Holiday Chocolate Bark Recipes to Make This Season


If you’re looking for a no-bake solution for Christmas gifts this year, you might want to consider chocolate bark. As easy as melting chocolate, sprinkling it into toppings, allowing your candy to harden, then breaking it into chunks, it’s a quick alternative to hours spent baking cookies.

Use items that will enhance the flavor of the bark and decorate it. Swedish fish, red peppers, or bowling pins may look cute, but will they really pair well with chocolate? Healthy ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and dried coconut are natural choices. The same goes for savory snacks like pretzels, chips, and peanuts, which balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. Caramel pieces or caramel candies work well. And there’s nothing wrong with stacking more chocolate, in the form of M & Ms, Reeses’ Pieces or Junior Mints.

HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE

The trickiest part about this recipe is to melt it so that it hardens quickly and with a shiny sheen. If overheated, the cocoa butter in the chocolate will separate from the cocoa solids. It’s hard for these two to recombine when they cool down, so when the separated chocolate comes together, it will look cloudy and dull. To avoid “bloom chocolate” (this is the language of confectionery), do not melt the chocolate in a saucepan over direct heat, which virtually guarantees separation. You can use a double boiler, but since chocolate will seize up from a single drop of water, it is also risky.

The microwave, set on low, not high, is your best bet. Roughly chop the chocolate. Having bigger pieces will allow you to control how quickly it melts. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on low, removing every 30 seconds and stirring with a rubber spatula, until about 2/3 of the chocolate is melted , 2 to 3 minutes depending on the power of your microwave. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until remaining pieces are completely melted.

WHAT YOU NEED

Follow the recipes below or let your taste and imagination dictate your color scheme and choice of toppings, mixing and matching them however you like.

Chocolate: Sweets melt in different colors (to drizzle or swirl)

Fruit: Dried or dehydrated, chopped if necessary; citrus zest

Nuts: Roasted and chopped nuts; sesame seeds, sunflower and pumpkin, toasted coconut

Candies: Chopped Junior Mints, York Peppermint Patties, Crushed Candy Canes, Mini Peanut Butter Cups, Chopped M & Ms

Other toppings: Crushed pretzels, chips, graham crackers; crumbled cookies such as gingerbread cookies; mini marshmallows. Breakfast cereals including Rice Krispies, Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops, chopped candied ginger, flaked sea salt

Heat: Grilled and crushed ancho peppers, Aleppo pepper flakes

Maple bacon bark with Mini Marshmallows

Give 1 pound of candy

1 1/2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons packed brown sugar

2 thick slices of bacon

12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 ounces of melted peanut butter candy (optional)

¼ cup mini marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on the paper. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Brush bacon with maple mixture and bake until crisp and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool then cut into ½ inch pieces.

2. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil.

3. Melt chocolate following instructions above. Repeat with the melting peanut butter candies if desired.

4. Use a small metal spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer on the bottom of the mold. Drizzle melted peanut butter candies on top if using them. Slide a toothpick or skewer through the chocolates to swirl them together in a decorative pattern.

5. Sprinkle with bacon crumbs and marshmallows. Let stand until solidified, 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces before packing in an airtight container.

Florentine bark pops

Makes 8 pops

12 ounces of semi-sweet or sweet and sour milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

¼ cup candied orange peels, chopped

¼ cup caramel chips

2 tablespoons toasted flaked almonds

gold sanding sugar

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 10 lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart.

2. Melt the chocolate.

3. Place 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate on one end of each stick, spreading out into a 3 inch circle with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with orange peels, caramel chips and almonds. Sprinkle lightly with sanding sugar. Let sit until solid, about 30 minutes. Wrap in an airtight container, separate layers of pops with parchment sheets, and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

White Chocolate Hanukkah Bark

Makes about 3/4 of a pound of candy

10 ounces of white chocolate, roughly chopped

3 ounces of royal blue fondant candies

1/4 cup blue chocolate covered blueberries

2 tablespoons of golden sunflower seeds coated with chocolate or golden M & Ms

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil.

2. Melt the chocolate. Repeat with the melted blue candies.

3. Use a small metal spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer on the bottom of the mold. Pour the melted blue candy on top. Slide a toothpick or skewer through the chocolates to swirl them together in a decorative pattern.

4. Sprinkle with blueberries and sunflower seeds or M & Ms. Let stand until solidified, 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces before wrapping in an airtight container and storing at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Chocolate-Mint Bark

Makes about 3/4 of a pound of candy

8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

4 ounces of soft green candy

A 3.5 oz. box (35 pieces) Junior Mints

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil.

2. Melt the chocolate. Repeat with the melted green candies.

3. Use a small metal spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer on the bottom of the mold. Drizzle over the melted green candies. Slide a toothpick or skewer through the chocolates to swirl them together in a decorative pattern.

4. Sprinkle with the Junior Coins. Let stand until solidified, 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces before wrapping in an airtight container and storing at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Peppermint Oreo Bark

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds of candy

24 ounces of white chocolate, roughly chopped

10 Oreo cookies, broken into pieces

12 miniature candy canes, broken into pieces

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil.

2. Melt the white chocolate. Repeat with the melted blue candies.

3. Use a small metal spatula to spread half of the chocolate in an even layer on the bottom of the mold. Sprinkle the cookie pieces over the chocolate in an even layer and press down lightly with the back of a spatula to half-dip them in the chocolate. Spread the remaining chocolate on the cookies, spreading it over the edges of the mold.

4. Sprinkle with pieces of candy cane. Let stand until solidified, 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces before wrapping in an airtight container and storing at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Black and white sesame seed bark

Give ¾ of candy pound

12 ounces of milk chocolate, roughly chopped

1 tbsp unsalted white sesame seeds

1 tbsp unsalted black sesame seeds

½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or to taste (optional)

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil.

2. Melt the chocolate.

3. Use a small metal spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer on the bottom of the mold.

4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper if desired. Let stand until solidified, 1 to 2 hours. Break into pieces before wrapping in an airtight container and storing at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.


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