Chocolate Bark: the easiest candy ever

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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 was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. erendis

    I find it much harder to spread that white chocolate layer when the peppermint pieces are mixed in first- I will try it the way you did next time. Either way, it’s yummy and FAST!

    Reply
    1. Laura Gaunt

      So here’s my story . . . of course I can’t follow a recipe exactly, so I changed it up a bit and it came out GREAT! After melting the semi-sweet chocolate I poured it onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Then I shook the sheet back and forth to spread out the chocolate. It spreads nice and thin. I then cooled it at room temperature. When I melted the white chocolate I added the powder from the crushed candies. I then spread the white chocolate on the semi-sweet chocolate with a spatula and sprinkled with the larger chunks of candies. Then I put in the fridge over night. It came out great. I made four separate batches at one time. I plan to give it for Christmas gifts in a foil tissue lined take out container (like you get at a Japanese restaurant) along with peanut brittle, english toffee bark, and dark chocolate sea salt pretzel bark. The perfect gift!

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Wow, Laura, sure wish I was on your gift list! Your combination of candies and presentation sounds both elegant and delicious. Good show! And thanks for sharing. PJH

  2. HMB

    Marbled bark is pretty too. Milk chocoate with a dark bittersweet, and some white chocoate drizzle on top. Or mint chocolate marble, with the white chocolate tinted green. Easy enough for kids to do to make impressive-looking gifts that look like they come from some fancy boutique!

    Reply
  3. Anna P

    I just made peppermint bark last night… I found that semi-sweet chocolate chips are easy to mix and spread in the pan. My challenge was with the white chocolate and trying to spread it. It was NOT behaving but I made it work. Five pounds of bark later…

    Reply
  4. JuliaJ

    Are you using white chocolate chips or bar chocolate? Finding a good white chocolate in bar form is hard (aside from buying super-expensive Lindt bars). Trader Joe’s has excellent dark/milk/semisweet “Pound Plus” bars but no white chocolate bars. (They do have mini peanut butter cups though!)

    Would the reverse order of steps work better? (That is, spreading the white chocolate on top of the crushed peppermint candy and then topping with the chocolate layer.)

    Julia, I used Merckens white chocolate bar, not chips. You’ll get a different effect by pouring the chocolate atop the crunch – it’ll be embedded, rather than sitting on top. But if that’s the look you’re after – go for it! PJH

    Reply
  5. omaria

    PJ I do not like white chocolate. But the picture made me think of something else. What about a layer of marshmallow on the dark chocolate and then quickly the crushed candy. Do you think that would work ?

    ‘Ria, not sure. What kind of marshmallow are you thinking? Melted marshmallow? I’ve used Fluff in/on various things, and it tends to “melt” as it sits, so I wouldn’t go in that direction. But maybe melted marshmallow, spread quickly, wouldn’t melt the bottom layer of chocolate too much – esp. if you put the first layer in the freezer first? Although then it would make it hard to spread the marshmallow… Hmmm, interesting idea. Let us know how it turns out. You could also flavor the white chocolate – espresso powder, raspberry, ? – would that help? PJH

    Reply
  6. PamJWM

    I had to chime in to say that I once found a recipe for Three Musketeers bars. It made 15 bars. Sadly, mixing the nougat also burned out the motor in my stand mixer. This bark seems waaaay easier!

    Definitely easier on your mixer, Pam, since it can just sit on the counter and mope while you ignore it! :) Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  7. cwork

    I made this over the weekend using the Merckens bittersweet and white chocolates. Though I’m not a great lover of white chocolate, somehow using it in peppermint bark makes everything all right. The product is truly delicious, but after 24 hours at room temp, it was still soft and pliable and did not want to break with nice sharp edges. I ended up chilling it overnight to achieve the final set. Is this typical? Would it have set if I had just waited longer with it at room temp? I want to make more, but would like to resolve this before I commit the ingredients.
    I would refrigerate the bark for about 30 minutes as soon as you get it together. This will help set the chocolate and give you the snappiness you’re looking for. If you have any other questions, please give us a call on the Baker’s Hotline! ~Mel

    Reply
  8. aaronatthedoublef

    White pepperment bark is a standard in my wife’s family this time of year. Adding a layer of bitter or semi sweet will put a neat twist on it!

