Thursday, January 20, 2011

Better For You Chocolate Bark (with bite)!

Does your bark have bite?  This delicious dessert had more bark than my sweet Sheltie dog has, that's for sure!  ;-)  I don't even remember how I exactly came across this yummy snack but I'm so glad I did.  The concept behind it is to combine the benefits of super fruits with dark chocolate for a healthier chocolate-y snack.  The end result is very tasty. 

I tweaked it a little since I couldn't easily find goji berries.  I replaced them instead with another super fruit - blueberries, known for having antioxidant powers.  I kept the other fruits listed - apricots and cranberries.  I then added some vanilla and almond extract for a deeper, sweeter taste since the extra-dark chocolate bars I used were more bitter than sweet. 

Here is the simple, great-flavored recipe:

Better For You Chocolate Bark
(Makes about 50 pieces)

Adapted from Dani Spies

3 dark chocolate candy bars (3.5 oz each, so over 10 oz total chocolate)
3 oz (6 tbsp) dried blueberries
3 oz (6 tbsp) dried cranberries
8 dried apricots, cut into small pieces
3 oz (6 tbsp) sliced almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

I just love simple dessert recipes that have minimal ingredients, don't you?

Place parchment paper over a rectangular baking pan (13x9 inch) and set aside.  Measure out your dried fruits - blueberries, cranberries and apricots.  Cut your dried apricots into pieces; make them about the same size as the berries.  Measure out your sliced almonds (there is no need to toast them!) Set aside. 

Break up the candy bars into small pieces and place in a medium size, microwaveable-safe bowl.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium high.  It may take about five minutes with stirring and stopping to check out its texture.  Be sure the chocolate is in complete liquid form and smooth.  Pour in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Stir well.

Pour the liquid chocolate onto the center of the baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Spread it out with a spatula as evenly and as best as you can.  Sprinkle the dried fruits and almonds over the chocolate.  Press them down gently with the spatula or with your fingertips, so that the almonds and fruits cover most of the chocolate and will harden into the mixture. 

Place the pan immediately into the fridge.  Let it harden uninterrupted for about two hours. 

This photo may not be pretty.  It may in fact look like a bird's nest.  But trust me, this stuff is good!
After the two hours, pull out your baking pan.  Touch it to be sure the mixture has hardened back to the original "candy bar" state.  Gently break off the chocolate into pieces.  Don't worry about size or shape.  Just pull it apart.  I made about 50 pieces of "bark" with mine. 

Wanna take a bite?

Store your chocolate bark in a plastic container and keep in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze the bark and save it for a future occasion.  It should definitely be kept refrigerated or frozen though until ready to eat.

This is a very delicious snack or dessert.  Best of all, it's healthier for you too with the dark chocolate and the powerful super fruits of the cranberries, blueberries and apricots!


Fun fact #1:  Dark chocolate is my favorite.  White chocolate is my husband's favorite.  But somewhere in the middle seems to be the most popular chocolate consumed by Americans - the medium colored, milk chocolate.  

Fun fact #2: For one month while I was in college, I worked part-time at Elmers chocolate factory in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.  It was such a crazy and humbling experience!   Alas, that may be a post for another day - stories about how I was a teenage girl on the assembly line doing time as a "nut separator," a "candy sorter" and a "package wrapper."  Good times!  


  1. I can't wait to try this. I love dark chocolate!.....and fruit

  2. Dark chocolate is my fave!!! Maybe you'll have some of this for this weekend???

  3. Mmmm, dark chocolate. I'd rather have it than any other chocolate. Filled with fruit and nuts makes it even more tempting!