A Dietitian’s Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe

by Jessica Bippen, MS, RD

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Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, whips up a healthy dark chocolate bark recipe that’s boosted with feel-good ingredients. Bonus: It’s ready in about 20 minutes and is perfect for gifting!

Chocolate bark may be one of easiest desserts to make. For starters, it’s simple and holds up well. Plus, as long as you have chocolate, you can make it with just about any other ingredients you have on hand.

This particular dark chocolate bark recipe plays on festive holiday colors from dried cranberries, raw pistachios, and coconut. Plus, each of the ingredients packs in good-for-you nutrients, making for a healthy holiday treat.

Nutrition Highlights

Before we get to the main attraction, let’s first look at some nutritional benefits of this healthy chocolate bark recipe.

Cranberry Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark in hand

Dark Chocolate

Thankfully, this indulgent dessert staple comes with numerous health benefits.

Dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and several antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.

Tip: When choosing dark chocolate, opt for 70 percent or higher cacao content. A higher percentage means a higher concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, as well as less sugar.

Speaking of sugar, dark chocolate still contains a moderate amount, so it’s best to enjoy in high-quality dark chocolate in moderation.

Pistachios

These little green nuts are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They even pack in some protein.

Next, a one-ounce (28 gram) serving of pistachios is about 49 pistachios, which is pretty generous compared to other nuts. This servings size contains about:

  • three grams of fiber
  • six grams of protein
  • 13 grams of fat (90 percent of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats!)

Pistachios are also one of the best sources of vitamin B6, and they’re also rich in potassium. Your body needs B6 to help with blood sugar regulation (among several other important functions!) and potassium to help maintain healthy blood pressure and heart rate.

Cranberries

Cranberries are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. However, one of its most notable nutritional highlights is proanthocyanidins (PACs), a type of antioxidant.

Studies show it’s this specific active ingredient that supports urinary tract health. (HUM’s Private Party™ includes 36 milligrams of PACs for this very reason.)

Tip: Since fresh cranberries taste quite tart, it’s best to cook them with a low-glycemic sugar. Otherwise, opt for dried cranberries, which often pack a touch of added sugar to balance out the tartness. Pairing the dried cranberries with sweet chocolate (like in this dark chocolate bark recipe) also helps balance out the tart flavor.

Coconut

A sprinkle of coconut on this healthy chocolate bark adds a pleasant, slightly sweet flavor. It also adds some nutritional benefits since coconut is a good source of healthy fats, B-vitamins, manganese, copper, and iron.

One of the biggest health benefits of coconut is from the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Your body uses this healthy fat differently than other types of fats. They’re absorbed directly from your small intestine, making them rapidly available for your body to use as energy.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe

Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe

Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe

There are two ways to prep this dark chocolate bark recipe: microwave or stovetop. Both options are included below.

PREP
10 min + 10-20 min to set
COOK
0 min
SERVES
10

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut

SUPPLIES

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Microwave method: Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 20 percent power for 30 seconds; remove bowl from microwave and stir. Repeat process about four or five times, micro­waving and stirring until most of the chocolate has melted. Continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.
  3. Stovetop method: Create a double boiler by placing a saucepan filled with a few inches of water and topped with a glass bowl over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil. Add two thirds of the chocolate and let melt, stirring until smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate.
  4. Pour melted chocolate onto the prepared baking tray. Spread to 1/8-inch thickness. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with dried cranberries, chopped pistachios, and shredded coconut.
  5. To set, place tray in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes or in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Break the bark into pieces and serve. Store extra pieces at room temperature in an airtight container.

Topping Variations

While this dark chocolate bark recipe is themed for the holidays with red, green, and white ingredients, you can easily customize it to your liking, no matter the time or occasion.

So if you don’t have these specific ingredients on hand (or want to go rogue), feel free to customize with whatever toppings you like.

Other options for chocolate bark toppings include:

  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • granola
  • crushed candy cane pieces

Regardless of the toppings you choose, chocolate bark deserves a spot on your celebratory treat rotation. It’s delicious, easy to make, and great for gifting—whether for the holidays or just because.


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