    What is the difference between callets and chocolate chips? I have semi sweet in both but they have different tastes, different feel in the mouth and the callets seem to melt as easily as bar chocolate and are way less messy (I am a mess as it is so anything that helps me reduce that is always welcome).

    The only difference I see is the callets say they are designed for baking and candy making while the chips are designed to be chocolate chips.

    Thanks

    Callets, are the same as block couverture chocolate, just in a more easily handled form. Baking Chips on the other hand have usually had some, or all, of the cocoa butter removed and replaced with vegetable fats. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  9. gaa

    PJ- Saw this recipe in one of the Baker’s Catalogues that I got in October or November and immediately added it to my holiday sweets list. I made it on Friday night and it is as easy and delicious as you say it is! It is also so pretty. Thanks for all the great recipes that you post in the blog. I have lost count how many I have made … Next up this week, Vanilla Sugar cookies with that Vanilla Bean Crush you sell. That stuff is heaven sent for sure. You would not believe the difference it made in my homemade sea salt caramels! I am also going to make the Parmesan Cracked Black Pepper biscotti for the appetizer table on Christmas Day! Thanks, thanks, thanks again and again and again …

    Reply
  10. omaria

    PJ I was thinking of making the marshmallows like you did for your friend Elsie and just pour it over the chocolate. Sprinkle some cornstarch and then the peppermint candies.
    I think the dislike for white chocolate comes from the texture-feel in my mouth.

    Reply
  11. glpruett

    I made your Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark for extended family last Christmas, and just put it in a serving dish with no fan-fare on Christmas morning. You should have heard the comments!!! Everyone LOVED it, and wouldn’t believe it was EASY to make, so…I didn’t tell them!

    I think I’ve started another tradition, so I’m ordering more Merkens chocolate today to be able to make bark again, which will be packaged in individual bags for each family for gift-giving this year. One difference in the “bark” that others in the family have made from “chocolate-flavored wafers” and mine is that I’m using real chocolate, and the flavor is incomparable. Thanks, KAF, for the quality products you carry and the recipes that make all of us shine! Merry Christmas, one and all!

    Reply
  12. calily

    I’ve been making this for the past few Christmases to put into goodie bags and people LOVE it. Seriously, it is crack. :-)

    I use Ghiradelli bittersweet choc. chip and white choc. chips. The chips are a little bit harder to use, but not a problem. I do add just a smidgen of veg oil to the melted chocolate for a nice sheen.

    I do layer of chocolate with peppermint extract, layer of white with peppermint extract. On top of the white layer, I do a dusting of peppermint candy (what’s left over when I crush them up in my blender and sift the candy). Then I press the chunks into the chocolate. So amazing!

    Reply
  13. CC

    I made the bark last night (semi sweet choc and white choc with peppermint pieces) but when I went to break it apart the two chocolates separated–any trick as to why. c.durante@comcast.net
    If the chocolate sets up too firmly before you add the second layer, it will not adhere well. You want the first layer to be slightly tacky when the second one is added. ~Amy

    Reply
    1. dcurnalia

      This was my problem too…chocolate and white layer did not adhere to each other. And I did just that…let the dark chocolate layer set up before pouring the white on top. You must have to work fast or melt both at the same time because the chocolate layer was setup by the time the white layer was ready to pour.

  14. kayakintortoise

    Instead of chocolate I used mint chips and didn’t add peppermint flavoring. I put the white chocolate mixed with crushed candy on top and swirled a knife through – beautiful & yummy.
    Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. jfseidel

    Sadly, smacking the candy canes up was the highlight of the recipe for me. I tried using Girrhadelli white chocolate chips, as that’s what i have in house and i didn’t want to go out AGAIN for baking supplies. It kept resolidifying in the double boiler, and the first small batch in the microwave burned. :-( I was able to reheat the rest of the white chocolate and smush the blobs into the nicely poured out dark chocolate. it looks a bit of a hot mess, but will be tasty. Is it using chips that was the problem? I used chips for the dark chocolate without trouble.

