Easter weekend often leaves us with a mountain of leftover chocolate to get through. Thankfully, there is a wonderful way of transforming it into something really special that can be shared with your loved ones, rather than being forgotten or eaten plain all yourself.
You don’t need a recipe, or even to measure any ingredients, to make gorgeous chocolate bark – it’s about getting creative and using your favourite flavours and textures. The only thing to remember is that roughly 600g of chocolate will cover a large baking sheet.
Use whatever you have, be it dark, milk, or white. Marbling dark chocolate with white creates beautiful patterns, and will turn your bark into an immensely impressive gift. To do this, melt white chocolate separately and pour a small amount over your milk or dark chocolate, before gently swirling the two together using a cocktail stick or thin skewer.
Chilli, sea salt, and dark chocolate are best pals. Scatter over a pinch of dried chilli flakes for a warm kick, and a sparse sprinkle of flaked sea salt for a nip of salty sweetness that will brilliantly enhance the natural flavour of the chocolate.
Nuts and seeds are great additions for added crunch. Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds are all delicious, and any nuts will also work a treat, either roughly chopped or sprinkled over whole. My favourites are pistachios, partly because they add a splash of colour.
The same is true for dried fruits, which add texture and sweetness. Try sprinkling over raisins, currants, cherries, chopped dates, figs, apricots, or finely sliced mango.
Making your bark
When you melt chocolate too aggressively, it can cause it to act in different ways – therefore, doing it gently is important to ensure it retains its beautiful chocolaty texture. It’s super simple though – all you need is a bain-marie, which is nothing more than a saucepan, a bowl, and a little bit of patience.
Place a heatproof bowl snugly over a saucepan with a little water in the bottom (but not enough so that it touches the bottom of the bowl). There should be no gaps between the bowl and the rim of the pan. Place on the stove, bring the water to a gentle simmer, then lower the heat and start breaking your chocolate into the bowl. Stir with a spoon or spatula until smooth and completely melted.
Start by lining a baking sheet or thin tray with greaseproof paper or cling film. Pour the melted chocolate onto your lined tray and spread evenly using a spatula. You can make it as thin as you like.
While the chocolate is still soft, add your toppings. Be sure to get really creative – you can add different toppings to different portions of your tray, which means when it’s broken up you’ll have a nice mix of pieces.
Once you’ve created your masterpiece, transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours to cool. When completely set, break up in to rough shards. Wrap in cellophane bags tied with ribbon and handwritten labels for perfect homemade gifts, or store in an airtight container for a quick sweet treat.
Be sure to have a look through our chocolate recipes for inspiration.
By Abby Michalski
How to Make Chocolate Bark Without a Recipe
It snuck up on me, but now is that time of year when I need a homemade treat to give as gifts. This year, that treat will be chocolate bark. The trick for how to make chocolate bark is that there is no trick: I can make it with ingredients I already have in my pantry, and I can make it in less than half an hour. And each batch can be personalized to match my gift recipients' tastes if I know them—or my current mood if I don't.
You never have to measure to make chocolate bark, which makes it the easiest, prettiest gift you can make—no recipe required.
I just love the way chocolate falls in shards as I slice it, don't you?
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell
Chocolate Bark Notes & Tips
For a festive appearance, incorporate something green, like pistachios or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) and something red, like dried cranberries. Other options include chopped dried ginger, which will add some golden sparkle, or even crushed candy canes.
The easiest way to melt chocolate is in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe bowl and warm the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring after each one. Don’t get impatient and skip a stir, and don’t overdo it!
No microwave? Melting white chocolate? Use a double boiler. Place the chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Cook until the chocolate is almost entirely melted, stirring frequently. Carefully wipe any condensation from the bottom of the bowl before scooping the chocolate onto your baking sheet (water and chocolate do not mix!).
If you’re in a hurry, chill the chocolate bark in the refrigerator. Your chocolate bark will be perfect for tonight’s party.
