recipes

Holiday Hacks: Easy & Impressive Chocolate Bark

We’re all busy, right? But we all secretly want to make the best Christmas cookie, too. C’mon, admit it.

It’s not exactly a cookie, but chocolate bark can meet all of your holiday requirements: cookie swap offering, office party treat, homemade gift… AND it’s the easiest recipe, AND is amenable to a gazillion variations, AND (if it’s dark chocolate) it’s GOOD for you. Antioxidants and all, you know. There’s studies. Trust me.

I’m on call this Christmas weekend, and we had tickets to a matinee showing of the Nutcracker ballet today, and Hubby is deep in game prep for tomorrow’s NFL broadcast. So, this morning I was solo with the kids, answering pages, one eye on the clock, and still turned out two batches of homemade dark chocolate bark for gifting.

Easy.

Here’s how: Buy quality dark chocolate chips, like Ghiradelli (which is about 60% cacao). I had three standard bags. Pour them all into a glass microwave-safe bowl. Add one tablespoon oil that doesn’t have flavor, like corn oil. Any will do, really. Stir it into the chips. Place bowl in microwave and heat on high for no more than thirty seconds at a time, stirring between every time, until chocolate is melted. Pour onto two cookie sheets that have been fitted with a silpat or nonstick parchment paper, dividing evenly. Spread the chocolate out so that it’s about 1/4 to 1/2 cm thick. Then go crazy. Sprinkle whatever the heck you want on there.

Here, I did dried cranberries, crushed pistachios, and Demerara sugar on one tray, and toasted slivered almonds and Maldon flaky sea salt on the other:

Let them sit on the counter (ideally where it’s cool) until set, which can take a few minutes to an hour, depending on the ambient temperature. (If you set these outside, keep wildlife in mind. I kid you not, I once found a squirrel sampling my toffee pecan chocolate bark!)

When set, break it apart, bag it up, and give it away. Everyone will be so impressed. And happy.

Merry Christmas!

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