Chocolate Bark: the easiest candy ever

Homemade candy.

Does that sound like an oxymoron?

I mean, you probably wouldn’t attempt to make a Milky Way or M&Ms at home. Or Gummi Worms, or Starbursts, or even a simple Charleston Chew.

But chocolate bark?

It doesn’t get any easier.

Melt chocolate. Spread flat. Cool, and break into pieces.

That’s it.

Of course, plain chocolate bark isn’t terrifically exciting. It’s what you put on (or in, or atop) it that creates the WOW factor.

And luckily, the add-ons are completely up to your personal taste, and your imagination.

Bacon bark, anyone?

Hmmm… with white chocolate as the base, maybe.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a homemade Christmas gift that’s fast, easy, and “one size fits all,” look no further–

Peppermint Crunch Bark (or fill in your own topping) is your answer.

First, the chocolate. We’re using Merckens chocolate in this recipe: bittersweet, and white. They make a nice milk chocolate, too, if that’s your preference. It melts nicely, and has rich, true flavor.

But definitely choose your own favorite chocolate, if you prefer.

One caveat: when chocolate chips melt, they’re thicker, less pourable, and generally harder to handle than melted bars or chunks of chocolate. That’s why we recommend bar chocolate, rather than chocolate chips, for this recipe.

Gently melt 2 2/3 cups (16 ounces) dark chocolate, heating it on very low heat or over hot water until it barely melts. Stir to melt it completely. If you’re making peppermint bark, add 3 to 5 drops peppermint oil, if desired.

Spread the chocolate into an 8″ x 12″ oval on parchment paper or foil. Hint: If you’re using half-sheet parchment as I’m doing here, one sheet cut in half is about 9″ x 12″ – that makes it easy to spread the chocolate to the right thinness.

Allow the chocolate to set, but not harden completely. I found about 15 minutes in the fridge gave the shiny, just-melted chocolate a more opaque, starting to set look.

Next, melt 2 cups (12 ounces) white chocolate the same way.

Be VERY careful; white chocolate melts more quickly, and also burns more quickly. If you’re doing this in the microwave, do it in short, 30-second bursts, stirring between each.

If you’re making peppermint crunch, stir a couple of tablespoons of crushed peppermint candy into the white chocolate.

Or not. I prefer “add-ons” to “add-ins.”

Pour and spread the white chocolate over the dark chocolate.

Sprinkle more peppermint crunch on top, pressing it in gently.

Or sprinkle with the toppings of your choice.

Once the chocolate is completely set, break it into pieces, and divide among pretty gift bags.

Now, how about other toppings?

The aforementioned peppermint crunch is delicious for mint chocolate lovers; and chips are perfect for those who like their chocolate unadulterated by “foreign substances.”

You might also try toasted nuts, dried fruit, crushed pretzels, crystallized ginger bits, and other candies – now here’s where those Peanut M&Ms are REALLY good.

Love cranberries? Our Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark is a delicious riff on this concept.

And if you can get your hands on any mini peanut butter cups – go for it!

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Peppermint Crunch Bark.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Judy Gibson

    Okay, this is my first attempt at bark. I’ve done chocolate covered pretzels and fruit. I have a great electric double boiler that melts the chocolate perfectly. What I did: Bottom layer of milk chocolate, next in topping of crushed/diced dried cranberries and pistachios, then a layer of white chocolate topped with finely chopped sugared (candied) pineapple and cherries. Major WOW factor!

