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DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH FRUIT AND NUTS


Top down view of a plate of dark chocolate bark with fruit and nuts, surrounded by the ingredients for chocolate bark: chocolate, ground flax, almonds, pistachios, pepitas, and cherries.

Are you a chocolate lover in search of healthy dessert recipes? This dark chocolate bark recipe is just what you need! Made with dark chocolate, dried cherries, a variety of nuts and seeds, and hidden ground flaxseed this dark chocolate fruit and nut bark satisfies your sweet tooth without all the guilt. It is also the perfect treat for those who love a sweet and salty combo.


One of my favorite things about this dessert is that is feels super fancy but is very easy to make! I’ve seen bars of chocolate like this at specialty shops for high prices. But why pay when you can make an awesome batch at home? I hope you love this healthy dark chocolate bark recipe as much as I do!


TELL ME ABOUT THIS HEALTHY DARK CHOCOLATE BARK RECIPE


Level of difficulty: Easy. Melting chocolate requires close attention to ensure it does not seize. I’ve written out a few notes for you in the ‘tips & tricks’ section below.

Flavor: The ultimate sweet and salty dessert– dark chocolate is accented by the salty nuts and seeds with little pops of extra sweetness from the cherries.

Texture: This dark chocolate bark recipe has the same feel and texture of a chocolate bar but has a little extra crunch to it from the nuts and seeds.

Time: Including prep and cool time, plan for about 30 minutes to make this healthy dark chocolate bark recipe. Note that this timing assumes you cool your chocolate bark in the refrigerator. If you’d prefer to let your chocolate bark set at room temperature, you’ll need to add about 2 hours or so to your timeframe (I can never wait that long!).


Plate stacked high with this healthy dark chocolate bark recipe.

KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH FRUIT AND NUTS


Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 70% or higher is known to be a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. You will need 10 ounces of dark chocolate for this recipe (a common size for a bag of chocolate chips or two and a half baking bars). I’ve used a variety of dark chocolates for this dark chocolate fruit and nut bark recipe. I’ve used both dark chocolate chips and dark chocolate baking bars, and have ended up with great chocolate bark every time. I will say that using a higher quality chocolate (like a Ghirardelli 70% dark chocolate baking bar) resulted in a smoother melted chocolate which translated to a really enjoyable chocolate bark.

Ground Flaxseed (aka Ground Flax): You can use either brown flax or golden flax in this recipe. Golden flax has a milder flavor than brown flaxseed varieties. If you’ve never had flax before, the flavor profile for this ingredient is a mild, nutty flavor. It’s also a great source of omega-3s, fiber, and many other nutrients!

Almonds: I like to use roasted and lightly salted almonds in this bark recipe.

Pistachios: You can buy standard pistachios and de-shell them yourself or purchase pistachios without shells to save time!

Pepitas: I generally use roasted and salted pepitas for this chocolate bark recipe.

Dried Cherries: I’ve used both sweetened tart dried cherries and unsweetened tart dried cherries for this healthy dark chocolate bark recipe…both were great! I am near to an area that is known for it’s cherry production, so may have more options that you see in your local grocery store. Whatever dried cherries you can find near you should work well.

Optional – Flakey Sea Salt: If topping your desserts with a pinch of large flake sea salt is your jam, this sweet and salty chocolate bark recipe is a great option for that little extra pop of salt. I personally have not added this on my dark chocolate bark with fruit and nuts because I found the salt from the roasted and salted almonds and pepitas was a good level of sweet and salty for me. However, several of my taste testers commented that they’d want to add it on theirs when they make it. You do you!



OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH FRUIT AND NUTS


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper: line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I like to binder clip my parchment to the sides so it doesn’t move!) and set aside.

  2. Rough chop your nuts, seeds, and dried cherries: on a medium sized cutting board, roughly chop your toppings to ensure you do not have any full-sized pieces (a full sized almond or pistachio on top of your chocolate bark is less enjoyable than smaller pieces). Mix all topping pieces together and set aside.

  3. Melt the chocolate with the ground flax: In a double boiler over medium-high heat, add your chocolate and ground flax. Stir frequently until chocolate has melted and is smooth.

  4. Spread melted chocolate on baking sheet: Spread your melted chocolate into a thin, even layer on your lined baked sheet. Note: it does not have to go all the way to the edges (I usually have a 1-2” gap between the edge of my chocolate and the edge of my pan depending on what sized cookie sheet I use).

  5. Sprinkle toppings evenly over chocolate: sprinkle your chopped nuts, seeds, and cherries evenly over the melted and spread chocolate. Make sure to go all the way to the edges!

  6. Cool: Place your pan of chocolate bark in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has set.

  7. Break into pieces: once the chocolate is set, use your hands to break the chocolate bark into 20-30 pieces.

  8. Store in an air-tight container: you can store your dark chocolate bark in an air-tight container in the fridge or on your counter for up to one week (if it lasts that long!).


Side view of a plate stacked with dark chocolate bark with fruit and nuts, surrounded by the ingredients for chocolate bark: chocolate, ground flax, almonds, pistachios, pepitas, and cherries.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH FRUIT AND NUTS


What’s the best way to melt chocolate? Melting chocolate can be frustrating if your chocolate seizes up (and it happens to the best of us). There are a few methods to melt chocolate. I have the most consistent success using a double boiler over medium heat on the stove (you can also create a double boiler effect using a small saucepan plus a glass or metal bowl, like this). Alternatively, melting chocolate in the microwave is another option but you need to make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it frequently. If melting in the microwave, I recommend heating in 20-second increments, stirring in between (you’ll check the melt-status of your chocolate as you stir). Once you see almost all of the chocolate ‘lumps’ are gone, continue to stir to encourage it to melt without additional heat. Your chocolate is ready once it is totally smooth.


What if I don’t have (or don’t like) some of the toppings noted in this recipe? That’s a-ok my friend. Overall, this dark chocolate fruit and nut bark has ½ cup of toppings (2 Tablespoons each of 4 types of nuts/seeds/fruit). So, if you’d like to swap out for a different nut, seed, and/or dried fruit, go for it!


I’m new to ground flax...how do I store it? Welcome to the wonderful world of flaxseed! Ground flax should be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer. This helps prevent your flaxseed from going rancid. Flax will stay fresh up to 6 months when stored in the fridge, and up to 1 year when stored in the freezer. You can simply place your closed package of ground flax in a gallon sized Ziplock bag with the air squeezed out, or transfer it to a different container with a lid - whatever is easiest for you!



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