Chocolate bark is the easiest, most satisfying candy you can make at home. My white and dark chocolate bark with cherries and pistachios is crunchy, snappy and salty, with the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. It also makes a beautiful, and addictive, Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one – even if that loved one is yourself.
I’m not really a Valentine’s Day kind of lady, and never really have been. Therefore I have no adorable heart-shaped cookies or sweetheart dinners for two.
But I am a chocolate kind of lady. It’s my strong belief that the existence of chocolate should be regularly celebrated throughout the year. And it just so happens that my most recent celebration is…now. Coincidence? Whatevs.
Therefore I present you with this easy, sweet and salty, crack-like swirled chocolate bark recipe. It’s made with dark chocolate and white chocolate, sprinkled with pistachios and cherries, then dusted with maldon sea salt. It’s unbelievably tasty. Plus if you look sideways and to the left, the swirls kind of, sort of, look like hearts. Maybe.
Perhaps this will make up for my lack of otherwise seasonally-themed confections? I’ll bet you one bite it will.
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White and Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe Notes
If you’ve never made chocolate bark before, you’re in for a treat. It is ridiculously easy. There’s no measuring or complicated baking formulas, and no need for special equipment. It’s homemade candy at its easiest and most delicious, and super impressive to anyone you gift it to – including, and especially, yourself.
Because chocolate bark is so simple, be mindful to choose high-quality ingredients that are excellent on their own. In other words, you want high-quality chocolate bars, not chips. I used Equal Exchange Very Dark Chocolate and Green and Blacks White Chocolate.
How to Temper Chocolate
The first thing you need to do is obtain some chocolate, and then melt it. But we’re not just going to melt the chocolate, we’re going to temper the chocolate.
Tempering simply means heating the chocolate in such a way that you don’t destroy its crystal structure. Then, when it comes back to a solid state, it will remain smooth and glossy, with no streaks or discoloration, and will retain that pleasant “snap” you find in a chocolate bar.
Tempering sounds complicated, but it’s not. You just need a microwave and a microwave safe bowl. I use large glass pyrex bowls, but use what you have. Even plastic tupperware is totally fine.
First you’ll chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place three-quarters of the chocolate into the microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for thirty seconds, then stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula. Heat again for thirty seconds, then stir. Repeat the reheating and stirring until the chocolate is just barely melted.
For the final step, add the last quarter of chocolate pieces and stir until the added chocolate is melted into the heated chocolate. The non-microwaved chocolate pieces will reintroduce the proper crystal structure to the melted chocolate, and you cooled chocolate bark will set properly. Boom. Your chocolate has been tempered.
The last important note is that you need to use the melted, tempered chocolate fairly quickly. It will start to cool and solidify immediately, and if you simply reheat the melted chocolate, it won’t remain tempered. Have your work station prepped and ready so that you can work quickly to get it spread and swirled before it hardens up and becomes unworkable.
For more information about tempering chocolate and choosing the best varietal, this article from The Kitchn will tell you everything you need to know!
How to Swirl White and Dark Chocolate Bark
The two chocolates swirled together is the base of this magical chocolate bark crack. The sweet white chocolate mixed into the bitter dark chocolate is no less than heavenly. Luckily, getting your swirl on is very straightforward.
First, spread the tempered dark chocolate onto a large piece of parchment paper. Using a rubber or offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer that’s about half an inch thick.
Then, spoon circles of white chocolate directly onto the dark chocolate.
Lastly, using a wooden skewer or wooden lollipop stick, swirl the chocolate. Starting with the top left circle, drag the stick from left to right across the top, the down into the second row from right to left, then into the third row from left to right, and finally into the bottom row from right to left.
Then, you’ll repeat this process vertically. Starting again at the top left corner, drag the stick through the chocolate from top to bottom through the first column, then from bottom to top, and then again from top to bottom. Tada! Your chocolate is swirled.
Adding Toppings to White and Dark Chocolate Bark
Be liberal with your toppings, but not too liberal, and take care to spread them over the chocolate evenly.
If you’re too heavy handed, the bark won’t break evenly into nice chunks. If you’re too sparse, you won’t get variety in every bite. I used about three tablespoons each of pistachios and dried cherries, and about two teaspoons of maldon sea salt.
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White and Dark Chocolate Bark with Cherries and Pistachios
Chocolate bark is the easiest, most satisfying candy you can make at home. My white and dark chocolate bark with cherries and pistachios is sweet and salty, with the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
- 1/2 lb high quality dark chocolate or 2 3.5 oz chocolate bars
- 1/2 lb high quality white chocolate or 2 3.5 oz chocolate bars
- 3 tbsp dried cherries
- 3 tbsp roasted and salted pistachios coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp maldon sea salt
Prepare your workstation. Place a long piece of parchment onto your work surface and secure each end with a piece of tape or something heavy (like your topping bowls). Portion the cherries and set aside. Portion and chop the nuts and set aside.
Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and set aside. Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and set aside.
Add three-quarters of the dark chocolate pieces to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for thirty seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula. Return the bowl to the microwave and heat again for thirty seconds, then stir. Heat again for thirty seconds, then stir. By now, the chocolate should be completed melted. If it's not, return to the microwave in 15 second intervals until all of the chocolate is just barely melted after 10-15 seconds of vigorous stirring.
Add the remaining quarter of unmelted dark chocolate pieces to the melted dark chocolate. Stir vigorously until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted. The dark chocolate is now tempered and ready to use.
Repeat the tempering process as described in steps 3-4 for the white chocolate.
Using a rubber spatula, transfer the dark chocolate from the bowl onto the parchment paper. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer that is roughly 1/2" thick.
Spoon the white chocolate onto the dark chocolate into evenly spaced circles.
Using a wooden skewer or lollipop stick, swirl the chocolate. Starting with the top left circle, drag the stick from left to right across the top, the down into the second row from right to left, then into the third row from left to right, and finally into the bottom row from right to left.
Repeat this process vertically. Starting again at the top left corner, drag the stick through the chocolate from top to bottom through the first column, then from bottom to top, and then again from top to bottom.
Sprinkle the dried cherries and pistachios over the chocolate in an even layer. Then, sprinkle the chocolate and toppings with the sea salt.
Set the chocolate aside to cool down and harden at room temperature.
Once the chocolate is completely hardened, break into chunks and store in an airtight container. Bark keeps at room temperature for approximately a week, or in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Cooking time does not reflect time to cool, approximately 2 hours at room temperature.
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