Looking for a wow-worthy dessert to bring to your next holiday party or cookie exchange? This toasted almond dark chocolate coffee bark has you covered. It’s a 4-ingredient recipe that comes together in a snap. I love it because it’s full of toasty almonds, delicious dark chocolate, a hint of salt, and a boost of energy from coffee beans. Aside from being delicious, this recipe actually has some nutrition benefits too!
Why I Love This Chocolate Coffee Bark Recipe
If you know me, you know I love simple recipes without a bunch of fussy ingredients and steps. All you’ll need is four ingredients — chocolate chips, coffee, coarse salt, and almonds. This recipe only requires about 20 minutes of hands-on time before you pop it in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours. (Way less time-consuming than cookies, candy, or fudge.)
There’s something so satisfying about the flavors in this recipe. Sweet, creamy chocolate and sea salt complement each other so well, and the roasted flavor of the coffee and almonds take the complexity up a notch. Not to mention, they both give this recipe a nice crunch.
I can’t wait to bring this toasted almond dark chocolate coffee bark home for Christmas! My family loves chatting for hours over coffee and desserts, especially when we have parties and get-togethers. As much as we all love spending time together, the holidays can get a bit tiring, so it’ll be nice to have a dessert that has a boost of caffeine in it!
As an added plus, the ingredients in this dessert recipe have some health benefits! More on that below…
While I’m sure it’s possible to overdo it on coffee (don’t drink a whole pot of it on a daily basis, y’all) in the amounts that most people drink it, coffee has so many benefits.
Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day has been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, breast cancer, congestive heart failure, stroke, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, and liver cancer. Coffee has also been linked to other positive health effects, such as improved athletic performance, improved cognitive function, and decreased risk of depression. (FYI: My friends at Purity Coffee have a ton of incredible resources on coffee and health. Check them out here! They also sell my favorite coffee, which you can buy here.)
Why did I choose dark chocolate over another type of chocolate? Aside from the slightly bitter, rich flavor that I love, dark chocolate also contains more flavonols. Wondering what flavonols are? Think of them as little plant compounds that come with a whole host of benefits. The flavonols in chocolate have been linked to decreased blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced risk of heart disease. The key is moderation here — 1-2 squares per day should do the trick.
Almonds have earned a reputation as a health food, but why is that? Let’s start with heart health. Almonds contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which can contribute to healthier blood lipid levels (aka cholesterol). They also contain fiber and plant compounds called plant sterols that help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, eating almonds has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition to being heart-healthy, almonds also provide fuel for healthy gut bacteria and promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction.
See? Delicious desserts can be nutritious too!
How to Make Chocolate Coffee Bark
1. Toast almonds
To toast almonds, start by preheating your oven or toaster oven to 350F. Once preheated, spread whole almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Don’t over-toast your almonds! I made this mistake on my first try and ended up with beautifully browned but burnt-tasting almonds. Watch them carefully and use your nose! If you smell things getting too toasty, take ’em out! This recipe is also great with raw almonds if you don’t like the toasty flavor (or if you don’t feel like toasting almonds).
2. Prepare your mix-ins
You can use ground or whole bean coffee to make this recipe. I prefer grinding whole beans because this will give you more control over the texture of your coffee.
If using whole bean coffee, use a coffee grinder to pulse 1 tablespoon of the beans until they reach a fine texture, then set aside. Grind the second tablespoon of beans less (about 5 pulses) until they reach a coarse texture.
Once the almonds are toasted and cool enough to handle, chop them coarsely.
3. Melt chocolate with a double boiler
If you’ve never used a double boiler, here’s how to set one up! You don’t need to buy a specialized one from the store. All you need is a metal or glass bowl wide enough to fit over the top of a small pot (and the pot, of course).
Fill the bottom of your double boiler with about 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
Place your bowl on top with chocolate and 1 tbs of finely ground coffee inside. The steam rising from the boiling water will gently heat the bowl so that you can melt your chocolate evenly. Stir with a spatula until about 90% melted. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and add in 1/2 of the toasted almonds.
Can you melt chocolate in the microwave?
Yes, but it can be harder to heat evenly this way. To melt chocolate in the microwave, heat in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute at a time and stir after each minute. Repeat until the chocolate is 90% melted.
4. Spread the chocolate
Pour the chocolate into an even layer across a prepared baking sheet, then use a spatula to get the last little bits out of the bowl. Use a spatula to gently smooth the chocolate using long, even strokes. The chocolate should be about 1/4 inch thick. The almonds will make the chocolate a little bit chunky-looking, but that’s okay. The bumps will make the bark easier to crack later.
Top your coffee bark with the rest of the toasted almonds, coarse coffee grounds, and a pinch of sea salt.
Move the baking sheet to the fridge for quicker cooling. Wait until completely cooled before cracking the bark into bite-sized pieces.
- Make it nut-free — omit the almonds or substitute with pumpkin seeds
- Make it with different flavors/toppings – This recipe would taste amazing with hazelnut coffee + hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, or dried fruit (like cherries!)
- Make it less bitter – This recipe uses bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), so if you’d prefer it sweeter, use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao such as semi-sweet (55% cacao) or milk chocolate.
- Make it lower in sugar — use a lower-sugar or sugar-free chocolate (such as Lily’s)
- Make it vegan/non-dairy — use vegan chocolate (such as Lily’s or Enjoy Life)
- Make it smoother — pulse almonds in a food processor instead of chopping
- Make it lower in caffeine — use decaf coffee
- Make it with coffee grounds instead of beans — substitute 1.5 tablespoons for the 2 tablespoons of coffee beans
Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark with Toasted Almonds
- coffee grinder (optional – see Recipe Modifications)
- 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips 62% cacao
- 0.5 cup almonds raw
- 2 tbsp whole coffee beans divided
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350F. Spread almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cover a larger baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse 1 tablespoon of the coffee grounds in a coffee grinder until fine, set aside. Pulse the remaining 1 tablespoon 5 times until coarse, set aside.
- Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop the toasted almonds
- Set up a double boiler (pot with about 1-2 inches of water with a glass bowl on top, heat on high). Add chocolate chips and finely ground coffee to the glass bowl. Stir often with a spatula until 90% melted. (There should be some chocolate chunks visible.) Remove bowl from the pot.
- Fold 1/2 of toasted almonds into the melted chocolate/coffee mixture.
- Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in long strokes with a spatula until about 1/4 inch thick. Top with toasted almonds, coarsely ground coffee, and salt.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Break into bite-sized pieces.
- This makes a great homemade gift around the holidays (or any time). Just add a few pieces of chocolate bark to a decorative bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.
- Once cooled, the bark can be kept at room temperature. If you prefer more “snappy” chocolate, keep it in the fridge.
Originally published on 12/6/2019. Updated on 11/15/2020.