Simple, quick, scrumptious, and quick and easy project for kids and grown-ups alike. Spice and mix up chocolate bark any way you like, with whatever you have on hand. Or leave it pure and just have fun playing with chocolate!
Melt as little or much chocolate as you wish. I give a measurement in the ingredient list as a starting point for a decent-sized batch that can serve a crowd.
For French-style chocolate bark, sprinkle the garnishes on top the poured chocolate. Otherwise, mix the garnishes in before spreading the melted chocolate for American-style bark.
- About 8 ounces of semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
- small pieces of dried fruit
- sliced or chopped nuts
- crushed pretzels
- crystallized ginger or citrus peel, chopped into very small bits
- rice cereal (mix in before spreading)
- any flavor baking chips
- marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs for s'mores chocolate bark
- cake decorating sprinkles
How much of any garnish you use is a personal preference. Start small, as you can always add more as you mix.
Wash your hands, gather your ingredients, tools, and equipment. Mise en place! Everything in place!
- Cut, crush or dice any garnishes you're adding and set aside.
- Chop the chocolate. Roughly chop any solid bar of chocolate into small, like-sized pieces. Skip this step if using chocolate chips.
- Fill a small pot with about an inch of water, and place it over medium heat on the stove.
- Place about two-thirds of the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof, completely dry bowl, and set it on top of the pot. Be very careful not to let any drops of water near the bowl of chocolate, as even the tiniest bit of water will cause melted chocolate to seize, or harden.
- Melt over low heat, and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. You can also melt chocolate in the microwave. I recommend reducing the power to around 70%. Heat the chopped chocolate in a large bowl using thirty-second intervals. Stir between each 30-second burst.
- Let the melted chocolate cool slightly. If you have a kitchen thermometer, aim for around 95° F. But about five to ten minutes of cooling should be enough in a room temperature (72° F) kitchen.
- Add the reserved chopped chocolate and whisk or stir with a spatula until the melted chocolate is completely smooth. If all of the remaining chocolate doesn't melt with stirring, place the bowl back on the pot to warm it slightly and melt the remaining solid pieces.
- For American-style chocolate bark, mix in your garnishes, using as much or little as you like. The more you add, the chunkier and chewier the bark will be.
- On a silicone baking mat or a parchment paper-lined baking pan, pour and spread the chocolate into a loose rectangle. An offset spatula is a great tool for this, but you can use any wooden spoon or flexible spatula you have. No need for perfection, one of the beauties of chocolate bark is its imperfect shape. How thin or thick you spread the chocolate out is up to you. I aim for bark that's about a quarter-inch thick, like a typical chocolate bar.
- For French-style bark, sprinkle your garnishes now on top of the chocolate after pouring and spreading.
- Cool at room temperature until the chocolate bark is hard and set.
For Chocolate Bark Shapes
After spreading and garnishing the chocolate, let it cool until almost hard, but still pliable. Press and remove any shape cookie cutter into the bark and remove carefully. Repeat as many time as you like. Let the chocolate bark cool completely before pressing the shapes out of the whole. An easy way to get the shaped bark out is by pressing up from underneath the parchment or wax paper.
Cooling the melted chocolate a little will allow you to pour and spread it more easily. If it's too hot, the chocolate will spread quickly and you'll end up with thin chocolate paper instead of chunky bark. I find five to ten minutes of cooling is plenty, and aim for an 80°-90° F range after the reserved chocolate is added.
On Extra Chocolate
Don't be afraid to melt more chocolate than you think you might use. You can always cool it and reuse it. Simply pour any leftover melted chocolate out onto parchment or wax paper. Then wrap the paper around it and store it in an airtight container. Next time you make a recipe that calls for chocolate, simply chop it into small chunks or break it up into larger pieces to melt it again.
On Nutrition Facts
The Nutrition Information below is based on eight ounces of dark chocolate and a half of a cup of chopped pistachios and a few pinches of sea salt.
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