I love this dark chocolate bark because there’s no measuring, stand mixer, baking, or piping bags involved, yet the bark still looks really fancy and festive. It’s also healthier than many other sweets, seeing as there’s no butter, refined sugar, or white flour in sight, and dark chocolate is actually really good for you.
Another reason to love this treat is that it can be made up to several days in advance and travels well, so it’s perfect for holiday potlucks, office parties, and of course, Friendsgiving. This dark chocolate bark is endlessly customizable. Although it is a truth we hold self-evident that chocolate and hazelnuts are the Beyonce and Jay-Z of food pairings, this bark works just as well with almonds, pecans, or pistachios. And if cranberries aren’t your thing, try chopped dried apricots, candied orange rind, or freeze-dried berries instead.
If you are wondering if you can skip the steaming method in step 3 and just microwave the chocolate, the answer is no. This classic French technique calls for a “bain-marie” (water bath) and involves gentle heating to prevent the chocolate from scorching and keeps it glossy and sexy; the microwave is likely to dry out the chocolate. Lastly, since this recipe is mostly dark chocolate, be sure to use the best quality chocolate you can find – I love Green & Black’s, Endangered Species, and Lindt brands.
Looking for a no-bake holiday dessert? This Dark Chocolate Bark is easy to make, customizable, and can be made in advance! [Reprinted from Friendsgiving (William Morrow, 2017)]
- ¾ cup raw hazelnuts (See Note)
- 7 ounces dark chocolate (2 standard-size bars), roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool. (If your hazelnuts still have the skins on, place them on one end of a kitchen towel and cover with the other end. Roll them under your palms to remove the skins – it’s okay if all the skins don’t come off; discard the skins.)
- Meanwhile, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium pot. Set a dry heatproof bowl over the pot, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Place the chocolate into the bowl and let it melt slowly, stirring occasionally, keeping the water at a bare simmer.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the hazelnuts on top in a single layer. Pour the chocolate over the top. Chill for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate is slightly firm but still sticky. Sprinkle with the cranberries, salt, and cayenne. Chill until completely set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Break the bark into pieces and serve. (The bark can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper).
Although you can buy pre-roasted hazelnuts, freshly roasted nuts make this bark that much more special. “Blanched raw hazelnuts” are best because the skins have already been removed. If you can’t find blanched nuts, you may remove the skins by rolling freshly roasted hazelnuts under your palms in a kitchen towel (step #3 above).
- Serving Size: 1/12 of the recipe
- Calories: 135
- Carbohydrates: 11.1 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 2.4 g
Keywords: chocolate bark, chocolate, hazelnuts, dessert, holiday