Chocolate Bark is a sweet treat that can be topped with nuts, dried fruit, sprinkles, or candy. Christmas bark makes a wonderful gift or addition to a holiday cookie platter.
Chocolate bark is a staple during the holidays. It's one of the easiest treats to make and it's delicious. This chocolate Christmas bark is adorned with festive toppings and is perfect for all of your holiday entertaining.
Why you will love this
This recipe is really more of a method that an exact recipe. I'm using pistachios and dried cranberries for a festive Christmas bark, but you can customize with your favorite chocolate and garnishes.
See recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Add ⅔ of the chocolate to a heat-proof glass bowl. Melt the chocolate using either the double-boiler or microwave method (discussed above).
- Once melted, add the remaining ⅓ chocolate and stir until completely melted.
- Pour the melted chocolate on a parchment-lined sheet pan and spread into an even layer approx. ¼-inch thick.
- Sprinkle toppings on the chocolate.
- Let cool at room temperature until firm, approx. 2-3 hours. You can speed up this process by chilling the chocolate in the refrigerator. But this can give the chocolate a grayish hazy appearance on the top. I prefer letting it set up at room temperature.
- Cut or break the bark into pieces.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Toppings for chocolate bark
The options for toppings are limitless - be creative! You can customize by season or use a favorite flavor combination as inspiration.
- Seasonal sprinkles or nonpareils (like the Snowman version below)
- Candy such as M&M's or chopped candy bars
- Toasted nuts like almonds, pecans, pistachios, or hazelnuts
- Dried fruit such as apricots, cranberries, or cherries
- Crystallized ginger
- Toasted coconut
- Crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
- Chocolate chips
- Flaked sea salt
- Crushed pretzels
- Miniature marshmallows and graham crackers for a s'mores version
Ideas for serving and gifting
Chocolate bark is a wonderful addition to holiday spreads like:
- Cookie platters
- Dessert boards
- Dessert buffets
- Game-day snacking
- A simple indulgence for you after a busy day
During the holidays, homemade gifts add a touch of personalization and let others know you care. You can package bark in cute little bakery boxes or cellophane bags. Just add a festive bow or ribbon.
- Hostess gifts
- Secret Santa or grab bag gifts
- Teacher gifts
- Gifts for friends and neighbors
- Craft fairs, church bazaars, or bake sales
- Cookie swaps
Chocolate bark is all about the chocolate, so it's important to use good quality chocolate. I prefer Ghiradelli. It is readily available and reasonably priced. Dark chocolate is my favorite so I use either dark chocolate melting wafers or bittersweet 60% chocolate cacao baking bars.
The melting wafers do not require tempering (more on this below). The baking bars should be chopped into small pieces to facilitate melting and do require tempering. Chocolate chips are not recommended for making chocolate bark. The additives in chocolate chips affect the way they melt.
Tempering is a process that helps melted chocolate retain a glossy finish after it hardens. It prevents the chocolate from having a hazy, grayish look. It also gives the chocolate a crisp snap when bitten into.
To temper, start by melting ⅔ of the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Adding chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate slowly lowers the temperature which is necessary to properly temper chocolate.
Melting chocolate is not difficult, but it does require a little patience. Heating chocolate too quickly can cause it to cease up. Chocolate can be melted using one of two methods.
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More Christmas sweets
Chocolate Christmas Bark
- 12 ounces chocolate baking bar (chopped (such as Ghirardelli), (Note 1))
- ¼-⅓ cup salted pistachios (shelled)
- ¼-⅓ cup dried cranberries
- flaked sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add ⅔ of the chocolate to a heat-proof glass bowl. Melt the chocolate using either the double boiler (Note 2) or microwave method (Note 3).
- Once melted, add the remaining ⅓ chocolate and stir until it is completely melted.
- Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer approx. ¼-inch thick. Top with the pistachios and cranberries. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Allow to set completely at room temperature, approx. 2 hours. (Note 4) Cut or break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
- Use good quality chocolate, such as baking bars. The bars melt better than chips do because chips have additives that affect the way they melt. I prefer Ghirardelli. It is readily available and reasonably priced. Use your favorite chocolate - dark, semi-sweet, milk, or white.
- Double boiler method - This is often a preferred method because it is easier to control the heat and monitor when the chocolate is fully melted. Place a heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Place the chocolate in the bowl and gently stir with a spatula as the chocolate melts until completely smooth.
- Microwave method - It is harder to control the heat using this method because all microwaves have different wattages. This method works very well with the melting wafers. If you are using the melting wafers, melt according to the package directions. If using chopped chocolate, microwave in 30-second intervals at 50% powder, stirring in between each interval, until melted.
- You can speed up this process by chilling the bark in the refrigerator, but this can give the chocolate a hazy, whitish appearance.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.
The post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated.