Dark Chocolate Bark for Your Sweetie
Dark Chocolate Bark, finished result
Dark Chocolate Bark, finished result
Dark Chocolate Bark, finished result

Dark Chocolate Bark for Your Sweetie

An easy and tasty homemade chocolate treat to celebrate a holiday, anniversary, birthday and more!

If you’re thinking about making a treat for your special someone, how about chocolate bark topped with sweet and salty morsels? It’s easy to make, pretty to look at, and a welcome gift for the lucky person who gets it.

It’s as easy as melting whatever chocolate you like (milk, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet), then sprinkling on tasty toppings — some of my favorite combinations are cashews/apricots/cranberries, or a jumble of mixed/salted nuts, or roasted/unsalted nuts with a splash of crunchy, flavored salt. You can make it using the easy method of melting chocolate, pouring it out and topping it with good stuff OR you can temper the chocolate first — it gradually reduces the temperature, resulting in a shiny finish and a ’snap’ when you break it, but it definitely takes more time and patience. Both yield yummy results, but if you’re in a hurry, try the non-tempering method, like this recipe — a mix of bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate so it’s not too sweet, topped with crunchy almonds, tart cherries (all good stuff for the heart) and sweet apricots.

Easy Chocolate Bark (recipe courtesy of Nicole Coudal)

1 c. bittersweet chocolate pieces*

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate pieces*

1 c. roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped

1 c. dried cherries, roughly chopped

1/2 c. dried apricots, roughly chopped

1) Spread parchment paper over a large, rimmed baking sheet.

2) Add chocolate pieces to the bowl of a double boiler over low-simmering water; stir frequently so it melts slowly.

3) Remove bowl from heat and towel dry. 

4) Pour chocolate onto parchment and spread with a rubber spatula until you have about 3” of paper all around (it will be thin/thick, depending on how you spread it).

5) While warm, sprinkle with nuts/fruit, lightly pressing pieces into the chocolate.

6) Refrigerate at least 2 hours, then break into chunks.

(*I used Ghirardelli morsels from the grocery store, but it's even better if you use Valrhona or Scharffen-Berger.)

Ultimately, if you decide cooking isn’t for you (or you simply run out of time), here are some local spots where you can definitely pick up a sweet treat:

1) Morton’s Gourmet Market (for fine chocolates or pastries)

2) Nothing Bundt Cakes (tasty, miniature Bundt cakes)

3) Mixon Fruit Farms (specialty assortments, and a Valentine’s Fruit Favorite)

4) Der Dutchman (cut out sugar cookies and an assortment of strawberry cakes)

5) Siesta Key Rum (surely there will be something here to delight)

6) Sarasota Honey Company (local honey, honey candy and more)

7) Crescent Beach Grocery (always a tasty selection of pies and baked goods)

8) Sift Bakehouse (cookies, cupcakes and specialty cakes)

9) Banyan Tree Chocolate & Cafe (MANY chocolate treats)

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Nicole Coudal is a writer and home-chef based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Read more at www.MyDeliciousBlog.com.

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