Handmade Chocolate Holiday Bark Three Ways
This is such an easy DIY gourmet gift you can make at the last minute and with very little skill. You don't even need fancy chocolate-making equipment. If you have a microwave, a bowl, and a spoon, you're all set! Holiday bark is essentially chocolate that has been melted down, spread flat to set then broken up into pieces. You can get really creative for the holidays by adding anything from crushed pretzels, cookies, and candies to dried fruit and nuts. When I sold chocolate for the holidays, I made three different kinds - peanut butter crunch, milk chocolate peppermint, and cranberry pistachio.
For the peppermint bark, start with a bag of chocolate baking chips. You can switch it up with milk, white, or dark chocolate; or you can make it layered with both white and milk or white and dark. For every 12 oz. of chocolate you use, include 1 tsp peppermint extract, 1 tsp of butter or shortening, and at least 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy. To crush the peppermints, place them in a sealed plastic bag (double-bagged to be on the safe side), grab your rolling pin and smash away.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a glass bowl.
- Heat a minute at a time and stir until melted through. (Should only take a few minutes. *For white chocolate start with 30 seconds at a time.)
- Add in the peppermint extract and butter and stir until smooth.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread evenly over a wax-paper lined baking sheet and top with crushed peppermint.
- Allow to cool completely (about ten minutes in the fridge) before breaking into pieces to package.
For the cranberry pistachio bark, I used 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate, 2 tbs butter, and 3/4 cup each of chopped pistachios and dried cranberries. Follow directions above, omitting the peppermint, and topping with the cranberry and pistachios after spreading the chocolate.
For the peanut butter crunch bark, I used 8oz semi-sweet chocolate, 8oz peanut butter baking chips, and 1 cup of salted roasted peanuts.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave one minute at a time, and melt the peanut butter chips 30 seconds at a time until melted.
- Add in 1/2 tbs butter to each and stir until smooth.
- Spread the melted peanut butter chips down first then add a layer of chocolate. Use your rubber spatula to create a swirl pattern with the chocolate and peanut butter.
- Top with the nuts and let cool.
An easy way to break them into pieces without messing up the pretty toppings is to cover them with an additional piece of wax paper before you pick it up off the baking sheet to break it up.
Package them as holiday gifts with: tin-tie bakery bags + red ribbon + Christmas gift tags
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