This Vegan Chocolate Almond Bark Is The Easiest Dessert You're Not Making (Yet)
You only need three ingredients and a microwave.
There’s something about the holiday season that makes my chocolate craving kick into full force. Maybe it’s the versatility of it and how you can eat it as a bar, in a cake, or as a drink. This year, I wanted to expand my horizons as a chocolate lover, so I decided to take a vegan approach to my favorite holiday treat. That's why I'm excited about this vegan chocolate almond bark.
Bark is the slightly thicker, heartier cousin of a regular chocolate bar. And, it's easy to make a chocolate almond bark vegan.
“Barks are really fun because you can kind of do whatever. It’s just this beautiful blank canvas and if you have a beautiful roasted nut or some fancy pistachios or Marcona almonds, you can put those on there,” says Lagusta Yearwood, vegan chocolatier and founder of Lagusta's Luscious in New Paltz, New York. Her shop has multiple vegan chocolate barks, slates, and tablets to choose from with fun ingredients like dried lavender and candied hibiscus.
Since I’m a huge almond fan, I decided to have a go at making vegan chocolate almond bark. I was pleased to discover that making it is quite simple. You only need three ingredients and luckily, I had them in my kitchen already.
One thing that always kept me from wanting to make my own vegan chocolate bark at home was that I thought I’d need to go through the process of tempering the chocolate. As someone who wasn’t the best chemistry student in college, I figured it would save me a headache to just buy chocolate from the store. But Yearwood put my anxiety at ease when she told me that it’s possible to avoid the full on tempering process and still come out with a nice bark.
I took four of Taza Chocolate’s Wicked Dark bars, which Yearwood uses at her chocolate shop along with Republica Del Cacao, placed them in a glass bowl and microwaved it in 30 second increments until the chocolate was melted. Then, I carefully poured the melted chocolate onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, mixed in a cup of toasted almonds, and used a spatula to spread it out into a thin layer.
“Chocolate bark is a thing that you have to buy very little for which is cool because it’s a nice way to use up little bits of things here and there in your kitchen,” Yearwood says. “You want to avoid anything that's wet, like maraschino cherries or something that'll make your chocolate weird. But other than that, go wild.”
While the thickness of your bark is entirely up to you, Yearwood suggests doing a thicker bark if you’re packaging it up as gifts for the holidays so it doesn’t break into pieces. To give my bark a little pizazz, I added just a tiny bit of smoked sea salt on the top layer.
If you can, avoid putting your bark mixture into the fridge for long periods of time. Instead, put it in the refrigerator for about five minutes just to let it set.
“If you keep it in the fridge too long, it could produce condensation. If you do want to put it in the fridge because you have things in it that might get weird at room temperature, you can just put it in a sealed container. The good thing about the bark is that it'll keep forever as long as it’s at a good temperature and not exposed to weird flavors,” Yearwood says.
Since I didn’t want soggy chocolate and my kitchen typically stays pretty chilly, I decided to go with her advice and pop it into the fridge for a few minutes and then return it to my counter so it could continue to firm up.
After 20 minutes, I went back to check on my chocolate and it had successfully turned into bark! The last thing to do was just chop it up into medium sized pieces. Easy as pie...or in this case, chocolate.
Tools You’ll Need
- At least 10 ounces of dark chocolate
- 1 cup of roasted almonds
- Smoked sea salt
1. Microwave your chocolate in 30 second increments until it’s just melted. Stir until it’s smooth.
2. Pour the melted chocolate into a parchment paper-lined baking or cookie sheet.
3. Fold almonds into the chocolate and use a spatula to spread it into a thin layer.
4. Sprinkle smoked sea salt on top.
5. Cover and place into the fridge for 5 minutes to let it set.
6. Remove the sheet from the fridge and place on a counter at room temperature.
7. Let sit for 20 minutes, cut into pieces and serve.