These lightning fast no bake holiday treats are the best last minute gifts for family, friends, and Santa. And I’ll tell you what, these 11th hour wonders turn out to be everybody’s favorites!
I’ve spent many a Christmas morning making a last minute batch of bark or two because for all my planning and prepping during the holidays, I always seem to come up short in the gift department. You too? No worries, I’ve got quite a collection of no bake treats that come together in a jiffy.
This decadent, chunky bark is packed full of festive nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.
It’s all about texture
What I love about this bark is the nice textural contrast you get from both stirring some nuts into the melted chocolate before pouring it out onto your baking sheet, AND scattering more nuts on top. That way you get flavor, texture and crunch all the way through this nice, thick bark that’s really more like a delicious homemade chocolate bar.
Successful last minute gift givers have a delicious secret, and it’s truffles. Truffles are decadent, delicious, and do-able.
Liqueur makes sophisticated flavors
The fun here is that you can use just about any liqueur you love to infuse these chocolates with a dose of holiday flair and extra special flavor. Buy one or two mini airline sized bottles to experiment with.
If you’re like me and you love chocolate, but you REALLY love all those toasty, caramel-y, toffee-y flavors, this butterstoch-y bark is for you.
Use readymade chips
If you’ve only made bark with regular chocolate or maybe white chocolate, there’s a whole world out there of meltable chips in flavors like butterscotch chips (which I used here), peanut butter, etc. These meltable morsels (you’ll usually find them in the baking aisle near all of the other chocolate chips – look out for special seasonal ones around the holidays too!) work great for making bark because they melt but then harden at room temperature, just like chocolate, and they open up a whole new world of flavor combination possibilities!
It doesn’t get any easier than dipping pretzels in melted chocolate, but the result is so sweet.
Fancy gift catalogues charge a fortune for these, but guess what? Yours are going to be better because you’re going to use real chocolate, and fresh pretzels. It makes all the difference. Be sure to get creative with your combinations and these dipped pretzels will be a coveted gift, guaranteed.
This gorgeous white chocolate bark is just plain magical fun. It’s the perfect excuse to break out all the pretty sprinkles and just have fun! Plus it looks so pretty set out on a holiday table.
Melting white chocolate
White chocolate can make a stunning bark, but can be difficult to melt. It has a tendency to seize up, which can be so frustrating. I recommend using confectionary candy “melts” that aren’t actually chocolate, but a creamy, white, meltable candy that gets the job done.
If you can pop corn you can make a last minute gift that everybody will love.
It’s all in the mix
Creative combining of ingredients is what it’s all about here. Readymade ingredients can be gift-worthy when you know how to put them together and this popcorn mix hits the sweet spot with a melange of salt, crunch, and chocolate.
Sometimes the easiest projects turn out the best ~ this one is stupid easy and so delicious.
Creative add ins
Nuts are a classic ingredient for a lot of chocolate barks, but look around your pantry for other types of candy and edible toppings. Crushed peppermint candies make for a classic peppermint bark, toffee, small candies like M&M’s, even dried fruit and seeds make pretty and festive toppings for your chocolate bark.
These adorable holiday thin mint cookies are perennial favorites on the blog, and that’s because chocolate and peppermint are such an amazing combination. No need to reinvent the wheel, though.
Let someone else do the baking
Readymade cookies are your friends here. Use Nabisco wafers, deconstructed Oreos, or, as one genius reader did, use Oreo Thins. Any thin chocolate cookie will work.
This simple bark is deceptive – it seems like there’s not much going on, but the deeply toasted hazelnuts have so much flavor and pair so well with the creamy white chocolate.
Toasting for flavor
When it comes to nuts, toasting pays big dividends. Toasting nuts enhances and brings out their natural flavor SO much, it’s always worth the little bit of extra effort. Since nuts can burn easily, it’s best to keep an eye on them in the oven and give them a shake a few times as they are cooking. I usually toast my nuts at about 325-350F for 10-12 minutes or so.
I’ve also experimented with toasting nuts extra-deeply for an unexpectedly rich flavor. My Toasted Almond Bark features almonds toasted ALMOST to the point of burning for a super sophisticated flavor.
Everybody’s favorite luxury candy is totally doable in the kitchen, just be sure to use good chocolate and toast those pecans (see note above.)
Build it back better
You’ll take wrapped caramels, chocolate, and pecans, and with a little sleight of hand you can create turtles just as good as your favorite candy shop.
Once you realize that melted chocolate of different colors can be swirled together into infinite beautiful patterns, your last minute gifts take a step up into gourmet territory.
Spread out a layer of one type of melted chocolate, and follow with blobs of a contrasting chocolate. Take an ordinary chopstick and start swirling the two together. A creative spirit is all you’ll need to make a pretty spectacular gift.