Frugal, Healthy & Delicious Recipe: Homemade Dark Chocolate Candy “Bark”

Heart-healthy homemade bittersweet candy “bark” that even the kids will love. This recipe for one batch goes a long way. The chocolate is very rich, very satisfying, and did I say….very healthy?

If you’re tired of giving your kids junk chocolate (my two kids love, love, love chocolate), try this semi-frugal recipe. I came across it in The South Beach Wake Up Call book by Arthur Agatston, MD. It’s low-glycemic and has some good protein. I made it for Father’s Day, and although no one in my family is a dark chocolate fan, this recipe made them swoon. Not kidding! They could not get enough of this. Luckily, it’s quick and somewhat inexpensive to make, depending on where you get your ingredients (it costs me between $7 to $10 to make a batch, depending on which nuts I end up buying, but it makes the equivalent of about 10+ large candy bars). I’ve since made this recipe a number of times and it’s been a huge hit every time even with the pickiest of young and adult eaters.

~Marilyn, TFF

Ingredients (with sample costs):

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate ($3.50 for 9 oz. of Ghirardellli bittersweet chocolate bits at ShopRite–I’m sure there’s an organic variety out there!)
  • 6 tbs dried cranberries coarsely chopped ($1.99 for package of Trader Joe’s dried cranberries)
  • 6 tbs pecans coarsely chopped ($2.69 for small package of Diamond chopped pecans)
  • 6 tbs unsalted almonds coarsely chopped ($1.65 on sale (!) can of whole Blue Diamond almonds chopped up in processor)


  • Mix chopped cranberries, pecans and almonds in a bowl.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate.
  • While melting chocolate, prep a baking sheet by covering it with foil.
  • Fold cranberry and nut mix into melted chocolate.
  • Spread entire mix onto baking sheet. Make the layer as thin as you can — it’s ok if there are “bald” spots.
  • Put baking sheet into the fridge for two or more hours. (I often leave it overnight. The recipe in the book calls for less time, but I found that more time makes it easier to break the pieces into bark.)
  • Break apart into pieces–it’s easy to remove the chocolate from the foil, so don’t worry!
  • Store in fridge for two weeks, but it doesn’t take that long for the whole thing to disappear!
Details: 65 calories for 2 medium pieces, 5.5 g. fat, 2 g. saturated fat, 1 g. protein, 6 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 0 mg sodium. From book: “Just a small bite of this delicious chocolate treat provides important health benefits…and good unsaturated fats. Make the effort to find bittersweet chips since the darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of antioxidants.”

Mix dry ingredients together.
Melt the chocolate….slowly.

Line a baking pan with foil.

Mix everything together.

Spread an even-ish layer onto the foil-covered pan. Stick pan in fridge for more than 2 hours. Keep pan uncovered.

The chocolate breaks apart very easily once it’s chilled. Break into large and small chunks for variety.