If you have time, let the chocolate bark cool at room temperature for a few hours. The trouble with the refrigerator is that the chocolate can develop some light condensation on the surface. When the water evaporates overnight, you’ll see little swirls of dissolved sugar on top (called sugar bloom).
- 6 (4 ounce) bars dark chocolate (65 to 70% cocao), chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
- ½ cup dried goji berries
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt (Optional)
Chop dark chocolate into small pieces. Separate into 2 portions 1/3 in 1 portion, 2/3 in the other. Place 2/3 of the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, preferably metal. It should be large enough to sit on the rim of a pot without touching the water.
Heat about 2 inches water in a pot over medium-high heat until it just barely starts to simmer. Reduce heat to lowest setting place bowl over pot. Allow chocolate to melt without stirring until about 2/3 of the pieces have melted. Stir until all pieces have melted and chocolate feels hot (not boiling hot) to the touch (about 115 to 120 degrees F), about 2 minutes.
Transfer the remaining third of chocolate to the bowl. Stir until melted. Place bowl on the counter and, stirring occasionally, cool chocolate until it's cool to the touch and beginning to thicken up a bit, about 8 minutes. Chocolate should be smooth and shiny.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat (or parchment paper or waxed paper). Slowly pour the chocolate into the lined pan not all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts, pistachios, and goji berries evenly over the chocolate. Top with a bit of coarse sea salt.
How to Make Chocolate Bark
Crush the candy canes (if they aren&rsquot already crushed). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the milk (or dark) chocolate in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave using 30-40 second intervals, stirring after each one. Two or three rounds in the microwave should be sufficient.
Spread the chocolate out on the parchment in a thin, even layer. Using a large, offset spatula works well, if you have one. Put the pan in a cool place for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate is completely firm, either in the refrigerator or outside, if it&rsquos chilly.
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate the same way, using 30-40 second intervals and stirring after each. Stir in the peppermint essential oil.
Spread the white chocolate over the milk chocolate quickly and then sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top. You&rsquoll want to do these steps quickly because the cooled milk chocolate will make the white chocolate firm up quickly. You&rsquoll want the white chocolate wet when you put the crushed candy canes on it so they&rsquoll stick better.
Let the white chocolate firm up completely (you can put the pan back in the fridge if you like) and then break it up into big pieces.
The bark is ready to eat immediately or you can package it up to give away. Store it in a covered container and keep it away from heat.
Have you ever made chocolate bark?
It&rsquos the perfect little gift to make for teachers, girlfriends, your stylist, or to give to your neighbors because:
- You don&rsquot need a recipe.
- You can customize it however you like.
- It&rsquos fast! You can whip up multiple batches in under an hour.
- Clean up is a SNAP because you can use the same cookie sheet and parchment for multiple batches.
I&rsquoll show you. Grab a bowl. And some chocolate!
You can use just about any chocolate you like. Even chocolate chips.
I use chocolate melts because they melt more evenly and easily. And I don&rsquot have to chop up a big block of chocolate.
These are Guittard brand I found in the bulk section of my grocery store. I grabbed some white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.
Another reason I like making bark (as opposed to buying it) is because I can use higher quality chocolate than most companies use when they make bark. Better chocolate = better flavor.
I&rsquoll show you how I make classic peppermint bark and then give you some ideas for toppings with different types of chocolate.
Get excited. I went a little nuts in the bulk department buying toppings.
You can put SO MANY THINGS on chocolate bark. Yes, that&rsquos breakfast cereal and potato chips you see up there. More on that later.
To melt the chocolate, I microwaved it in 30-40 second increments, stirring after each round, until it&rsquos completely melted. You don&rsquot want to microwave it for too long or the chocolate will scorch.
Spread it out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I like to use a big offset spatula because it spreads more smoothly and evenly.
Since this bark is double-layered, you&rsquoll need to firm up that chocolate before you put the white chocolate layer on top.
It only takes a few minutes chilled. (I literally put my pan on the back patio since it&rsquos in the 30s where we live.)
