If you're looking for a low-key, high-dazzle sweet that's perfect to put on a dessert board or give as a Holiday gift (or eat as a midnight snack), try this 3-ingredient Dark Chocolate Bark with Nuts.
The chocolate barks are so pretty and luxurious with their rich, glossy base studded with nuts, no one will suspect you threw them together in just a few minutes, no exaggeration. This dark chocolate bark with nuts requires max 10 minutes because you melt the chocolate in the microwave oven. You can use any kind of nuts that are roasted, salted, and already shelled. I love pistachios during the Holidays because they're a little bit of luxury, and the green color is so striking.
The recipe is so fast and easy, I always make at least four batches, sometimes six, at once because it doesn't take any longer to make more!
- What is Chocolate Bark?
- Ingredients You Need for Chocolate Bark
- How to Make Chocolate Bark with Nuts
- Pro-Tips and Techniques
- Tools and Equipment
- Chocolate Bark with Nuts: Variations
- Health and Dietary Considerations
- How to Use Dark Chocolate Bark with Nuts
- Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Sea Salt Recipe
What is Chocolate Bark?
What is chocolate "bark?" Isn't it, like, just the same thing as chocolate?
Technically, yes. But also, technically no. Chocolate can refer to, well, any chocolate.
It's not entirely clear what the origin of "chocolate bark" is, but it's most likely rooted in its visual resemblance to tree bark. Chocolate Bark is a sheet of chocolate that includes ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, candy, anything really, then gets broken or cut apart. The added ingredients give the chocolate a bumpy, jagged, sometimes shaggy look, resembling the bark of a tree.
For this Dark Chocolate Bark, we're using nothing but bright green roasted salted pistachios, and if brown and green doesn't look like a tree, then I don't know what will!
Ingredients You Need for Chocolate Bark
This recipe only has three ingredients! You literally need only what's in the name of the recipe:
- chocolate or dark chocolate, preferably at least 70%% cacao
- roasted salted nuts
- flaky sea salt
What Kind of Chocolate Should You Use for Chocolate Bark?
Chocolate is a simple ingredient, but can also become very complicated when you start to talk about country of origin, cacao percentages, the producer/manufacturer, what format, and more. There have even been studies done on toxic components of different brands! (We won't get into that here). Here are some considerations when buying chocolate for this recipe:
Quality. Use the highest quality chocolate you can find. I used Valrhona for the dark chocolate for the bark in these photos, but Valrhona is not easy to find in your neighborhood grocery store. Ghirardelli and Guittard are reliable commercial sources for chocolate. The truth is, the chocolate bars that you would normally just tear open and eat a square of are probably your best bet at the grocery store. I personally love Chocolove and go through 3-4 bars of their darkest chocolate flavors per week just working at my desk.
Cacao Percentage. You can use any % cacao dark chocolate your taste can handle, but I stay between 60% and 70% for both the flavor and the health benefits. Any cacao percentage lower has too much sugar and is too sweet for my taste. Any higher percentage is hard to melt and generally a little toooo bitter for other people's tastes! You don't get any of the anti-inflammatory benefits if you don't eat it!
Chips vs Bars. I prefer using chocolate in bar format, but chocolate chips, work well, too. I used Valrhona for the dark chocolate for the bark in these photos, sold in bulk bar format (by the pound) at a specialty culinary/gourmet retailer in Los Angeles.
Additional Ingredients Notes and Resources
Nuts. I used pre-shelled, roasted salted pistachios, which are ideal for this because they are roasted, salted, and HAVE NO SHELLS. They are available in most grocery stores. In my local grocery store, pistachios are in the produce section.
Flaky Sea Salt. This brand of sea salt has the biggest, crunchiest salt crystals.
How to Make Chocolate Bark with Nuts
The recipe can't be too complex if it only has three ingredients! Just melt chocolate in the microwave, spread it out on parchment, and boom, you're done! The hardest part is waiting for it to cool and harden!
Melt chocolate in microwave-safe bowl in microwave at 50% power in 30-second intervals until chocolate is 80% melted. Remove bowl from microwave oven and stir until chocolate is completely melted. The residual heat from the bowl and melted chocolate will melt the rest.
