I first came across Chocolate Bark — chocolate bars sprinkled with assorted toppings — a couple of years ago when I was researching chocolate recipes. Since then, chocolate bark has become a hot food trend in Australia: many speciality chocolatiers make in-house versions and there are companies that specialise in customising chocolate bark as gifts.
If you think about the options regarding chocolate — dark, milk, white — and then consider the variations such as dark chocolate swirled with white chocolate or white swirled with milk, it’s clear that this is a trend that should satisfy even the pickiest amongst us.
That’s even before you get the toppings, too: I’ve eaten chocolate bark with different kinds of dried fruit (apricots, pineapple, mango, blueberries and gingko berries) nuts (roasted or natural almonds, pistachios, macadamias, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts), freeze-dried fruit (strawberries, pineapple and raspberries), salt flakes and even gold leaf for a deluxe touch.
I’ve used three different toppings for this dark chocolate Chocolate Bark — roasted almonds, dried cranberries and roasted coconut pieces — and it tastes fantastic. Almonds roasted with cinnamon, sugar and salt flakes would also make a great, alternative topping.
Chocolate Bark is a wonderful home-made gift for a chocolate lover, an easy accompaniment to post-dinner coffee and tea and a simple, every day treat. Once it’s set, simple break your bark up into pieces and store it in a small tin (wrapped in greaseproof paper) or a jar at room temperature. Chocolate bark can be stored in the fridge in high temperatures but chocolate tastes best when eaten at (a cool) room temperature so do take it out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before you eat it.
- 200 grams best quality dark chocolate
- 30 grams roasted almonds
- 15 grams roasted coconut pieces
- 15 grams dried cranberries
- Find a suitable casserole dish and line it with cling wrap, making sure the wrap goes up the edges of the dish.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in a suitable bowl. (I heat it on high for one minute, then stirred and then heat it again for about 40 seconds. I then stirred the half-melted chocolate until it fully melted. Oven times vary so be careful not to overcook or burn the chocolate - always try a shorter time at first.)
- Pour the chocolate into the dish, using a spatula to clean out the bowl.
- Pick the best looking fruit and nuts pieces and place them carefully on the chocolate in an attractive pattern.
- Cover with paper and leave to set on the kitchen bench.