Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Chocolate Barks for Santa or Friends

Just a few days to Christmas, and you might still need to make a gift or have treats ready for Santa. I can't think of anything easier or more versatile than Chocolate Barks. What do you have in your pantry? Well, chocolate, of course, and you can add anything to the chocolate, and voila! instant candy! Package your bark nicely in a tin, and you have a gift for Aunt Em! Put it on the table for Santa, along with cookies and milk, and he'll love it!

So here are recipes for a variety of Holiday Barks!

One of the traditional tastes of Christmas is Peppermint! I love Peppermint Bark, and I wish it were available all year, but you can always make your own. Following are three recipes for Peppermint Bark. Do you prefer white, dark, or milk chocolate? Peppermint Bark is easy to make and great to give. As always, use the very best chocolate, and in the case of this first recipe, be sure and use 'real' white chocolate.

1. White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

1 pound white chocolate
candy canes, crushed to make 1/2 cup

Heat white chocolate in double boiler over low heat until melted.
Add crushed candy cane to white chocolate. Make sure white chocolate stays warm.
Pour mixture onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet, spreading very thinly with spatula.
Place cookie sheet in freezer until  mixture has hardened.
Take out of freezer and crack bark into small pieces.
Remove from wax paper and store at room temperature.

2. Microwave White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

1 pound white chocolate
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Place chocolate in microwave-safe dish. Microwave on 50% power, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and of creamy consistency.
Stir in crushed candy canes.
Spread on cookie sheet and place in the freezer until set (about 20 minutes).
Break into pieces.

3. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

12 ounces high quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water).
Remove from heat, add peppermint extract and stir.
Pour melted chocolate onto cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with spatula or wooden spoon.
Sprinkle peppermint candy chunks on chocolate and gently press in with hands.
Put in freezer until hardened (5 minutes).
Break into pieces. Store in fridge in an airtight container.

And, here are two recipes for festive holiday barks that feature red --and red and green--in the bark.

4. Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Ginger Bark

6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp crystallized ginger
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tsp sea salt

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water.
Remove saucepan with melted chocolate from stove and stir in crystallized ginger and half of pomegranate seeds.
Line baking sheet with parchment. Pour melted chocolate mixture onto sheet. Using a spatula smooth chocolate into even layer about 1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle with remaining pomegranate seeds and sea salt.
Chill 20-30 minutes (until firm).
Break into pieces and store in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.
Serve same day, if possible.

The following recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website. I love the innovative recipes on the website and blog, and, of course, King Arthur Flour's great products! This recipe is very festive with red cranberries and crunchy pecans...and it uses both white and dark chocolate layers. Let's face it, you can never have enough bark! Woof!

5. Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark
from King Arthur Flour

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted diced pecans
2- 2/3 cups chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
2- 2/3 cups chopped white chocolate, melted

Toss cranberries and pecans together. Set them aside.
Melt dark chocolate (in the top of a double boiler--see above), and spread into 8" x 12" oval on parchment paper.
Allow chocolate to set, but not harden completely.
Melt white chocolate (in the top of a double boiler-see above) and mix with about 3/4 cup of cranberries and pecans. Spread this over dark chocolate.
Sprinkle rest of nuts and fruit on top, pressing them in gently.
Refrigerate for about 10 minutes--no more than 20-- until hardened, then break into chunks.

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Janet!!!

Would you believe I've never made holiday bark? I've only had it a couple of times and really, really liked it! I's love to try that Peppermint Bark. I've been on a Dark Chocolate kick lately, lol...

Thanks so much for sharing, Janet. Wishing you and yours the happiest of Holidays!!!