Believe it or not, Christmas is now just 1 week away.

Panicking about not having your homemade gifts finished yet? Then you don't have time to read any lengthy paeans to The World's Fastest, Easiest, Most Welcome Gift of All –

Candy. Specifically, chocolate bark, which consists of nothing more than melted chocolate stirred together (or topped) with the tasty complementary ingredient of your choice.

Nuts. Dried fruit. Crushed cookies or pretzels. Or candy: think Reese's mini cups, M&Ms, or Heath Bar Crunch.

Making homemade holiday food gifts doesn't have to be a stressful time-sink. When the window of gift-making opportunity has dwindled down to next-to-nothing, and there's no time to decorate cookies, bake bread, or even whip up a batch of snickerdoodles – candy's the name of the game.

Especially chocolate bark, the very simplest candy of all.


The bark pictured above is just one luscious version of versatile Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark, a.k.a. Bark Four Ways. If cranberries, pistachios, plus white and dark chocolate don't float your boat...


...then what about that famous holiday duo, chocolate and peppermint?


Cookies and cream is an adventure in textures: crunchy, smooth, and snapping crisp, all at once.


Attention, the-darker-the-better chocoholics (you know who you are) – here's an all dark-chocolate version.

And for those of you who live by the mantra, "Nothing succeeds like excess," try this –


We call it Everything Bark, because it's got a little bit of everything, from Oreos and pretzels to toffee bits and smoked almonds – plus a pull-it-all-together sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Let's visit the other end of the spectrum. If "everything in moderation" is more your style, Dark Chocolate Ginger Bark – with just two self-evident ingredients – is both our most elegant and simplest candy.


Dark chocolate. Crystallized ginger. Smooth and rich, meet hot and sweet.

So, whether your chocolate of choice is dark, white, milk, or a combination...


...get out your bowl, fire up the microwave (and your imagination), and get melting!


...and stirring...


...and topping.


There's just no telling where your imagination will take you!

Do you make candy for the holidays? What are some of your favorites?

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

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!

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