I think it’s a food blog rule that you have to post “pumpkin something” the first week of fall. But I already shared my favorite, favorite pumpkin bread…and last year I skipped pumpkin completely and brought you this perfectly dense, cinnamon-y apple cake. So now we have salted dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark…and oh my word. It’s addictive.
My mom bought a bag of extremely similar bark from Costco awhile ago, and I thought, “hmm, looks good.” And then I tried it. And I wanted to eat it all, without coming up for air (or perhaps more realistically, by having just.one.piece every time I walked into the kitchen). It had this amazing crunch…not so much hard-and-crunchy, like nuts, but more light-and-crunchy. It kind of reminds me of a Nestle Crunch bar, but only texture-wise, since I’ve never liked those, and I LOVE this bark. Fortunately, it couldn’t have been simpler to recreate it for mass consumption!
This recipe is literally 3 ingredients, and the culinary skills involved are 1) microwaving and 2) chilling in the fridge. Self-control would also be a good skill to have, but I can attest that it’s not actually necessary…your bark just won’t last very long.
So: chop up some chocolate (you can skip this step if you’re using chocolate chips). Melt it in the microwave by heating it at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Stir in roasted pumpkin seeds and spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle on more seeds and a bit of salt. I think the bark is prettier if you leave it alone, but I love it extra thin, so I usually press another sheet of parchment on top and smooth the melted chocolate into an even layer. Stick the pan in the fridge for an hour or so, then break up the bark into random chunks.
Pressed thin and smooth on the left; spread out with a spatula with more visible seeds and salt on the right.
I tried the bark with semi-sweet chocolate chips and also with 72% cacao chocolate (#research #science #usingmydegree), and both versions are delicious: the semi-sweet chocolate bark is more obviously a sweet treat, and I love that sweet/salty combo. The 72% dark chocolate is more complex – a hint of bitterness, a tiny bit sweet, a little salty, still a lot crunchy. I honestly can’t decide which I like better. You’ll just have to try them both, too.
Beautiful, salted dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark chunks of happiness and love. Happy fall, y’all!Print
- 12 oz dark chocolate (I tested it with semi-sweet chocolate chips and a 72% cacao dark chocolate bar – both were great)
- 3/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (divided)
- a pinch of kosher salt or flaky sea salt (I used less than 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
- If using a chocolate bar, coarsely chop it into chunks about the size of chocolate chips. Put the chunks or chips in a microwavable bowl and melt them (using 30 second increments at 50% power), stirring in between each bout in the microwave. (See note below about tempering chocolate!)
- When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds. Pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread it out with a spatula into a thin layer. Sprinkle the surface with remaining seeds and a pinch of salt. You can stop at this point, or press another piece of parchment or waxed paper onto the top of the bark, smoothing it out into a thinner, more even layer.
- Chill the bark in the fridge for at least an hour before breaking it into chunks and serving!
The experts say you should “temper” your chocolate when you melt it – the easiest way to do this is to reserve about 1/3 of the chocolate during the microwaving process. Finely chop the reserved chocolate and stir it into the melted chocolate until it melts, too. Here’s a helpful video from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe to further explain the process. I tried the recipe both ways and didn’t notice any ill effects when I skipped the tempering, so you can decide if you want to take that small extra step.
The bark can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature (it may “sweat” a bit when you first take it out of the cold, but it keeps fine on the counter once it comes up to room temperature).
I consulted a few recipes in my quest to recreate the BarkThins snacking chocolate bark from Costco, and ultimately just experimented until I found a ratio I liked.