Homemade holiday gifts are one of my very favorite things. I love thoughtful, personalized gifts that are truly made with love! Homemade chocolate bark is probably one of my most favorite edible homemade gifts to make. Whether it’s a gift for a hostess of a holiday party or your dish to share, homemade chocolate bark is super simple to make and you can customize it to no end.
The possibilities for flavors and toppings is endless and you can really create something super special for whoever will receive it. It is super easy to make your chocolate bark allergen friendly, too. Easy to make gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free and so on. You can add dried fruit, nuts, seeds, your favorite cookies or candy, dried botanicals, spices or herbs. Some of my personal favorite flavor combos include sea salt or smoked sea salt. I also love a sprinkle of cinnamon, chili powder or cayenne to bring a little heat. Gluten-free pretzels or mini peanut butter cups are both amazing and fun toppings. The list could go on and on.
This time around I made a batch of dark chocolate bark with coconut chips, dried cranberries and spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I also made a tray with dried bing cherries, pecans and sea salt. Of course, I couldn’t resist a holiday-inspired tray with candy cane bits. Check out these other flavor combos from the archives Dark Chocolate Bark with Dried Bing Cherries, Pistachios and Grey Sea Salt and Spicy Dark Chocolate Bark with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Sea Salt. (Can you tell I love sea salt on my chocolate?)
When I am making my bark, I prefer to look for a high quality dairy-free dark chocolate and I look for it to be at 70%-85% cacao with no soy lectin, organic and fair-trade, whenever possible. I usually use this brand or this one. You can also use homemade dark chocolate bars. There is a great recipe for homemade chocolate bars on page 164 of Kelly Brozyna’s beautiful book the Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook.
BONUS – PRINTABLE LABELS:
Once you’ve made your bark, grab some super cute packaging, a paper bag or pouch, a box, some ribbon or baker’s twine etc and add a cute label telling the recipient what’s on/in their bark. I included a FREE printable label for you here, just fill in your name up top and add what the toppings are at the bottom. There is a version for “dark chocolate bark” and another that just says “chocolate bark“. Print them out and get to your gift making. Or just make a tray of your favorite bark and don’t share a bit of it! Print these 2.5-inch diameter labels on any Avery brand 22808 template. I used these brown kraft paper labels.
What chocolate bark flavor combos are your favorite?
How-to Make Chocolate Bark
What you’ll need:
- 8-10 ounces of good quality chocolate (milk, dark, white), chopped
- Toppings and add-ons of your choice: dried fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, cookies, popcorn, pretzels, candy, herbs, spices, dried botanicals, sea salt, etc
- parchment paper or foil
- cookie sheet
Melt the chocolate over double boiler using hot but not boiling water, in the microwave in 30 second increments or a chocolate melter. However you melt it, stir regularly as you are melting the chocolate. Keep the chocolate under 90ºF, so that it doesn’t seize up on you. If on the stove top, you can remove from the heat if necessary, as you go.
Once melted, pour the chocolate onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly until it is about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick, or as thick as you want it to be.
Sprinkle any toppings you are using, evenly over top the melted chocolate. Figure approximately a total of 1 cup of toppings for every half pound (8 ounces) of chocolate. If you are using three different ingredients, you would likely want to go with 1/3 cup of each.
Let the bark cool at least 2 hours in a cool area or 30 minutes in the fridge. Break into bite-sized pieces and place into jars or gift boxes with a tag that says what’s in the bark.
NOTE: You can also created layered bark with layers of dark or milk chocolate or maybe a layer of white chocolate on top. Simply follow the instructions above, letting the first layer cool for 30 minutes in the fridge, before you add the next layer of melted chocolate and so on.
This time of year, one of my favorite ways to to make chocolate bark is a good quality dark chocolate with candy cane bits! It’s the best flavor combo, it’s so perfectly festive and it makes a wonderful gift!
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