Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

Okay, eagle eyes, this is not a cookie recipe! But for something as impressive as these chocolate bark variations, it was too easy for me not to share it with you in the run up to the holidays. If you’ve got people coming over this weekend or early next week, this is a pretty impressive sweet to lay on them after dinner or a gorgeous treat to wrap up in a small tin.

I was a bit nervous to make bark as I have limited experience working with chocolate. But after spending some time reading what David Lebovitz and Stephanie Jaworski have to say, and taking a walk down the street to the awesome Soma Chocolate to pick up some spectacular ingredients I felt prepared. What turns out to be the only tricky part is tempering. So, when you buy a nice bar of chocolate and it’s a bit cool to the touch, it’s shiny and doesn’t melt the second you touch it – that’s because it’s been tempered. When chocolate looks dusty or grey? It’s not bad, it’s that the cocoa butter has just risen to the surface. You could absolutely make bark without tempering it, but it wouldn’t be quite as glossy and or have the nice snap you get from tempered chocolate.

chocolate-bark
photo by Maya Visnyei

But I’m making it sound complicated and it isn’t. All you really need to know is that you melt some of your chocolate and then stir in unmelted chocolate to lower the temperature, and stir the heck out of it, which helps create the right crystallization required. I made this bark a few times in a week and each time it came out beautifully. People love cookies but they are really knocked out by chocolates. If you’ve got a little time, it’s well worth the effort. Go for any kind of topping you like – I’m keen on a salty plus sweet combo but the coconut was pretty amazing, too.

Chocolate Bark

Ingredients

  • 16 oz (450 grams) of good quality chocolate
  • pretzels
  • sea salt
  • dried cranberries
  • coconut
  • almonds

Method

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

If you've got a thermometer, have it handy, too.

Prepare all of your toppings exactly as you like them and have them ready to go.

I toasted my coconut by placing it into a dry pan over direct medium heat for just a couple of minutes until it started browning.

Chop your nuts if you're going to use them

Chop your chocolate into small pieces.

Keep about 1/3 of the chocolate on the chopping board.

With the rest place it in a double boiler or a bowl resting over a pot of simmering water.

Gently melt the chocolate and then take it off the heat.

Remove the bowl from over the pot and place it on the counter.

Now, in small batches, add the remaining chocolate.

Stir each small handful into the melted chocolate until it all melts, stirring with a spatula all the while. Keep adding more chocolate and letting it melt as you stir.

You want the temperature to drop to between 88 or 91 degrees F (31 or 33 degrees C).

If you don't have a thermometer, place a dab of chocolate on your lower lip and it should feel about body temperature.

Pour the lovely, glossy chocolate onto the parchment and use your spatula to spread it out into a rectangle.

Now just sprinkle your toppings right on there.

You can allow your bark to firm up at room temperature or you can chill it in the fridge.

Once it is really firm, gently lift the bark off the baking sheet with the parchment.

Use a heavy knife to break your bark into pieces as big or as small as you like.

I've heard bark will last up to two weeks in an air tight container for up to two weeks. I can't speak to that personally. Ours disappeared in about two days.

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. kara
    December 28, 09:40 Reply

    try crushed candy cane… peppermint bark is my favourite!

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