The Bark Is As Good As The Bite

I've got a sweet tooth. If I had my way, I'd eat ice cream or something decadent every single day. In fact, sometimes I'd rather eat dessert than dinner. And, often times, I do.

But I have been trying to minimize my sugar consumption lately and avoiding desserts in general. So at night, if I want a little sweet, I choose a few pieces of dark chocolate. And that really hits the spot.

Though it's nice sometimes to have a richer, sweet treat that may make you feel guilty. Needless to say, I went on a search for a recipe I could make using dark chocolate and stumbled upon utter perfection. Bark.

What I love about it is that you can make the bark based on whatever you have on hand. All you need is 2 cups of chocolate to melt and your choice of nuts and dried fruit.

I used almonds and dried cherries, though I think almonds and coconut will be what I choose for round 2. Cranberries and walnuts would also be a great combination. Pumpkin seeds and apricots would be lovely as well. Get crazy or use up some leftover dried fruits and nuts you've got lying around.

This recipe is so simple, elegant and utterly decadent, you may find an excuse to make it all the time.

They say that the bark is worse than the bite. In this case, the bark is as good as the bite.

Buen provecho!

Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruit and Nuts
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from Christmas Chocolate Bark on Elana's Pantry

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You can modify this recipe using whatever dried fruit and nuts you prefer or have on hand. Alternatively, you could leave out the dried fruit and just add nuts. Or vice versa. Toast the nuts for added depth of flavor or leave them raw. It's your bark, do with it as you please. For the holidays, dress the bark up with red (dried cranberries or dried cherries) and green (pistachios or pumpkin seeds). Add toasted, shredded unsweetened coconut or even coarse sea salt for additional flavor dimensions.

2 cups chocolate chips or discs (I use a combination of about 70% dark and 30% milk chocolate; definitely use 70% cacao dark chocolate or higher if you can find it)
1/3 cup nuts, raw and unsalted, toasted or untoasted (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, hazelnuts)
1/3 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots)

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat.

If you are using toasted nuts, toast the nuts in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes while the chocolate is melting.

Place a piece of parchment paper in an 8x8 glass Pyrex baking dish. Alternatively, you could place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and create a more rustic bark.

When the chocolate is melted, pour the chocolate into the parchment paper lined baking dish or baking sheet. Sprinkle the nuts and dried fruit over the chocolate.

Using a metal spatula or offset spatula, spread the mixture evenly back and forth to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Allow bark to set in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Break into rustic shapes or cut into squares.

  • Add 1/4 cup toasted, unsweetened shredded coconut (bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes) to the bark
  • Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
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