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Dark chocolate bark is the perfect make-ahead dessert that’s ideal for snacking on all week or for gifting to friends and family! To make this bark, a thin layer of dark chocolate is topped with freeze-dried strawberries and crushed pretzels for a treat that’s equal parts rich, salty, tangy, and sweet.
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This dark chocolate bark is SO good. Honestly, it’s way better than these three simple ingredients have any business being. The crunchy, salty pretzels and sweet, tangy freeze-dried strawberries are the perfect pair for the rich, slightly bitter dark chocolate. Even better, it only takes a few minutes to make and it’ll keep all week!
When I think about meal prep-friendly desserts I usually aim to keep them as simple as possible and on the healthier side. Something with just a few ingredients that I can whip up quickly and satisfy my sweet tooth with guilt-food. That’s why dark chocolate is usually my dessert go-to. Since it’s rich, I don’t need too much of it, and whether I’m eating it on its own, dipping dried fruit in it, or making a bark like this one, it always satisfies.
Dark Chocolate Bark Ingredients
You’ll only need 3 ingredients to make this simple chocolate bark!
- Dark Chocolate Chips. Of course, the most important ingredient here is chocolate! I like to use dark chocolate chips for the base of this recipe. If you want to get fancy, you can use a higher-quality dark chocolate bar and chop it up before melting, but I find that chocolate chips work fine for this recipe and are easier to use and more economical than buying multiple chocolate bars. I love these Guittard 62% extra dark chips and these 69% dark chocolate morsels from Enjoy Life.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries. I love freeze-dried strawberries. They are the perfect combination of sweet and tangy and I love the crunch that they add to recipes. When looking for freeze-dried strawberries, make sure you look for a brand without extra sugars, like this one.
- Pretzels. I am always in favor of salty-sweet flavor combinations, which is where the pretzels come in in this recipe! We used Glutino gluten-free pretzels for this bark – I find that they are the crunchiest gluten-free pretzel out there and don’t go stale easily. If gluten-free isn’t a concern for you, feel free to use regular pretzels instead!
How to Melt Chocolate
The biggest step in making this dark chocolate bark is, of course, melting the chocolate! The key to smooth, perfectly-melted chocolate is to make sure you go slow and steady. Below are two methods we recommend for melting chocolate.
Melting Chocolate in the Microwave
This method is the easiest of all! As long as you keep a close eye on your chocolate, this method works wonderfully. Here are a few tips for microwaving chocolate:
- Microwave in short intervals. Set the microwave to cook for about 2 minutes, but remove the chocolate from the microwave to stir every 15 to 20 seconds. This will help ensure that your chocolate doesn’t overcook and that the heat is evenly distributed.
- Stop microwaving before the chocolate is completely melted. When your chocolate is about 95% smooth and there are just a few lumps remaining, remove it from the microwave. The lumps will dissolve as the chocolate sits and continues to melt.
- Reduce the power. If you know your microwave cooks more quickly than most or can be a little bit erratic, either reduce the power to 80% or microwave the chocolate on defrost mode. This is a good insurance policy against burned chocolate!
Melting Chocolate on the Stove
If the microwave isn’t your thing, you can melt your chocolate on the stove instead! Here’s how:
- Heat a pot of water. You don’t want to melt your chocolate over direct heat – that will cause it to burn. Instead, you’ll create a makeshift double boiler (unless you have a real one!) by boiling water in a saucepan, then placing a glass or metal heatproof bowl over the top of the pot with the water.
- Add the chocolate to the bowl. Once the water is boiling, you’ll fill the bowl with chocolate.
- Stir until melted. We recommend using a rubber spatula for this step so you can easily scrape the sides of the bowl. Stir the chocolate constantly as the water boils, until it is about 95% melted, then remove the bowl from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth.
Both of these methods should produce smooth, perfectly-melted chocolate. If your chocolate seizes up or begins to crumble – that means it is burned and you’ll need to start over.
What is the best way to set dark chocolate bark?
We prefer to refrigerate this dark chocolate bark to set it. It gets the job done more quickly and produces a sturdier bark than letting it sit at room temperature does. It will only need 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator until it is set, then you can break it up and store it for later!
How long does the bark keep for?
At room temperature, this dark chocolate bark will keep for about a week in an airtight container – after that, it is still fine to eat, but the strawberries and pretzels will start to get a bit stale. To extend the life of the bark, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a month and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Simple Dark Chocolate Desserts
- Salted Dark Chocolate Freezer Bark
- Dark Chocolate Graham Cracker Bark
- Chocolate Chia Pudding Cups
- Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots
- Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Butter Dates
- Chocolate Chili Pecan Clusters
- 1 12-ounce bag dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao)
- 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries crushed
- 1 cup gluten-free pretzels crushed
Melt the chocolate using one of the methods below:
- Double-boiler method: place the chocolate in a medium-sized glass bowl that can rest on top of a pot without falling in. Fill the pot with a couple inches of water, place the bowl of chocolate over top, and bring the water to a boil. Use a spatula to constantly stir the chocolate until it's melted and smooth.
- Microwave method: place the chocolate in a medium-sized glass bowl and microwave it in 20-second increments, stirring well between each spell, until it's melted and smooth.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the chocolate onto the sheet in an even rectangle.
- Top the chocolate with the strawberries and pretzels, then transfer to the refrigerator to set for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until fully hardened.
- Break up the chocolate bark, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. To extend the life of the bark, you can also store it in the refrigerator or freezer for up to one month or in the freezer for up to 3.
Have you tried this, or would it work, with other dried fruit? For example, blueberries, pomegranate, etc?
Amber Goulden says
Any dried or freeze-dried fruit would work great!
This showed up in a list of nightshade free options, but it is NOT nightshade free. The pretzels have potato starch
Melissa Guevara says
Hi Paul! I am so sorry for that oversight. We will be sure to update. Thank you! ~Melissa