If there's one thing I've learned from scrolling on FoodTok, it's that easy frozen desserts have an unbelievable hold on all of us. Who can forget the date bark or frozen yogurt bars that took over everyone's (read: my) For You page last year? Well, it seems my new 2024 hyper-fixation frozen dessert has entered the chat: strawberry, peanut butter, and chocolate bark.
As made by @faithsfresh, this simple bark only uses three main ingredients: fresh strawberries, creamy peanut butter, and dark chocolate (pretty straightforward, as the name suggests!). There's also the optional addition of olive oil and flaky salt. Everything then gets layered onto a sheet of waxed paper, frozen until solid, and then cut into classic "bark" shapes. Since it was posted at the end of December, Faith's video has garnered almost 14 million views on TikTok and resulted in tons of re-creations. You can watch the full video below.
@faithsfresh / Via tiktok.com
Because I'm no stranger to making easy viral desserts, I knew I had to give this one a shot. Here's everything I grabbed to re-create it:
STEP 1: Hull your strawberries and cut them lengthwise into quarter-inch slices along the wider side of the strawberry (basically, cut them in a way that results in the largest surface area per slice).
STEP 2: Lay your strawberries out on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, alternating between the flat and pointed sides so you have as little gapping as possible.
STEP 3: This is completely optional, but since I had a bunch of small scraps, I used some of them to fill in any larger gaps. Then I ate the rest because we all deserve a little chef snack while we cook.
STEP 4: Spread the peanut butter onto the sliced strawberries in an even layer. My peanut butter was new, and since I hadn’t refrigerated it yet, it was really easy to spread. If yours is refrigerated, you may need to melt it by popping it in the microwave for 20- to 30-second bursts or heating it over a double boiler.
STEP 5: Throw the whole thing in your freezer for about 15 minutes, just to firm up the peanut butter a bit. We are not looking for it to totally freeze at this point, but just want to prevent the peanut butter and chocolate from mixing together.
STEP 6: While the peanut butter layer firms up, roughly chop and melt the chocolate with the coconut oil (if using). As with the peanut butter, you can do this in 20-second bursts in the microwave or over a double boiler. I have an extremely small kitchen and don't own a microwave, so I opted to double-boil.
STEP 7: Once your chocolate is melted, spread it over the peanut butter layer. Since the peanut butter will be cold, your chocolate will begin hardening almost immediately, so work quickly to spread it into an even layer!
STEP 8: Finish with a little flaky salt before the chocolate hardens (again, this is optional) and throw the whole thing in the freezer until it's completely frozen. This will take one to two hours, but ideally, leave it in overnight.
Then cut it into irregular shapes (there's really no strategy here, just go for it) and enjoy your frozen treat!
This was so, so simple to make — truly, anyone could do it. And the result is a delicious snack that's like a PB&J meets a chocolate-covered strawberry. I was actually skeptical about the peanut butter in this at first, but I actually really enjoyed how it tasted with the strawberries. And, of course, you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. This gets a solid 8.5/10 from me, but there are a few things I'd do differently next time.
First off, I originally only froze this for 30 minutes because I'm impatient and was losing light (woo, January!). The chocolate was definitely frozen, but the peanut butter was far from it, which made it super messy to cut into. So do as I say and not as I do and freeze overnight for the best results.
Also, the flaky salt was maybe not necessary, especially if you use salted peanut butter. I love a sweet-salty combo, but it kind of drew out moisture from the chocolate in the freezer, resulting in these little droplets of water on top.
Speaking of chocolate, I might also opt for a less-dark chocolate next time, maybe a semisweet one that would work better with the peanut butter. But that's just my personal preference!
But we're not stopping there. When I originally opened Faith's video and went to the comments section, there was an overwhelming number of people suggesting more fruit-spread combos. The most commented fruit? Bananas.
Well, ask and you shall receive, because I also made a banana–cookie butter version. The ingredients and method are similar, with just a few tweaks.
STEP 1: Slice your bananas the same width as the strawberries (so about a quarter inch) and lay them onto parchment or waxed paper.
STEP 2: In this case, you'll definitely need to melt your cookie butter in order to make it easier to spread. Once again, I did this over a double boiler, but if you're blessed with a microwave, melt your cookie butter in 20-second bursts.
STEP 3: Spread the cookie butter over the bananas in an even layer and, once again, freeze it for about 15 minutes until it's no longer a goopy mess.
STEP 4: While the cookie butter firms up, melt the chocolate and coconut oil with the same method used for the strawberry version. This time, we're adding a secret ingredient: espresso powder. I'm not talking about instant espresso, but very finely ground coffee. Mix this in as your chocolate melts to amp up the chocolate flavor. I bake with ground espresso often and just had some lying around, but you can 100% skip this if you don't have it.
STEP 5: Spread the chocolate over the semi-frozen cookie butter layer (remember: It'll start to harden almost instantly!), top with flaky salt, and then freeze at least one hour, but clearly, overnight is your best bet.
That's it! You'll notice how much less of a mess I made by actually being patient and freezing overnight.
This was so. Damn. Good. Because cookie butter is obviously sweet, as opposed to peanut butter, I think dark chocolate was the perfect pairing in this case. In hindsight, I wish I had used a fun topping like crushed Biscoff cookies or some pretzels. But there's always next time, right? (Especially since I already finished it.)
Personally, I enjoy the texture of a frozen banana more than a frozen strawberry, which gets quite icy. Mostly because it wreaks havoc on my sensitive teeth. But with either recipe, I'd recommend letting it sit out for a bit at room temp before you dig in (only about five minutes, or else it'll start to melt).
Let me know if you try this recipe out for yourself or have any other combinations you'd recommend (so I can try more of these)! And don't forget to follow @faithsfresh on socials for more easy recipes.