Chocolate bark is probably the easiest thing you can make at Christmas. Sherry’s already posted a recipe for peppermint bark, but the three barks here are even easier. The best thing is that you can change the ingredients in just about any way you like as long as the proportions stay the same.
The first one here (at left in the picture) is based on the classic Italian combination of hazelnuts and dark chocolate. The next one (center) is white chocolate with pistachio and dried cranberries. (This one comes with a warning. Some of what passes for white chocolate in the grocery store is indeed white but not chocolate; as far as I can tell, the substitute consists mainly of milk solids, various kinds of fat, and sugar. I don’t know what this tastes like or how it melts, but it might work. It won’t have the distinctive taste of white chocolate, if that matters.) The last one (right)—and the most popular this Christmas—is semi-sweet chocolate with dried cherries, apricots, and almonds, all from the family of stone fruits.
The batches here were made by mixing the nuts and fruits directly into the chocolate, but you can also sprinkle them on top. That would make the white chocolate look even more Christmasy. Refrigeration helps these set up, and keeps the bark from melting for a little longer.
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- ⅔ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- ⅓ cup dried cherries
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 8 ounces white chocolate
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- Bring some water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
- Set a metal or glass bowl in the saucepan; the bowl should rest easily on the rim of the pan, with the bottom of the bowl well inside the pan. The bowl should NOT be contact with the water.
- Break or roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces.
- Put the chocolate in the bowl and stir frequently (with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula) until completely melted. Do not leave the chocolate unattended.
- Stir the appropriate nuts and fruits into the chocolate.
- Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper and spread it with a rubber spatula.
- Refrigerate until set and then break into medium pieces. Keep cool until ready to serve.
- (This will only keep for a few days before a grayish bloom develops on the surface. The chocolate hasn't gone bad, but it isn't very appetizing.)