    Hubby will still enjoy it, probably won’t pause long enough to see that it’s all blobby! ;-)

    Yes, white chocolate is SOOO finicky. I had trouble with my first batch, too – burned it completely, after just 2 minutes in the microwave! I learned – use bar chocolate; microwave in 15- to 30-second bursts, stirring gently as soon as it gets soft. I do think the chips glom up because they’ve got lecithin i them, to help keep them from melting away in your cookies… PJH

    Reply
  16. chinchillalover

    Could I use a different chocolate combo, say bittersweet and semisweet?
    Oh yes, absolutely- use what you like. ~Amy

    Reply
  17. Meg

    I have problems when I make bark at the point where you break it – it shatters with a lot of pieces too small to use. So now I score it into diamond shapes before it is fully solidified, then it breaks nicely.
    Great thinking Meg! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. yerkesd

    I have a question. Can you use pepermint extract instead of oil or would that make the chocolate seize? Thank you.

    Extract would make the chocolate seize. Oil or powder are the proper options. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  19. JR

    Hey! Great recipe. Just wondering how many pieces of bark you get out of this, assuming you break it up into decent sized pieces? Assuming I want to make this alongside three other candy recipes and split it up amongst 7 people for Xmas, will there be enough?

    Also I noticed a comment just above me saying the bark can sometimes shatter into tiny pieces when you try to break it. Any tips on avoiding this happening? I didn’t really understand what the above commentator said about “scoring” the chocolate into diamond shapes.

    There are 28 ounces of chocolate in this recipe, and the yield is stated as 2 dozen pieces. To score the bar – make shallow cuts or slices with a knife to pre-cut the chocolate right after the topping is sprinkled on – this will make start lines for the separation once the chocolate candy is hardened, often making it easier to break into pieces you want instead of so many random pieces. Happy Baking – or candy making! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Just add to taste, Susan – that’s your best bet. Start with 1/4 teaspoon, and go from there. Cheers – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Many people don’t know how to temper chocolate; and it does take a certain amount of time and skill. We wanted to make this recipe accessible to as many people as possible, but absolutely feel free to temper the chocolate when you make this bark – for the reasons you note. Thanks for your feedback – PJH

  20. D. Sharp

    If you don’t temper the chocolate, you have to keep the bark in the fridge to maintain its “snappiness,” right? I tried tempering chocolate last year for bark and it was a huge fail, so I kept it in the fridge.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Well, I’ve never tried keeping bark in the fridge – and I don’t usually temper the chocolate. It may not b e as ultra-snappy as tempered, but neither is it soft or “bendable.” If it works for you keeping it in the fridge, I say go for it! Thanks for sharing – PJH

  21. Jackie

    Does the bark need to be refrigerated after white chocolate and peppermint pieces are on top or should it set at room temp?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      If you want it to set quickly, stick it in the fridge, Jackie. If you’re OK it setting up on its own at room temperature, it should do that after several hours; or perhaps a bit longer. PJH

  22. Meagan

    I used a 70% cocoa bar and milk chocolate bar and tempered it in the microwave at 30 second intervals till slightly melted then stirred it until smooth and poured it on a parchment lined baking pan, it still hasn’t set and “bends” what am I doing wrong? it just doesn’t have the “sharpness” I want?!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ah, Meagan – if you’re looking for that bright shine and “snap,” then it must be the chocolate wasn’t quite tempered. True tempering demands a thermometer and some pretty precise timing and actions. As I said in my answer to your other question, try putting it in the fridge, and see what happens; it may lose any shine, but will definitely become “snappier.” Good luck – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Meagan, stick it in the fridge – that should do it. And don’t worry, it shouldn’t soften back up when you remove it from the fridge… PJH

  23. Stephanie

    If I’m only using white chocolate instead of putting it in a pan and refrigerate it and smashing it up could I pour it into those candy molds like for truffles and chocolates? I know it won’t be technically bark but my best friend loves this stuff and I have everything I need to make it but I’m pretty busy and pouring it in molds sounds a little easier.

    Reply
  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

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