Question: What is Chocolate Bark?
Answer: Chocolate bark is a type of confection, named after its resemblance to the bark of some trees. Chocolate bark is made with melted, tempered chocolate, which is poured onto a flat surface to create a thin “sheet” of chocolate. “Add-ins” are common in chocolate bark, and they range from nuts to dried fruit to crispy rice cereal to crushed espresso beans to more chocolate; multiple “add-ins” are sometimes used in one recipe. Once the chocolate “sheet” has cooled and set, it’s usually broken into smaller pieces for individual servings. These shards really do resemble tree bark, hence the name of the confection.
Chocolate bark can be made from any kind of chocolate. It is especially attractive when melted chocolate of a contrasting color is swirled into the original “sheet” (that is, when white chocolate is swirled into a sheet of milk or dark chocolate, or vice versa). Other popular combinations include chocolate with toasted, cooled nuts and dried fruit or candied ginger and “rocky road” bark, with nuts and mini marshmallows.
Because chocolate bark is easy to make and has a longer shelf-life than more perishable chocolate confections, it is frequently given as a gift and is often made and sold by chocolatiers.
Rocky Road Bark
Anything you concoct in your kitchen can only be as good as the ingredients you use, so don’t skimp on quality here! Feel free to use either milk or dark chocolate, according to your preference. The almonds can be salted or unsalted, again depending upon what you like.
Yield: Just shy of 2 pounds
- 24 ounces good-quality chocolate, chopped or in chip form
- 2 generous cups miniature marshmallows (make sure the marshmallows you use are soft and fresh)
- 1 generous cup roasted almonds, halved crosswise (some of the almonds might split when you chop them; that’s not a problem here)
Line a 15-1/2 inch by 10-1/2 inch by 1 inch baking sheet with parchment paper or two lengths of regular aluminum foil (the idea is to have the bottom and all the sides lined, so clean up will be easy). Set aside.
Place chocolate in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave at medium (50%) power for 1 minute. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir well. Return to microwave; heat for brief intervals at medium (50%) power , stirring thoroughly after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Add marshmallows and almonds to chocolate. Stir well until marshmallows and almonds are coated. Turn mixture out onto prepared baking sheet. With the back of a large spoon, spread out until the marshmallows are in a single “layer” (there will be some space between marshmallows where there’s just chocolate or chocolate and almonds; that’s fine). The bark might not cover the entire surface of the baking sheet but should cover most of it.
Chill the bark briefly until it’s set (30 or so minutes in the fridge should do it). Break the bark into serving pieces (I use non-powdered vinyl gloves to handle the bark, so I won’t leave smudges on the chocolate). Store airtight in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.