This holiday season give your loved ones a DIY gift from the heart for the heart. Decadent and easy to make, this homemade bark is chock-full of heart-healthy toppings and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Mix and match with nuts, seeds, fruits and spices to create your own unique chocolates.
Choose your ingredients wisely to create an indulgent treat you can feel good about sharing with friends and family:
- Select toppings that are unsalted and unsweetened.
- Use bittersweet chocolate that has at least 60% cacao content or greater for less sugar and more health benefits.
Get your kids involved! Kids can:
- Pick out flavor combinations to add to the chocolate.
- Help chop or break up the toppings. Just add hard toppings to a zip top bag (with air deflated) and use a rolling pin to break apart.
- Add chocolate chips to the bowl and stir, pour and spread the melted chocolate.
- Sprinkle the toppings over the chocolate.
- Decorate boxes, bags and tags used for gifting the chocolates.
Tips for the cook:
- Use a completely dry bowl—water can cause chocolate to seize and clump together.
- Do not overheat the chocolate—this also can cause it to seize.
- Sprinkle or mix ingredients on top of the chocolate, or do both!
- Cool and store bark in a cool dry location.
Pictured, left to right:
- Curried Coconut Cashew Bark: ¼ teaspoon curry powder mixed into melted chocolate. Bark topped with toasted coconut flakes and chopped cashews.
- Pistachio Bark: Plain bark topped with chopped pistachios.
- Cranberry, Apricot, and Pumpkin Seed Bark: Plain bark topped with cranberries, dried apricot, and pepitas.
- Spicy Cinnamon Almond Bark: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper mixed into melted chocolate. Bark topped with chopped roasted almonds.
|Blueberries, dried or freeze-dried|
|Pepitas (raw, shelled pumpkin seeds)|
|Sunflower seeds, shelled|
|Toasted coconut flakes, unsweetened|
|1-10 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips, 60% cacao content or higher|
- Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Prepare any toppings and set aside.
- Add all but 2 ounces (about ⅓ cup) of chocolate chips to a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Make sure the bowl is completely dry before adding the chips.
- Microwave the chips for 40 seconds, remove and stir well. Return to the microwave and heat in 20-second intervals, (about 3 times) stirring well in between until the chips have just melted. Add the reserved chips (and any spices, if using) and stir until all the chocolate is melted and glossy. Do not overheat.
- Immediately pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper in a large rectangular shape. Spread evenly with a spatula into your desired thickness, about ⅛ inch to ¼ inch thick.
- Immediately sprinkle toppings over the melted chocolate. Set chocolate aside in the coolest room in your house (make sure your pets can’t reach it!) until completely hardened, about 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces and store for up to one week in an air-tight container in a cool location.