The elegance of chocolate covered strawberries in an easy-to-make chocolate bark bursting with strawberry flavor! You’ll love this chocolate covered strawberry bark. Dairy free option.
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Chocolate and Strawberries. They have been paired together for quite some time now. As legend has it, a woman by the name of Lorraine Lorusso developed the chocolate covered strawberry for a local grocery store called Stop ‘N Shop in the 1960’s. As you can imagine, the idea was a wild success…and thus began the chocolate-covered-fruit revolution (major win for mankind).
Chocolate, in general, has been around for even longer. Many sources indicate that cacao (which is a term referring to the actual cocoa bean, and not the sweetened chocolate we usually consume today), has been consumed by humans for over 2,000 years.
According to the Smithsonian, the Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, actually means “food of the gods“. Whoever it was that came up with the name is a distant relative of mine, I’m pretty sure. For some time, cacao beans were deemed so valuable that they were actually used as a type of currency.
Valentine’s Day met chocolate in the 1800’s when Richard Cadbury began marketing more varieties of what was then called “eating chocolate” (believe it or not, drinking chocolate came first) with the excess of cocoa butter left over from the drinking chocolate he was producing. The “eating chocolate” was soon marketed in fancy decorated boxes he designed himself for this holiday of love that was ever increasing in popularity. But Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bark wasn’t invented…yet.
Thanks to Lorraine Lorusso and Richard Cadbury (and the crazy – but brilliant – person who decided cacao beans were edible), we now have the indulgent flavor combo of Strawberries and Chocolate. And thanks to the invention of freeze dried strawberries, you no longer have to wait for strawberries to be in season to enjoy this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bark!
Have you tried chocolate dipped freeze dried strawberries yet? It’s one of many new food trends, one of the brilliant ones, and I’ve been eyeing the recipes on Pinterest for a while now.
There are a few things that set this recipe apart from any others you’ll see on Pinterest or across the web.
First, you’ll get just the right portion of chocolate and strawberry flavor in every single bite because the strawberries are chopped instead of whole. The real secret to this recipe is strawberry extract. It brings a subtle flavor that gives the bark a wow factor without anyone knowing just what that special something is. Last, but not least, a touch of sea salt brings all the flavors together in the most perfect way. Believe me, Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Bark is a treat you’ll want to indulge in again and again!
Also, I’m a sucker for easy recipes, and if I can find a way to eat chocolate dipped strawberries without spending an hour dipping strawberries then you better believe I’m all over that. You’ll love how easy this recipe is to make! I’ve included a few simple tips and step by step instructions below to help you get exactly the result you want, but don’t think it’s complicated just because of the advice. It’s really just melted chocolate with a few ingredients stirred in 😉
A few tips for success:
- Better ingredients = Better product. There are a lot of freeze dried fruit options out there. Some are great, others are bland or the texture is off. Please read labels to be sure the freeze dried strawberries you’re using are gluten free and use a brand you trust for quality.
- The above applies to the chocolate you use as well. Below are my top picks. Feel free to use the style of chocolate you prefer, get creative! I always reach for dark, so I used half dark chocolate and half semi-sweet. Feel free to use any combination of your favs!
- Hershey’s (Click here for a list of which varieties are gluten free. I used the special dark and semi-sweet)
- For a dairy free option, use Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet). They melt very well and are top 8 free.
- Guittard (their dark chocolate is my fav. You can check out the ingredient list on their website. (Peanut free/shared equipment with milk)
- Melt your chocolate on very low heat. It will take a little while but it’s worth it for the smooth and creamy chocolate bark you’ll achieve. I don’t recommend using a microwave, but you can if you’re comfortable with that. I placed a pyrex bowl over a small saucepan with an inch or so of water to make a double boiler. I’m cheap like that.
- The alcohol in the strawberry extract will begin to harden your chocolate when you add it. That’s why I recommend that you keep the chocolate on low heat while adding it as this will keep it melting. If it begins to harden or get lumpy, just stir it over low heat until it’s smooth again.
- Feel free to half or double the recipe. Also, if you like white chocolate, drizzle a little over the finished product (it’s perfection).
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bark with Freeze Dried Strawberries
The elegance of chocolate dipped strawberries in an easy-to-make chocolate bark bursting with strawberry flavor! Dairy free option.
- 2 cups gluten free Chocolate Chips
- 1 tsp butter or shortening if you want a softer bark
- 1/2 tsp gluten free Strawberry Extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped gf freeze dried strawberries, divided (chop just before melting chocolate and reserve 2 T for garnish)
- sea salt
- Line a small baking sheet or 9x13" pan with wax paper. Set aside.
- Melt chocolate chips and butter/shortening (optional) in a double boiler over low heat until smooth. You'll want to stir the chocolate continuously.
- As soon as the chocolate is melted and smooth, and while the chocolate is still over low heat, stir in strawberry extract while stirring vigorously. The chocolate may harden back up a little, keep stirring until it's smooth again.
- Stir in strawberries (except 2 T you reserved for garnish) and spread the chocolate onto your prepared pan. Sprinkle with 2 T strawberries and sea salt, to taste.
- Place your pan of chocolate bark in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, until it's solid.
- Chop into squares or irregular sized pieces and serve!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, with layers separated with wax or parchment paper, for up to a week.
Shared on Gluten Free Fridays