How to Make a Showstopper Chocolate Board
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Why leave all the charcuterie fun to meat and cheese? This chocolate charcuterie board will fulfill a sweet tooth's wildest (and most decadent) dreams.
Nowadays, the sky is the limit when it comes to charcuterie boards. The crowd-pleasing concept is easily transformed for whatever occasion, meal or course you want to use it for, which is why making a dessert charcuterie board is a guaranteed hit—especially when you make a spread based around a universally loved dessert ingredient like chocolate.
A chocolate charcuterie board will impress your guests while doubly checking dessert off your host or hostess to-do list. Because the only thing better than chocolate is more chocolate, our board includes several kinds of chocolate-based desserts like cookies, truffles, candies and even ganache. Here’s how to put together a chocolate charcuterie board full of every kind of chocolatey goodness your heart desires.
Tools You’ll Need
How to Make a Chocolate Charcuterie Board
Foods to include
Chocolates: What would a chocolate charcuterie board be without pure chocolate? Ghirardelli squares are the perfect, individually portioned way to include chocolate in its simplest form.
Cookies: Chocolate and cookies are a match made in heaven, which is why we included several different kinds on our chocolate charcuterie board! Pirouette cookies, chocolate macarons, chocolate wafer cookies and cannoli are all treats you might not normally keep around the house—and a board is the perfect excuse to pick them up.
We also made homemade quadruple chocolate chunk cookies that are chock full of Oreos, Hershey’s cookies and creme chocolate, white chocolate and regular chocolate chips, because a homemade recipe or two is always a thoughtful touch on a board.
Candies: Chocolate pairs so well with lots of different sweet flavors, and chocolate candies are the perfect way to incorporate each one on the board. Get your fix of chocolate and coffee via chocolate covered espresso beans, chocolate and caramel with the help of turtle candies, and chocolate and peanut butter thanks to peanut butter cups.
Don’t forget about classic chocolate truffles, made even sweeter when rolled in cacao nibs or Dutch-processed cocoa.
Dips: Fondues and other sweet dessert dips are often consumed on special occasions, which is why a chocolate charcuterie board is the perfect time to serve them. We included homemade chocolate ganache, as well as an equally decadent salted caramel sauce. In contrast, a chocolate chip cheese ball rolled in walnuts is a thicker spread that brings some height and texture to the board.
Dippers: Graham crackers are a natural, sturdy scoop choice for the chocolate chip cheese ball, while red and green apples, pretzel rods, almonds and cherries are all begging to get dipped in the ganache and salted caramel sauce.
But, if you’re adventurous enough, you can dip anything on the board. (Yes, even the cannoli!)
Other sweets: Chocolate covered strawberries will be one of the highlights of your chocolate charcuterie board, thanks to the pretty pop of red and the two kinds of chocolate on each berry. White chocolate covered pretzels break up the sea of milk and dark chocolate, while also bringing a salty-sweet snack to the board.
How to Build a Chocolate Charcuterie Board
Step 1: Place the dips, bowls and cheese ball on the board
Make it easier on yourself by placing the bulkiest items on the board first, so you don’t have to worry about leaving space for them later!
Start by placing a square of parchment paper underneath the chocolate chip cheese ball. This makes cleanup go more quickly by preventing a sticky mess on your board, while also making it easier for guests to scoop up the cheese without scraping your board directly. Then, pick appropriate dishes for each of the items in bowls:
Use microwaveable bowls for the chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce, so you can easily heat them up in the microwave when necessary to keep them warm and conducive for dipping (the chocolate ganache will harden up as it sits out at room temperature). A taller jar or mug is best for the Pirouette cookies so you can stand them up vertically, and a shallow, wider bowl is ideal for the chocolate covered espresso beans.
Step 2: Arrange the dippable items next to the appropriate bowls
Place the items intended for dipping next to their corresponding dips: Lay out a handful of graham crackers by the chocolate chip cheese ball, and the apple slices, cherries, almonds and pretzels on the side of the board with the chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce.
Putting dippers next to the appropriate bowls will prevent the need for someone to reach across the board to dip foods, and potentially drip sauce on the rest of the items as they do it.
Food stylist Josh Rink put a pretzel rod in the ganache to lead guests to experiment with dip combinations, and you should, too.
Step 3: Lay out the room temperature cookies and candies
Fill up the board with bunches of the macarons, turtle candies, chocolate truffles, peanut butter cups, chocolate wafers, pretzels and quadruple chocolate chunk cookies. Since these items aren’t meant specifically for dipping (although you can if you want to!), they don’t need to be right next to the bowls.
Step 4: Don’t forget the chocolate covered strawberries and cannoli
Take the chocolate covered strawberries and cannoli out of the refrigerator, and place on the board right before serving.
Test Kitchen tip: The strawberries are best made the same day, because they’ll start weeping strawberry juice with time.
Step 5: Serve!
Once you set out dessert plates, a serving knife for the chocolate chip cheese ball, napkins and whatever drink you choose to serve with the board (we went with coffee), your chocolate charcuterie board is ready to go!
You could also consider placing spoons in the ganache and salted caramel sauce, and setting out tiny sauce bowls for each guest, so they can keep the sauces contained on their plates.
Satisfy your sweet tooth and dig in!
Tips for Making a Chocolate Charcuterie Board
What else can you put on a chocolate charcuterie board?
The fun thing about chocolate charcuterie boards is that there are so many delicious chocolatey items that would be perfect additions or substitutions! Some easy adds to consider include puppy chow, chocolate drizzled popcorn, brownie bites, chocolate covered nuts, Thin Mints, sea salt caramels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates or even chocolate covered potato chips.
Try swapping out the chocolate ganache for Nutella or peanut butter if you don’t have time to make it from scratch, and instead of the chocolate chip cheese ball, try brownie batter dip, chocolate fruit dip or Mexican chocolate dip.
What other kinds of chocolate charcuterie boards can you make?
Chocolate naturally lends itself to holiday and themed get togethers, like Valentine’s Day or Christmas. If you want a chocolate charcuterie board for Valentine’s Day, try adding more pink and red goodies; and for a Christmas board, candy canes and other peppermint sweets like peppermint bark.
Otherwise, if you’re a fan of white chocolate in particular, try making a white chocolate charcuterie board! Dip the strawberries in white chocolate instead of milk chocolate, pick up white chocolate Ghirardelli squares in place of the dark chocolate squares, and go for vanilla macarons instead of chocolate. Then, add white chocolate fudge, peanut butter snowballs, white chocolate dipped Oreos and blondies with white chocolate chips. The spread will look especially wintery. Lean into it by adding snowflake-shaped marshmallows, powdered donuts, and sprinkle a few white chocolate chips for decoration to drive the theme home.
Make sure to check out our favorite charcuterie board books to inspire your next soiree.
What drinks can you serve with a chocolate charcuterie board?
When choosing the type of drink (or drinks) you serve with your chocolate charcuterie board, consider the time of year, the type of gathering and even the time of day you’ll be hosting.
While we served our board with coffee, you could go with red, port or ice wine in the evening. Around the holidays, consider amaretto, eggnog or Irish cream, and if your guests are bringing kids, have chocolate milk or hot chocolate on hand so they can get in on the fun.
Next Up: Check out our cheese board pairings to take your spread to the next level for more inspiration and get creative with these individual charcuterie boards for any occasion.