This chocolate bark recipe is salty and sweet, with the perfect crisp texture in each bite! Here’s how to make this fun and giftable treat.
We’re chocoholics over here, so one of our top treats to make is Chocolate Bark! This one is sweet and salty, with a confetti of colorful ingredients and absolutely irresistible. It’s the best fun treat that makes a great gift. We used cranberries, pistachios, coconut and sea salt for the toppings, but it’s totally customizable based on your preferences. Here’s how to make the perfect chocolate bark: with a smooth, shiny sheen on the chocolate and just the right crisp crunch when you bite into it.
Tips for making the best chocolate bark
There are a few tips to making the very best chocolate bark. You can skip down to the recipe if you’re ready to get started. But here are a few more details on the why behind the what of each step in the process:
- Temper the chocolate! Many chocolate bark recipes don’t require tempering the chocolate, but it makes a far superior bark. The chocolate has just the right shiny texture and crisp crunch, and doesn’t melt at room temp. It also avoids chocolate bloom, that white stuff that appears during storage.
- Use semi sweet or dark chocolate, around 60%. We found 60% dark chocolate has the best flavor. 70% is a bitter too bittersweet.
- Add mix-ins into the chocolate AND on top. Adding the mix-ins into the chocolate gives the best crunchy texture. (All of them on top makes it a little one-note.)
How to temper chocolate
Chocolate is temperamental: period! But to make the best chocolate bark, we like to temper the chocolate. It’s a special process that heats and cools the chocolate to stabilize it for making candies. As we mentioned above, it makes the most stable texture, shiny exterior, and avoids the white “bloom” that can appear on chocolate during storage. Here are a few notes on tempering chocolate:
- You’ll need a food thermometer. Don’t have one? Skip to the next section. This helps to achieve the precise temperatures that are required.
- Don’t get water in the chocolate. This is the #1 rule! You’ll be melting the chocolate over simmering water but do NOT let it touch the chocolate or it will seize up.
- Melt 2/3 of the chocolate to 108 to 115°F, add the remaining chocolate and reduce to 85 to 86°F, then return the chocolate to 90 to 91°F. That’s the basic idea of tempering! Start high, go low, then return to the middle. There’s lots of science behind it, so trust us.
Don’t have a food thermometer?
Tempering chocolate is the way to get the best chocolate bark. But don’t have a food thermometer? That’s ok too! You can make it without tempering and it’s still good. Here’s what to know:
- Melt the chocolate over simmering water. Use the “makeshift” double boiler method below, or a double boiler. You can use a microwave to melt chocolate, but it’s not our preference since it’s easy to go too far.
- Skip the tempering and just use the chocolate when it’s melted. Add the mix-ins, pour in a thin layer and add toppings.
Chocolate bark toppings!
Once you’ve made it through the chocolate stage, making chocolate bark is a breeze! For this bark we used cranberries, pistachios, coconut and smoked salt. The combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, tropical and smoky was perfection! The smoked salt is not required, but if you can find it, it adds a unique element (if not, use sea salt). Of course, you can use any type of mix-ins you like. Here are a few more ideas when it comes to chocolate bark toppings:
- Nuts like pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts
- Seeds like pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds
- Dried fruit like dried cranberries, dried cherries, apricots, dried blueberries, freeze dried strawberries
- Crystalized ginger
- Pretzels broken into pieces
- Peppermint candies, crushed
- Chopped candies of any kind
- Crushed potato chips
Chocolate bark storage
What’s the best way to store homemade chocolate bark? Chocolate bark stays most stable chilled , so we suggest keeping in the refrigerator or freezer. Store it in an airtight container at refrigerated for up to 3 weeks or frozen for 3 months.
More chocolate recipes
Are you a choco-holic like we are? Here are our top chocolate recipes to make when we’re craving a treat:
- Grab quick and easy Chocolate Covered Bananas
- Make the Ultimate Chocolate Mug Cake in the microwave
- Mix up tasty No Bake Chocolate Cookies
- Make homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
This chocolate bark recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate (50% to 60%)
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped pistachios
- ⅓ cup large coconut flakes
- ½ teaspoon chunky sea salt (or smoked sea salt)
Note: If you don’t have a food thermometer, simply melt the chocolate over a double boiler per the instructions below, then proceed to Step 5.
- Prep: Start a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Chop the chocolate into 1/2-inch chunks. In a heat-proof bowl that is completely dry that will fit over the pan of simmering water, add about 2/3 of the chocolate chunks. We used a small metal bowl; you can also use a double boiler if you have one. Make sure not to get any water into the chocolate, since it will cause the chocolate to seize up! (There are fixes for seized chocolate but it’s not pretty.)
- Melt the chocolate to a temperature of 108 to 115°F: Hold the bowl with the chocolate above the other saucepan with boiling water to create a double boiler (or use your double boiler). Place a towel on counter next to the stove so that you can transfer the bowl to the counter as necessary and avoid any water getting into the bowl. Hold the bowl of chocolate over the simmering water for a few seconds, until the chocolate starts to melt. Remove from the bowl to the towel and stir and stir to continue melting. Check the temperature with a food thermometer, and continue going back and forth from the water for a few seconds to the towel until fully melted. The target temperature is 108 to 115°F, but do not allow the chocolate to go higher than 115°F.
- Add the unmelted chocolate and reduce to 85 to 86°F: Once the chocolate is fully melted and at 108 to 115°F, add the remaining third of the unmelted chocolate (called seed chocolate) and stir constantly until it melts and the chocolate temperature falls to 85 to 86°F. This will take up to 10 minutes, but it is worth the wait! Stir regularly for the entire time to ensure an even temperature. (While it melts, you can chop the pistachios.)
- Heat back to 90 to 91°F: When the chocolate is 85°F, return the bowl of chocolate to above the pan of simmering water for a couple seconds at a time until climbs back to 90 to 91°F. Now the chocolate is tempered!
- Add mix-ins and spread in a thin layer: Add half the cranberries, chopped pistachios and coconut flakes to the melted chocolate and stir until fully combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the parchment paper in an even layer to a size of about 8″ by 11″. Sprinkle the remaining toppings over the top, crushing the coconut and chunky sea salt with your fingers to make smaller pieces.
- Refrigerate: Refrigerate at 30 minutes until hardened. When hard, cut into irregular 2 to 3 inch pieces with a butter knife. Store in an airtight container at refrigerated for up to 3 weeks or frozen for 3 months.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Tempering
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: Chocolate bark, chocolate bark recipes