This Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark Is Worth Its Bite

December 21, 2015

When I imagined pomegranate bark, I thought of crisp pieces of rich dark chocolate with hidden bursts of tart juicy fruit. Genius, right?

Photo by James Ransom

Then I remembered the seeds… I always wish that I could just spit pomegranate seeds out in the backyard the way we spat watermelon seeds (usually at each other) when we were kids.

How to make pomegranate bark so that each bite would end deliciously without a mouthful of gritty seeds?

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The answer was to distract the palate and fool the brain by adding even more crunch, plus flavor. Nuts were the obvious addition, and walnuts were the perfect choice because they pair beautifully with both pomegranates and dark chocolate, and they have just the right not-too-sharp crunch. Chewed together, the nuts and pomegranate seeds both taste like walnuts.

More: How to make any kind of chocolate bark, without a recipe.

Photo by James Ransom

After sampling a variety of chocolates, I chose a dark chocolate with a moderate cacao percentage and gentle red fruit notes (Guittard’s Semisweet 64% a.k.a. L’Harmonie) to balance the tannins in the walnuts and the tart pomegranate flavor. Choose chocolate in bar or wafer (a.k.a. pistoles) form, but don’t use chocolate chips for this project because they are not fluid when melted.

The recipe is simple but the details are important. Well blotted (dry!) pomegranate arils and chopped walnuts are folded into chocolate—very gently to avoid bruising the arils and releasing pomegranate juices— then spread on parchment paper. You can save some of the inclusions to sprinkle on top, or you can fold them all into the chocolate, which will give the bark a longer life.

More: This riff on white chocolate bark is made with pomegranate and toasted quinoa.

Photo by Sarah Kieffer

You have a choice whether or not to temper the chocolate. It’s quicker and easier not to temper, but the bark must be kept refrigerated to prevent blooming. You can take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving for better chocolate flavor. It’s prettier (and more professional) to temper the chocolate and easier to give as a gift because it does not require refrigeration.

Tempered or not, bark with topped with pomegranate arils keeps 1 or 2 days. But if all of the arils are coated in chocolate, the bark keeps about 3 days. (You can get 1 or 2 more days more life from tempered bark with all arils coated as follows: Wrap and refrigerate bark in a sealable plastic bag, then bring to room temperature before unwrapping or serving.)

What's your favorite variation on holiday bark? Share it in the comments!

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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).