If you love dark chocolate as much as coffee, my friend, this is the dessert recipe for you! Plus it’s so easy to make ahead and freeze for a special occasion. Or the occasional sweet craving.

close up of pieces of dark chocolate espresso bark with cherries, pistachio and hazelnuts on a glass pedestal.

The day dark chocolate was regarded as “healthy” was the day all the planets in the universe aligned for me.  I was the kid who like the Hershey’s Special Dark bark in the mini mix pack. And Chunky bars with the fruit and nuts. Consider this nut and fruit dark chocolate bark a mashup of those two amped up with a big dose of espresso.

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What coffee does to chocolate

cups of coffee with two bowls dark chocolate bark.

In case the espresso in the title turned you off, trust me—it’s subtle. Coffee actually brings out the flavor of the chocolate, giving it more chocolate oomph. (Pro tip: the next time you make brownies, add a little bit (1 teaspoon) of espresso powder. Heaven.)

Ingredient notes

ingredients for dark chocolate bark with dried cherries, hazelnuts, espresso, and pistachios.
61% dark chocolate chips are the key to this dark chocolate bark

Here’s a rundown of the ingredients:

  • Dark chocolate. I used 61% morsels but you can use any bar that is 61% cacao.
  • Espresso powder. Brands of espresso powder you might see near you include DeLallo, Medaglia D’Oro, and Ferrara. King Arthur also makes one too.
  • Fruit. You can use raisins, cranberries or dark cherries as I did here.
  • Nuts. Hazelnuts work so well with coffee while pistachios balance the dark cherries.

How to make dark chocolate bark with espresso

Equipment

To make any kind of bark you need a few essentials:

  • a double boiler (or microwave)
  • a heatproof glass bowl
  • rubber spatula
  • saucepan
  • sheet pan
  • parchment or wax paper
  • flat spatula

Step by step

dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl on a gray background.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
melted chocolate in a glass bowl on a gray background.
Use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until glossy.
Dark chocolate spread on parchment paper with a spatula.
Spread with a spatula in an even layer.
Dark chocolate spread on parchment paper and topped with cherries, hazelnuts and pistachios with a spatula.
Sprinkle the toppings on and freeze for a bit to set.
  1. First, you’ll heat about 1 1/2-2″ of water to simmering in a saucepan (I used a 4 qt.). You’ll want to make sure that the glass bowl can sit into the pan just above the simmering water while resting on the sides of the saucepan.
  2. Next, pour the chocolate chips into the bowl. Almost immediately, things will start happening so have a rubber spatula nearby to scrape the sides while lightly stirring the chips on the bottom. It should take about 2 minutes for the chocolate to be completely melted.
  3. Poured the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out into an even level of thickness.
  4. Sprinkle the toppings over top from biggest (cherries) to smallest (pistachios). Finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt, if that sounds good to you.
  5. Allow to set until hardened. You can also firm it quickly in the freezer.
  6. Use a sharp long slicing knife, slice down the middle and then in criss-cross triangles. You can also break it into pieces by hand.

Can you use a microwave to melt chocolate?

If a microwave is your only option to melt chocolate, I have included instructions in the recipe card for how to do it. Just be sure to take your time—stopping every 30 seconds (and no, I’m not kidding) to stir the chips. Chocolate can burn and/or seize up (harden) very quickly in a microwave and there’s no recovering. Not a pretty sight and you’ll have wasted a bag of chocolate chips which could also have been used for late-night cookie dough cravings or piling on a spoonful of peanut butter. I might know someone who does that.

Dark Chocolate Bark Toppings

cup of coffee with two bowls dark chocolate bark

Some suggestions:

  • diced dried apricots, blueberries or strawberries
  • unsweetened coconut
  • chopped toasted almonds or macadamia nuts
  • mini chocolate chips or white chocolate chips.

Endless possibilities. Yup, that’s how I like my chocolate. Endless.

Tips:

For a few: Make the recipe as is. Freeze so you can have it when those chocolate cravings hit.

For a crowd: Make several versions of the recipe with different add-ins to have on a treat table at a party.

For a thicker bark: Double the chocolate to make a single, thicker slab.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


close up of pieces of dark chocolate espresso bark with cherries, pistachio and hazelnuts on a glass pedestal.
5 from 1 vote

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bark

Even a healthy bite deserves a little boost. Dark Chocolate Espresso Bark blends 61% cacao with a touch of espresso, fruit and nuts for a sweet treat perfect for your next party or shared on Valentine's Day.
Prep Time:15 minutes
Chill:15 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings 16

Equipment

  • double boiler

Ingredients
 

  • 1 package extra dark chocolate chips, 61%
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, can use more or less (or none at all!)
  • cup chopped dried cherries
  • cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted*
  • cup pistachios, shelled
  • flakey sea salt, like Maldon

Instructions

  • Line a jelly roll sized (10"x15" approx) baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over simmering water, melt chocolate chips in a heatproof glass bowl. If you have a double boiler you can do this as well. [see below for microwave instructions] This will take about 2 minutes so stir the chocolate often but not too vigorously.
  • In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and espresso powder until the powder is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the butter/espresso mixture to chocolate. Stir gently to combine.
  • Pour the chocolate out onto the prepared baking sheet. Use an icing spatula to make a long rectangle down the center of the parchment paper.
  • Starting with the cherries and ending with the pistachios, sprinkle the toppings all over the chocolate. Gently press the fruit and nuts into the chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Place in a freezer for 15 minutes (or a cold garage or porch).
  • Using a sharp long knife, cut the bark lengthwise down the middle into 2 long rectangles. Then cut each half into 8 triangles, alternating directions.

Notes

  • Microwave Directions:
    • Place chocolate chips in a heatproof glass bowl. Heat in 30 second increments stirring in between each time until melted. 
    • Proceed with recipe.
  • Optional toppings/mixins: 
    • more chocolate chips 
    • dried apricots, blueberries or strawberries
    • flakey unsweetened coconut
    • add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the butter/coffee mix
  • Store and freeze:
    • Store in the fridge to keep crisp for up to a week.
    • Add the bark pieces to freezer-safe bags laying them on their side flat in the freezer.
    • Freeze for up to 2 months.
Course: candy, Dessert
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Hi there- Do you have to melt the espresso powder in melted butter or can the powder be added to the melted dark chocolate chips? Thanks!

    1. Hi Thelma! Thanks for the question! My only worry about adding the espresso powder to the chocolate is it might not dissolve completely since it’s a thicker substance than butter and the bark might end up a little sandy. If you end up trying it, please let me know how it works for you. Happy holidays and thanks again for taking the time to comment! 🤗