    Reply
  2. Donna Fredette

    I made peppermint bark for the first time and was not completely satisfied.
    I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate for the bottom layer and their white
    chocolate for the top layer. Not chips. Everything came out beautiful and quite
    delicious, however, at room temperature the bottom chocolate layer became pliable and melts on your fingers, however, it is hard when refrigerated. The white layer is
    hard refrigerated and at room temperature. What did I do wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Donna, we’re sorry to hear that your first attempt at peppermint bark wasn’t as much of a success as you had hoped. While a simple, gentle melting of the chocolate usually works well enough, heating the chocolate to a temperature that’s too high or not high enough can both prevent the chocolate from setting up properly. If you’re interested in diving a little deeper into the world of chocolate, we’d suggest checking out our chocolate tempering guide. Tempering is a process that involves heating the chocolate to a certain temperature, and then cooling it back down (usually with the addition of more chocolate) before working with it. While a more careful process than simple melting, it helps to produce chocolate with that perfect snap and shine. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dave, in order to help you figure this out, I would suggest giving our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253 so you can walk us through the steps and we can help troubleshoot where something might have gone askew.
      Bryanna@KAF

  3. linda

    Thank you. I actually, let the peppermint bark sit out not top of my heater. Then I was able to cut into the bark. Lesson learned, don’t forget the parchment paper.

    Reply
  4. Linda Foote

    Well, I made three batches of peppermint bark last night, but I forgot to use parchment paper to remove the bark. 🙁 So, now I have beautiful candy that is stuck to my pans. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, not sure there is going to be a clean solution to this, Linda. Have you tried chipping it off of the pan? Jon@KAF

    2. Anne Anderson

      Try this:
      Put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
      Then put about 1/2 inch of hot water in a larger pan or the sink.
      Place the frozen pan into the water for about 20 seconds.
      Run a sharp knife point around the edge of your bark.
      Insert the edge of a metal spatula along the sides and gently to the spatula back to see if you can pry up the bark just a few fractions of an inch.
      If you can feel movement use the spatula edge or a knife to cut the bark into pieces and pop them out of the pan.
      Bark is meant to come in different pieces anyways and no one will be the wiser.

      and place a piece of parchment or four oil or wax paper over the park and gently turn it over and see if it will drop out for you.

  5. Jenny

    I made this with my kids this week, and may have accidentally found a fix for the dark and white layers separating. My kids spent too much time arguing about who was going to sprinkle the peppermint pieces on top, so my white chocolate layer had set too much for the peppermint to really stick. When I tried to break the bark into pieces, almost all the peppermint fell off, AND my two layers came apart. Resigning myself to the idea that it wouldn’t be pretty enough to give away, I decided to stick the whole sheet pan in the oven to try to remelt the chocolate enough for the peppermints to adhere. for about 15 minutes at 300°. I kept checking to see if it was soft enough to push the peppermint pieces in. It actually worked, and as a bonus, made my layers stick together too! Hope this helps 🙂

    Reply
  6. Susan

    I made the bottom layer from Belgium Milk Chocolate wafers. To this I added 2 tsp of coconut oil, as I wanted the chocolate to pour easier. I also added 2 tsp of cocoa butter in the hopes of making the chocolate quite hard when done. After removing the chocolate from the fridge, and it being on the counter for a few minutes, it began to soften. The wafers were quite solid before melting. I would like to give this as a gift but do not want it soft at room temperature. I bought this chocolate as it had less additives and would like to use it. Should I maybe use Bakers semi sweet chocolate instead?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Susan,

      Cocoa butter actually makes the chocolate softer, rather than firmer. If you do make other batches, just leave that cocoa butter out and your bark should stay harder at room temp. ~ MJ

  7. Daphne

    How long will bark stay fresh at room temperature? How long if refrigerated? I need to make a large quantity for an upcoming event.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The bark is chocolate and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You could store your bark in an airtight container at room temperature for weeks before your event. ~Jaydl@KAF

  8. bark fail

    I am using Hershey special dark choc chips for my bottom layer and vanilla melting wafers for the white choc mixed with crushed candy cane. I have tried letting the dark choc set, pouring the white on top of it immediately and it still keeps separating! Could it be the chocolate? The last batch made with Wiltons white melting wafers left a white coating on the dark choc layer after they separated.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      In my experience, it’s hard to get those white wafers to melt to the same consistency as dark chocolate. I’d say try with the chocolate “mostly” set, but just a little soft, to give the two a better chance to “cling” together. ~ MJ

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