  By doing this you will receive a much more even distribution of the toppings.

Ginger & Orange Topping Layers
Ginger & Orange Topping Layers

8. Then leave the bark to cool for several hours at room temperature.  Don’t put it in the fridge as yes it will cool faster, but it will also start to melt as soon as you take it out of the fridge again.

Final Bark9. Once its solid and cooled, using the edges of the parchment paper, pull the bark out of the tray and start to break it roughly into large chunks or as big as you would like them to be.  Then package them nicely. I chose to use a box lined with parchment paper and tied with a ribbon.

Broken bark in the gift box
Broken bark in the gift box

And voila!  You now have a lovely present for that special someone.

Topping ideas:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Coconut
  • Caramel
  • Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Candy
  • Sprinkles
  • Marshmallows
  • Pop rocks
  • Jelly Beans
  • Chili or other spices
  • Popcorn
  • Broken cookies/cookie crumbs

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