Melt the white chocolate the same way. I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil to boost the peppermint flavor.
Now spread it over the firmed up layer. I like to leave some chocolate showing under the white chocolate so I don&rsquot melt as much of it.
As soon as you get it spread out, sprinkle some crushed up candy canes over the white chocolate. Use your hand to gently press the candy into the chocolate. This is especially important when you&rsquore putting chunkier toppings. You&rsquoll want them firmly imbedded in the chocolate.
Also, prep your candy canes before you spread the white chocolate on because it firms up fast over the cooled chocolate. (Especially if you stick it in the fridge. Or in your arctic backyard.)
I just love crushed candy canes. They&rsquore so pretty and festive!
Once the second layer cools, you can break it up however you like!
Now it&rsquos ready to package up and give away!
Let me add just a few other notes. I like making my chocolate bark really thin like this. The texture is nice and brittle and the flavor of the chocolate doesn&rsquot overtake the toppings. (This happens with dark chocolate especially.)
I found that using 14 ounces of melted chocolate (total) is a good amount for a full-size cookie sheet. For the layered bark, I used 8 ounces of milk chocolate and 6 ounces of white chocolate.
Peppermint bark is super festive for Christmas, but chocolate bark can be made for just about any occasion year-round! Here are a few ideas:
- Chop up some leftover Halloween candy and mix it with some other favorite fall candy.
- Pair some salty snacks together to create a salty-sweet bark. This combination of pretzels, potato chips, and popcorn was particularly good!
I know it&rsquos cliché, but the possibilities are truly endless! I&rsquod love to hear how you snazz up your chocolate! And you can find the Peppermint Bark recipe and instructions below!
(Yes, I know I said you didn&rsquot need a recipe for chocolate bark, but that one has a few extra details.)
Here&rsquos the link to the printable recipe: Homemade Peppermint Bark
Have you ever tried to melt chocolate only to have it seize and be ruined? Moisture is the enemy of chocolate. Just a drop of water will cause the chocolate to seize. However melting chocolate is easy if you follow these steps.
- Cut chocolate into similar size small pieces.
- Place in a clean, dry glass or ceramic bowl – not plastic as it may retain moisture and a metal bowl can become very hot.
- Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water – be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Stir occasionally with a clean, dry metal spoon until melted – don’t use a wooden spoon because it also may retain moisture.
- Be sure not to let any water splash into the chocolate.
You can also use a microwave to melt chocolate. A microwave can be harsh on chocolate but follow my tips for a no fail microwave method.
- Cut chocolate into similar size small pieces
- Place in a microwave safe, clean, dry glass or ceramic bowl – not plastic as it may retain moisture
- Microwave, uncovered on medium or 50% power, in 30 second intervals.
- Stir with a clean, dry metal spoon in between each, until melted.
Chocolate Bark Candy
This one is a milk chocolate, pretzel, pecan and caramel bark.
Here I made one with semi-sweet chips (dark chocolate would be good too) sliced almonds and dried cranberries.
You can bag them up in food safe cellophane bags or some fun holiday tins. Take them to the next party you go to as a hostess gift, give them out as favors at your own party, or add them to a present for everyone on your list.
Chocolate Bark | The Easiest Homemade Treat
Last week, I hosted our annual Thanksgiving Baskets Party. I always have snacks and wine for the girls. This year, I made a cheese board and a couple of batches of Homemade Chocolate Bark. I have always wanted to try it after watching the Barefoot Contessa make it. It was beyond simple to make, it took a total of about 5 minutes and it is completely beautiful and delectable. The combinations are endless.
Candy making can be intimidating. I don&rsquot really dabble too much in complex candy making. This homemade chocolate bark was frighteningly simple. Like, I could make a batch every afternoon without any effort.
I made two versions, one with milk chocolate and one with white chocolate. This chocolate version has dried cranberries, cashews, pistachios and sea salt. The sea salt was absolutely an amazing touch &ndash don&rsquot forget that! I look forward to making a festive version with Emma with mini marshmallows, pretzel pieces, sparkles and sprinkles. It will be our go-to Hostess Gift for this season &ndash I love it so much!
