Chocolate Bark with Cardamom, Apricots, and Pistachios

Shards of broken bark put on the table with a bowl of tangerines, a plate of dates, some nuts to crack, or a few cookies make a winning dessert that can be put together with ease night after night if need be. A variety of spices, nuts, and fruits can go into chocolate bark—candied ginger, tangerine zest, diced prunes, apricots, toasted pecans and almonds, salted cashews, black pepper, anise seed, or cinnamon, to name but a few. We now know that a bit of salt makes all the sweet things—like chocolate and caramel and even fruit—dance! You don’t really need measurements, as you’ll see the first time you make this recipe. I use chocolate that’s in the 70% cacao range, but it needn’t be exactly that, of course.–Deborah Madison

LC Fancy That! Note

There’s bark and then there’s bark. This bark is the latter sort, a bark that intrigues and surprises, a bark that both starts and stops conversations, a bark that knows no boundaries when it comes to fancying up all manner of holidays for which it’s eminently appropriate–during December it’s an easy alternative to cookies for those averse to gluten or decorating or both; at Easter it serves as a sort of deconstructed, adults-only Easter bunny; and at Passover, it’s a lovely little something, especially when you drizzle or spread the melted chocolate atop matzoh rather than just a lined baking sheet. (The matzoh lends not just symbolism but a welcome crunch.)

The recipe below is for the dark chocolate bark. The same technique can be used for the white confection variation that the author mentions, which works well with pistachios, orange zest, and edible flower petals.

Chocolate Bark with Cardamom, Apricots, and Pistachios Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes one 10-by-6-inch slab

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (more or less) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 3 tablespoons raisins and / or dried apricots, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons salted green pistachio nuts, some left whole, some cut into large pieces
  • Maldon sea salt or other flaky salt

Directions

  • 1. Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment that measures about 10-by-8 inches.
  • 2. Place the chocolate and cardamom seeds in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted, stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dried fruit and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pistachios.
  • 3. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and immediately spread it into a thin layer on the prepared sheet. Gently scatter the remaining dried fruits and nuts over the warm chocolate, gently pressing them into the chocolate. Sprinkle lightly with the salt.
  • 4. Refrigerate the chocolate until it is completely set, at least an hour. To serve, break the bark into pieces and pile them on a small plate or dish. Store any extra bark in a covered container or a wax paper bag and refrigerate. It will keep well for a few weeks—in theory, anyways.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Kim Graham

Mar 29, 2010

This was quick, easy, and quite tasty. I made the bark with dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries, and golden raisins (instead of the apricots), and used sliced almonds in place of the pistachios. I spread it over matzoh to try it out as a possible Passover treat. Yum! I have to admit, I was worried that the whole cardamom seeds would be overpowering (and I love cardamom), but when it was all put together, the flavors were outstanding.

Testers Choice
Eydie Desser

Mar 29, 2010

This chocolate bark is sophisticated and elegant—a surprise and a delight to the taste buds. I followed the recipe as written, using cardamom, dried apricots and pistachios. I loved it and thought the combination was exquisite. The chewiness of the apricots, the crunch of the pistachios and cardamom, and the Maldon salt—wow, this treat has it all. It’s sweet, and salty, and a little bitter, with a touch of umami. The only change I’d make is to chop the cardamom seeds just a bit. One whole cardamom seed in the mouth is a bit overwhelming, and just a teaspoon of them leaves many bark pieces without a trace. This bark is very rich, so it only takes a couple of bites to satisfy.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Mar 29, 2010

Delicious flavors in a melt-in-your-mouth treat. I tried several suggested variations, as well as some not included in the recipe, like candied ginger, toasted pecans and almonds, orange zest, black pepper, golden raisins, and dried lavender. They were ALL awesome. We had company for the weekend and I doubled the recipe. All of the bark was eaten within a few hours.

Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Mar 29, 2010

Think of this more as an idea than a recipe. The possibilities are limitless. You could use different nuts or fruits, coconut, curry powder, chiles, ginger, pineapple, berries. You can substitute milk chocolate or even white chocolate, as the picture features—whatever you feel goes best with the other ingredients you are using.

I made the recipe exactly as written, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I melted the chocolate over a water bath on the stove, per the instructions, but in the future I’ll melt it in the microwave at 50% power. It works just as well, and is much faster. Next time, I might use a slightly milder chocolate. While the intense dark chocolate was a great match with the apricots, it overwhelmed the cardamom. A milder chocolate would allow the spice to shine.

My husband, who’s not a chocolate eater, liked this recipe and pointed out that even someone who isn’t crazy about chocolate might like it.

Testers Choice
Elsa M. Jacobson

Mar 29, 2010

I followed this recipe as written, using the combination of cardamom, dried apricots, and salted pistachios. When the directions offered a range for the quantity of nuts, I went with the highest option of 3 tablespoons. I left half of them whole, and cut the other half into large pieces. When Madison suggested using a dark chocolate in the 70% range, I went for Trader Joe’s 72% chocolate bar imported from Belgium.

I made half as bark and the other half atop matzoh. My personal preference was for the straight chocolate bark. My taster, however, preferred the matzoh bark version, asking for seconds, and sneaking a third when he thought I wasn’t looking!

This flavor profile was both delicious, and surprising—especially the cardamom, which is not visible on the finished candy, and which is not an expected flavor for an American palate.


Comments
Comments
  1. Just had to chime in to say I love the photo. It’s stunning, and it tempts me to make a white chocolate version immediately, despite not being a huge fan of white chocolate in general. Cardamom? Now, that’s a favorite. And dark chocolate on matzo sounds appealing, too—who says you have to be Jewish?

    • Donna Rose says:

      I’m with you Allison. The photo was all the encouragment I needed to put this on the menu for Easter.
      Donna Rose

  2. jenijen says:

    Ooooh, this will be PERFECT to bring along to family dinners this weekend. I’ll have to triple the batch so I’ll have some to share ;)

  3. jenijen says:

    I made this (following the recipe) for my boyfriend’s mom as a birthday gift. I found a cute yellow sunflower-shaped platter to gift it on, and *everyone* loved it, myself included. This is totally my go-to host/ess gift from now on!

    And YES that photo is definitely amazing. Even more surprising is that my version looked almost as gorgeous. :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Lovely presentation, JeniJen. And we couldn’t agree more, this is definitely a crowd-pleaser and a keeper.

  4. Renee says:

    Easy. Gorgeous. Delicious.

    The mention of cardamom and the photo convinced me I had to make this. I did use golden rasisins rather than apricots because the apricots I bought were not very good. (Glad I tasted them before using them.) Half went to a very appreciative neighbor who thought they were purchased from a gourmet store.

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      It is a beautiful recipe—in more ways than one! So glad that you liked it, Renee.

  5. Several years ago I hit upon cardamom, pistachios & dried apricots as my favorite combo of flavors. Now they’re my standard additions to oatmeal, along with honey. Hmmm, how will it be to throw some cocoa into the oatmeal, too…?

    Cheers!

    Carol

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