36 ;e Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2016
BY KATHIE N. LAPCEVIC
CHOCOLATE BARK is a simple and tasty
way to make candy bars and other chocolate
delights at home and for gift giving. At its
simplest form it is nothing more than melted
chocolate poured over dried fruit, nuts or
other bits of candy and refrigerated until
hardened. For more complex flavors, chocolate bark can be adapted endlessly by pouring
chocolate over homemade toffee, nut brittles
and much more.
Making chocolate bark always includes
melting chocolate at some point, which is
blissfully easy for the inexperienced or busy
home cook. Start with any chocolate or mix of
chocolate: semisweet, 70 percent dark, milk,
etc. You can use chocolate chips, as well as
candy or baking bars.
To melt chocolate, chop large bars into
smaller pieces (leave chips whole) and place
them in the top of a double boiler. The bot-
tom of the boiler should contain 1 inch of
water. A bowl that fits over a small pot works
just fine as a double boiler if a traditional
double boiler pot isn’t available. Simmer the
water and stir the chocolate until it melts
evenly. If using a bowl, be sure the water
doesn’t touch it while simmering. For white
chocolate, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or
shortening to every 8 ounces of white choco-
late; otherwise, the white chocolate will not
pour or spread well.
To melt chocolate in a microwave, place
the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and heat on
high for 1 minute. Remove the bowl and stir
the chocolate, and repeat the process in
30-second increments until all of the chocolate is sufficiently melted and smooth.
Overheating can scorch the chocolate, so
keep the bursts short and stir in between to
prevent the chocolate from burning.
Once the chocolate is melted, the bark
making begins. Line a jelly-roll pan or other
pan with rimmed edges with parchment
paper. Spread the parchment paper with bark
additions as desired; easy options include:
• Dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries
• Chopped nuts, salted or not
(salted nuts give bark a great sweet
and salty combination).
• Seeds, including sunflower seeds and
• Bits of purchased candies.
• Bite-size pretzels or larger ones broken
into smaller pieces.
• Potato chips broken into smaller pieces.
It’s best to use items that are relatively dry.
Avoid additions like fresh fruits, as they have
a tendency to prevent the chocolate from
staying hard for long and can go bad more
quickly than dried fruits.
Once the items are evenly spread across
the prepared sheet, pour the chocolate over
the top and spread into an even layer. Place the
bark in the freezer or refrigerator and allow it
to harden. Once it’s hard, break the chocolate
into uneven pieces for a more traditional bark,
or try to cut it into even pieces, like bar shapes,
with a knife. Store the finished bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The bark
will stay fresh for two weeks, if kept chilled.
Looking for some chocolate bark recipe
inspiration? The following recipes range from
simple to more complicated and are sure to
please the folks on your chocolate gift list. C
Kathie N. Lapcevic (homespunseasonalliving.
com) is a writer and teacher.
Chocolate bark is a simple dessert to wow your taste buds
All bark and great bites
FOR YOUR TABLE