Like chocolate bark in a mini muffin cup, everybody goes crazy over these dark chocolate bark bites with cranberries. Best of they super easy to make with no baking involved. Even a sweet treat can be healthy, and frankly necessary if you are a chocolate lover. A great recipe to make with kids or as a gift!
Here is a favorite recipe I created for The Daniel Plan Cookbook. Melt chocolate drizzled into mini 2" paper baking cups, layer with the other goodies, and cool until they harden. You will have 8 bite-sized little treats for 4 people, and the recipe doubles or triples easily.
It's sort of like chocolate bark but in a mini cupcake paper. A mini cupcake pan gives the paper cups support. Don't like walnuts? Use almonds or macadamia nuts.
Beautiful Treats and Gifts
A few weeks ago I made a batch of these dark chocolate bark bites for a healthy living event to show the audience. I packaged a couple up in little cellophane bags and tied them with a ribbon as a holiday treat suggestion. They disappeared quickly on stage as my fellow speakers got a hold of them.
The Happy Chemistry of Chocolate
Chocolate not only smells great, tastes great and melts in your mouth, but the chemistry of chocolate is fascinating. The reason we love it and it makes us happy is a chemical called PEA. PEA is a chemical produced naturally in our brain. It is also present in relatively high concentrations in chocolate.
In the brain, PEA acts as a stimulant, increasing the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine and leading to an elevated mood and feelings of pleasure. So now you know why chocolate makes us happy. For more info on the chemistry of chocolate, read this article.
How to Melt Chocolate
For these chocolate cranberry bites, choose a good quality dark, bittersweet chocolate of 70% - 72%. Valhrona is a good brand, available at stores like Trader Joes. Other good ones are I love Theo organic, Hu and Green and Black.
Here are two ways to melt chocolate.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave using 50% power for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Continue in 30 second increments until chocolate is mostly melted. It’s ready when there are still a few lumps. They will smooth out as you stir. Do not overheat or the chocolate could burn.
Double Boiler on Stove Top
Place a small pan with a few inches of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and place a small bowl with the chocolate over the hot water. The bowl should sit on top and barely into the pan, but not touch the hot water. Stir occasionally, until chocolate melts smooth.
How to Make Bark Bites
Buy mini muffin papers and set them up in either a mini muffin pan or on a small flat tray. The mini muffin tins offer more support. Ready the cranberries, walnuts and coconut, then carefully melt your chocolate. You can use other dried fruit or nuts. If you choose dried fruit that is in larger pieces you will need to chop them.
Gifts and Party Favors
These are so easy to make you can make big batches and package them for hostess gifts, holiday gifts and party favors. I use small cello bags with twist ties and ribbon.
For more gifts from the kitchen ideas, try these recipes as well!
Dark Chocolate Bark Bites with Cranberries
- mini muffin pan or flat tray
- 8 mini paper liners for muffin pan
- 4 ounces good quality 70% bittersweet chocolate
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut unsweetened coconut
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Use a serrated knife, bread knife or a large heavy chefs knife. Melt chocolate in either the microwave or a double boiler on the stove.
How to Melt Chocolate in the Microwave
- To melt chocolate in the microwave, place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave using 50% power for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Continue in 30 second increments until chocolate is mostly melted. It’s ready when there are still a few lumps. They will smooth out as you stir. Do not overheat or chocolate could burn.
How to Melt Chocolate on the Stovetop
- To melt chocolate in a double boiler, place a small pan with a few inches of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and place a small bowl with the chocolate over the hot water. The bowl should sit on top and barely into the pan, but not touch the hot water. Stir occasionally, until chocolate melts smooth.
Assemble the Chocolate Snack Bites
- Place 8 paper cups on a flat plate, rimmed baking sheet or into a mini cupcake pan for support. Drizzle in 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate, then top with a sprinkle of nuts, coconut and a few dried cranberries. Drizzle with another teaspoon melted chocolate, and sprinkle with a bit more nuts and coconut. Refrigerate about 45 minutes to set up or until they are firm.