The Easiest Homemade Treat
1 24oz. package of chocolate almond bark
Prepare a Large Sheet Pan ($10) by lining it with Parchment Paper ($10). Prepare toppings, ready to sprinkle on once the chocolate has melted. In a microwave safe bowl, put all but one of the chocolate squares. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each interval, repeating until it is all almost melted. When it is almost melted, add the last cube of chocolate and continue stirring until it is melted in and the entire mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture on the parchment paper, and
Stir continuously to help coax the melting. Don&rsquot over heat, or the chocolate can become stiff.
The parchment paper is key. It slides off the paper so easily.
This is the version with white almond bark with dried cranberries, cashews and sea salt.
On the night of the party, I broke it into pieces and put it into pewter bowls. The girls loved it. We sat around and just broke pieces off and snacked throughout the night.
To give them as a gift, I put them in a cello bag (large pictured here) with a seasonal tag and ribbon.
Homemade Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes
17 Making delicious chocolate bark is something we’ve started doing with our kids quite regularly. Besides tasting great, it also gets them excited about working in the kitchen and learning about how to work with food. They’ve even come up with some awesome flavour combinations of their own since we started out foray into the bark world! Now that the Christmas season are here, they’re determined that we all keep making bark together, just in unique holiday flavours and we’re totally on board for that idea!
Just in case you’d love to make some homemade holiday chocolate bark this season too, here are 15 of the best recipes, flavour combinations, and tutorials we’ve come across so far.
1. Italian triple chocolate bark
If you’re never tried Italian style chocolate that has hazelnuts in it then we are very sorry indeed to tell you that you’ve been missing out! There’s just something so rich and satisfying about the way this recipe from An Italian in My Kitchen is made using three separate kinds of chocolate perfectly blended into one, with whole hazelnuts in the mix for flavour and crunch.
2. Dark chocolate pecan bark
Maybe you’re very interested indeed in making a chocolate bark that has some nutty crunch to it but hazelnuts have never really been your thing? In that case, we think you might get along a little better with something like this fantastic dark chocolate pecan bark! My Wife Can Cook shows you how it’s done in surprisingly few simple steps.
3. DIY melted snowman chocolate bark
If you’re going to make chocolate bark with your kids, would you prefer that if have some kind of cute novelty to make sure they stay interested the whole time you’re making it together? In that case, we think you’ll get a real kick out of the way By Pink made their white chocolate slabs looking like funny melted snowmen! Use candy for the features in your chocolate “puddle”.
4. No-bake Christmas lights bark
Just in case you’ve never noticed before, peanut M&Ms are the perfect shape for making Christmas light themed things! Now that you can see the similarities, go forth and make something sweet and awesome, like this fantastic white chocolate Christmas likes bark from Bellyful. This idea would also look cute in milk or dark chocolate if you don’t like the taste of white!
5. Nutty dark chocolate candy cane bark
Are you still thinking about how much you love the idea of chocolate and nuts together in one bark but you’re having trouble choosing between nut options? Well, who said you have to choose? We love the way Pickled Plum combined peanuts, almonds, and cashews in their dark chocolate and even threw in crumbled candy cane to make sure it really gets that holiday element!
6. Salted caramel chocolate pretzel bark
Sweet and salty things have always been popular in our house, which is the first reason this delicious salted caramel pretzel bark from Honey and Birch caught our eye! The second reason is that caramel is another classic holiday ingredient that we’ll use at just about any opportunity, so this really was just the perfect recipe for us to add to our list.
7. Christmas coconut bark
Sure, coconut might sound like more of a summer time ingredient option, but we doubt you’ll be passing up the chance to use it once you’ve seen how adorable shredded coconut looks sprinkled onto desserts to look like snow! We’re completely obsessed with the way Happy Foods Tube used coconut and blue sprinkles to make the surface of their chocolate look like a blizzard.