Shell and "peel" pistachios or other nuts if they're not already! I personally like to keep pistachios whole, but if you are using larger nuts like cashews or walnuts, give them a rough chop.
Stir half the nuts into the melted chocolate.
Spread the chocolate-nut mixture onto a parchment-lined pan pan or baking sheet, then top with remaining nuts and sprinkle with flaky salt.
Allow to cool and harden. On the countertop at room temperature, this will take a couple of hours. If your pan or sheet fits, place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
Once completely cool and hardened, break or cut into pieces.
Pro-Tips and Techniques
Melting Chocolate. Of course you can melt the chocolate in a double-boiler setup, you culinary candy-making genius, you! I use a microwave oven because I'm afraid of double-boilers.
Nuts Prep. You can take a little bit of time to peel off the outer papery skin from some of the pistachios to show off the bright green color inside. This is purely for aesthetics, and a great job for little kids with their tiny hands. You can also do this for other nuts that have the inner skin like almonds or walnuts just for texture.
Tools and Equipment
This easy chocolate bark doesn't require any special tools or equipment, but it help if you have a microwave oven to melt the chocolate! Here are the basic tools you need, and probably already have!
- chef's knife for chopping chocolate
- sturdy cutting board
- microwave safe bowl
- baking sheet or pan
- parchment paper
Chocolate Bark with Nuts: Variations
For a different twist, decrease the amount of nuts sprinkled on top by half, and add ½ cup of any of the following:
- dried cranberries
- goji berries
- dried white mulberries
- crystallized ginger
- cacao nibs
- try freeze-dried berries like raspberries or strawberries, which will render their dried berry powder and make for pretty designs on the bark.
A variation on the Chocolate Bark Recipe that warrants its own full recipe is marbled Matcha White Chocolate Bark.
Health and Dietary Considerations
I don't eat a lot of desserts simply because I outgrew a pretty intense sweet tooth right after high school. But I love dark chocolate for other reasons. The health benefits are obvious and don't need to be repeated, and I do love that this Chocolate Bark is a perfect opportunity to add some plant-based omega-3s in the form of nuts to your diet.
As published, this recipe for Dark Chocolate Bark with Nuts is:
- vegan-adaptable made with vegan chocolate
How to Use Dark Chocolate Bark with Nuts
Aside from just breaking off huge shards of Dark Chocolate Bark and eating them straight while standing at the counter in your party pajamas, here are the BEST ways to serve or otherwise eat Dark Chocolate bark with Pistachios and Sea Salt:
- Dessert Charcuterie Board. Along with cookies, brownies, sweet dessert dips, and fresh fruit, pile some Dark Chocolate Bark onto a Holiday Dessert Charcuterie Board for a party.
- Charcuterie Board. Just because it's chocolate doesn't mean it can't go on an actual cheese and charcuterie board. Chocolate can be a great complement to salty and savory flavors of cheese and meat!
- Edible Gifts. A box of Dark Chocolate Bark is a great homemade edible gift! Throw it into a basket with a bottle of wine and some fruit and you have the perfect sweet gift basket.
More No-Bake Chocolate Desserts Ideas
Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Sea Salt Recipe
- 16 ounces high quality dark chocolate at least 60% cacao
- 2 cups pistachios shelled, roasted, and salted, divided
- flaky or coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top like Maldon
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals in a microwave oven, stirring between each interval. Stop microwaving once 80% of the chocolate is melted. Stir until all of the chocolate is melted. My microwave oven melted the dark chocolate in 2:30 minutes.
- Stir half the chopped pistachios (1 cup) into the melted dark chocolate.
- Pour melted dark chocolate with pistachios on parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer about ⅛" thick, shaping sides into a rectangle if you can. Scatter remaining 1 cup of pistachios evenly over the chocolate. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let chocolate cool completely, then break or cut into pieces.
- Pistachio Sea Salted Dark Chocolate Bark will keep for about a week stored in a cool place in an airtight container between layers of parchment. Do not refrigerate.