How to make swirled chocolate bark for an easy last minute holiday gift — the combinations are endless and the result is stunning!
Everybody has their favorite last minute holiday food gift — mine is bark. And lately I’ve discovered the fun of swirling two contrasting layers to make a very pretty and distinctive surface. It’s super easy and takes just a few minutes. You need a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone, and a skewer for creating the swirls. The above bark is a dark chocolate with peppermint, and below I’ve done a chocolate and peanut butter. You’ll have fun coming up with your own combinations, so let’s get at it—
To make this easy I use chocolate chips whenever possible because they are already in small pieces and they melt quickly. Remember we’re talking about a last minute gift, we don’t want any extra steps. Use good quality ingredients and the flavor will be great. For the peanut butter bark I use dark chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. For my Peppermint Bark I used Hershey’s Peppermint Chocolate Bars, the peppermint bits are already mixed in. You will have to chop it up into pieces before melting.
Of course you can also smash candy canes with a hammer to get your finely ground peppermint dust, it’s up to you.
The system is simple. Pour your base layer of melted chocolate on a lined baking sheet and spread out to a rectangle shape. The size is flexible, you can make your bark thin or thicker. Pour the next layer on in stripes, right on top of the first. Then take a skewer and run it back and forth through the stripes, making a swirled, or chevron pattern. You don’t have to do it evenly, you can swirl it any which way you like. Let it harden, I put mine in the fridge, and then you can cut it.
You can easily knock out gifts for several friends in about an hour with this easy recipe. One bag of chips forms the base layer, and about 1/4 a bag is needed for the top swirls. Buy several bags and mix and match.
This recipe was inspired by my friend Mary at Barefeet in the Kitchen.
- 1 package dark chocolate chips (or your choice of chocolate)
- 1/4 package peanut butter chips
- 1 bag dark chocolate chips
- 1 Hersey's Candy Cane Bar, cut into pieces.
- For the Peanut Butter Bark, put the chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl. Do the same for the peanut butter chips. Make sure your bowls are clean and dry.
- Line a baking sheet or tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Microwave the chocolate chips for one minute on high. Remove and stir.
- Microwave the peanut butter chips for 30 seconds on high. Remove and stir.
- If the chocolate is not completely melted and smooth, put it back in the microwave for 15 second bursts until it is. Do the same for the peanut butter.
- Pour the chocolate out onto the lined baking sheet. Spread it out into a rectangle shape, approximately 7x10 or 8x11 inches. The size is flexible, don't stress about it.
- When you've got your rectangle evenly smoothed out, pour the next layer on top, drizzling it in stripes, either the long way, or horizontally. Then take a skewer and drag it through the surface to make swirls.
- Let the bark harden before cutting into pieces. I like to set my tray right in the refrigerator, but be sure it is level.
- Store the bark in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
- For the Peppermint Bark the instructions are the same.
- The combinations are endless. Try a white chocolate/peppermint, a milk chocolate/dark chocolate, or a chocolate/toffee. Think about garnishes like sea salt, crushed nuts, or sprinkles.
- It helps to warm your knife just before cutting the bark for clean slices.
- Chocolate bark should be kept chilled until ready to give or serve. If you are boxing it up, separate the layers of candy with waxed paper.
- I originally tried the peanut butter bark with actual peanut butter, and while it works, the peanut butter never hardens, so it is messier to eat. But it was very good :)
The bark is almost prettier once it gets cut into squares, each one is like a unique little piece of delicious art.
I promise you you will get oohs and aahs when you present this bark. — if that kind of thing is important to you ;)