8. Candied orange peel bark
Maybe you’d rather make something where the flavour speaks for itself and you don’t have to embellish or decorate it specifically to get that holiday charm? Well, if you like the taste of classically Christmassy Terry’s chocolate oranges, we think you’ll love the taste of this fantastic candied orange peel bark outlined step by step on Ice Cream and Inspiration!
9. Fruit and nut chocolate bark
Just in case you’re still thinking about how a nutty Christmas bark might be the best idea for you but you’re not convinced that adding crushed peppermint is the way you’d like to go, here’s an alternative that lets you get crafty with holiday dried fruit! Check out how Salt & Lavender added different kinds to their bark to make things taste even more delicious.
10. Maple bacon holiday bark
That’s right this chocolate bark has bacon in it. Just in case that’s not enough to add flavour, they also threw in a hint of natural mint as well, just to make sure the holiday theme really hits home with each bite! The flavour combination these things create is almost unlike any we’ve tried before. See how it happens in more detail on The Castaway Kitchen.
11. Pistachio cranberry white chocolate bark
Just in case you’re still thinking about how much you’d love to make some sweet white chocolate bark but we’ve got you thinking about how appealing the idea of adding a nut crunch really is, take a look at this undoubtedly holiday inspired recipe from The Blond Cook that makes things more flavourful using pistachios and dried cranberries!
12. Loaded Christmas candies bark
Are you actually convinced, as you scroll, that the ideas that will go over the best with your kids are definitely the ones involved as much Christmas candy as possible? In that case, we think you simply must take a look at how Averie Cooks made this delicious chocolate bark that also features Oreos, pretzels, sprinkles, and M&Ms, just for starters.
13. Rose petals white chocolate bark
If you’ve never tried the delicately glorious taste of rose flavoured treats then the holidays are absolutely the time to do so! Even though we usually prefer milk chocolate, this recipe from Tasha’s Artisan Foods is a glorious exception because the sweetness of the white chocolate complements the subtle hints of rose perfectly. It also looks like a wintery dream!
14. DIY chocolate peppermint
Are you actually still not over the idea of adding peppermint flavours to your chocolate bark because mint chocolate has always been your favourite and now it’s really “in season”? Then we have a feeling this bark recipe from Ahead of Thyme that combines milk chocolate, white chocolate, candy cane pieces, peppermint flavour, and holiday candy is going to be right up your alley.
15. Peppermint cookie chocolate bark
Just in case you’re really enjoy the concept of making a certain dessert that also tastes like or involves elements of another dessert but you just haven’t seen anything that quite strikes your fancy yet, here’s a delectable recipe from Wake Up to Waffles that’s perfect for cookie lovers! Check out their tutorial to learn more about how this peppermint cookie chocolate bark was made in just a few simple steps.
Do you have another kind of favourite chocolate bark that you love making around the holidays but that you don’t see here on our list? Tell us all about how it’s made or link us to photos of your finished treat in the comments section!
- ▢ nuts
- ▢ dried fruit
- ▢ toasted coconut
- ▢ chopped candy
- ▢ crushed candy canes
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- Make sure all your equipment is absolutely dry and free from any water droplets, otherwise your chocolate will seize and be grainy.
- Properly tempered chocolate will start to harden around the edges almost immediately.
- Be sure to spread the chocolate thinly, about 1/4" thick. Using an offset spatula helps with getting the job done quickly and evenly.
- If your chocolate hardens, simply reheat using either technique for tempering chocolate, and use again.
- Don't forget to line baking sheets with wax paper or parchment before spreading on melted chocolate.
- Have toppings ready to sprinkle onto melted chocolate. If the chocolate is starting to harden, press gently on the toppings to work into chocolate.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes immediately after adding the toppings to set the chocolate.
- Don't handle the bark to break into pieces until it's fully hardened. Otherwise you'll leave smudges or fingerprints on the chocolate.
Silky dark chocolate meeting Middle Eastern flavors means this is not your average bark—and that's a very good thing.
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.