Homemade treats are great gifts for the holidays, whether you want to bake cookies or make candies. One of the easiest – and tastiest – treats to make is chocolate bark. Chocolate bark, in its simplest form, is a relatively thin sheet of chocolate studded with nuts, dried fruits or even candies. The sheet of bark is set and then broken into uneven pieces to package and serve.
It’s called “bark” because, when made with milk or dark chocolate, the shards look a bit like tree bark. You can make it with just about any kind of chocolate, though. I really like to use a combination of white chocolate and dark chocolate. The two chocolates can be layered or swirled together to give each bite a bit of each flavor and a good balance overall. I topped this bark off with pistachios and dried cranberries for a holiday look. You can use any kind of nuts or dried fruits you like. Roasted and lightly salted nuts are going to give you the greatest depth of flavor.
To make the bar, all you need is a nonstick surface on which to spread out the chocolate. Parchment and wax paper both work very well, but I generally use my silpat for chocolate work. The melted chocolate can be spread out with a knife or a spatula and should be about 1/8th inch thick. Feel free to make a double batch if you want to make it thicker or want to serve a crowd.
Choose good quality chocolate for this bark, since chocolate is the main ingredient. The chocolate needs to be tempered for the best results in your finished bark, a process that is easy to do in the microwave (tutorial here). I used Guittard White Chocolate and Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate for this batch. Make sure that when you choose chocolate – especially with the white chocolate – that you look for something made with real cocoa butter and not vegetable oils, like Candy Melts.
Black and White Chocolate Bark
2 cups white chocolate, chopped
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted, chopped pistachios
Lay out a piece of parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet.
In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, partially melt the white chocolate (heating in 30-60 second intervals until about half of it has melted, then stir until smooth). In a small-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate in the same manner. Partially melting the chocolate and stirring in solid pieces will allow you to temper the chocolate.
Pour the white chocolate onto the prepared parchment paper and spread out slightly. Drizzle the dark chocolate over the top and gently smooth the chocolate into an even layer. Chocolate should be about 8×8-inches.
Sprinkle nuts and dried fruits on top of chocolate and place baking sheet in the refrigerator until chocolate is set.
Break up into pieces before serving.