This festive holiday dark chocolate bark with strawberries
and almonds is the perfect blend of rich, sweet and salty.
This bark makes the perfect gift, that is, if you can stop yourself from eating it all before you gift it. Spoiler, I ate at least half of my batch; it's that good!
The nice thing about bark is you only need a microwave, and it takes less than 10 minutes to make. The bark is always a crowd-pleaser. In addition, it is very versatile. You can create gazillions of different ways, and it always (ok, almost always) tastes great.
For this bark, use the ingredients you like and substitute or remove the ones you do not like. I chose freeze-dried strawberries. However, I did spend a long time trying to decide between strawberries, raspberries, or strawberry/banana combo. I honestly think any of them would taste great.
The Chocolate Matters
Let's start with the foundation, chocolate. Your chocolate bark will only taste as good as the quality of the chocolate you use. There are many options, and it's easy to go broke trying to find the right chocolate. For me, my go-to is the Ghirardelli melting wafers. A few of my favorite things about these melting wafers are:
- The chocolate melts into a perfect smooth texture.
- The final product is shiny, without having to temper (but not perfect tempered shiny).
- The chocolates (white, milk and dark) are all very sweet.
- They are affordable and always in stock at the store or in bulk at Sam's Club
Oh yeah, and they always taste GREAT!
Melting the Chocolate
There are two ways to melt the chocolate, in the microwave or a double boiler. Chocolate melt's at a shallow temperature (100 degrees), and it is easy to burn. Here is how to melt chocolate without burning it.
- Use a microwave safe dish.
- Reduce the power to 50% throughout the process.
- Microwave for 45 seconds than stir.
- Microwave in 20 - 30 second intervals string between each interval.
- If a small amount of chocolate remains un-melted, stir and allow to stand. Use caution not to over microwave, chocolate burns easily.
- Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water.
- Use low heat to bring the water to a simmer.
- Place your bowl over the simmering water.
- Place the wafers in the top bowl and allow time to melt.
- Remove from heat when 80% - 90% of the wafers are melted and stir.
Preparing the Strawberries and Almonds.
There are two ways to prepare strawberries and almonds.
- Strawberries - you can break them into smaller pieces using your hands or in a food processor. I used the food processor, but I will find any excuse to use my mini processor.
- Almonds - you can buy sliced almonds and break them into smaller pieces using your hands or if you have full sized almonds use the food processor to chop the almonds into smaller pieces.
Additional Toppings for Chocolate Bark
While making this, I decided to add sea salt and chocolate chips at the last minute. The sea salt was the perfect addition; just be careful not to measure it out before spreading it across the bark (aka, do as I say and not as I did). The chocolate chips were a fun addition but did not add a lot to the flavor. This is why I wrote them as optional in the recipe below.
Making Dark Chocolate Bark with Strawberries - Visual Steps
Festive Dark Chocolate Bark with Strawberries and Almonds
- 10 oz dark chocolate
- .5 oz freeze dried strawberries
- 2 oz almonds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- chocolate chips (optional)
- Break the strawberries and almonds into smaller pieces using your hands, knife or food processor.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or the double boiler:* If you use the microwave reduce the power level to 50%. Microwave the chocolate in 30 second bursts to avoid burning.* If you use the double boiler, have the water in the bottom boiler simmering (not boiling).
- Spread the chocolate evenly across the parchment paper.
- Evenly spread the strawberries, almonds, and sea salt. As an option, sprinkle with chocolate chips on top.
- Allow chocolate to rest for 30 minutes to harden. Than using your hands, break the bark into smaller pieces.