I love Michael Pollan’s approach to nutrition and what he calls “sustainable eating.” Like me, he believes in moderation; smaller, well-prepared meals; toward vegetables and fruits when it comes to picking ingredients; and all kind of other sensible ideas. (Yes, I’m patting myself on the back as I write this.) If you haven’t already, pick up his book Food Rules. It’s well worth the hour or two it will take you to finish it. What does all this have to do with Holiday Triple Chocolate Bark? That’s simple – Rule #64 of his Food Rules list:
Break the rules once in a while.
Holidays should be a time for delight, not denial. Indulging in a sweet during holiday festivities is not a sin. And when it comes to delight, my thoughts immediately go to chocolate.
Be sure to enter the Christmas Week Giveaway for one of three Amazon Gift Cards for $500, $250, and $50! Details and a description of the event are at the end of this post.
This triple chocolate bark is delectable, simple to make, incredibly versatile, and a perfect gift to bring to a holiday party. What’s not to like?
All you need is three kinds of chocolate, toppings of your choice, a piece of parchment, and a way to melt and spread the chocolate. Here are toppings that take the chocolate bark in three completely different directions: candied or crystallized ginger (mine is homemade, but store-bought is fine); dried fruits and nuts (cranberries, apricots, and hazelnuts here); and crushed peppermint candy (because nothing says winter holidays like a candy cane, even if it’s smashed.) You could just go with one, or make multiple batches of bark, each with its own topping.
If you want chocolate bark, but are not ready for a three-layer extravaganza, try my spicy, dark chocolate-only version. From my early blog days, it’s still a simple, great recipe. Just don’t pay any mind to the photos, which I promise to replace as soon as I make another batch. 🙂
Tips for Making the Best Layered Chocolate Bark
- Choose good quality chocolate. The chocolate has nowhere to hide in this recipe and the finished product will taste as good as the chocolate you use. Try it first. If you love the way it tastes, and melts in your mouth, then use it. If you don’t, move on.
- Be patient and let the chocolate cool. The layers only work if you let the chocolate cool before you pour it, and let each layer cool before you add the next one. If you’re not a patient person, make thin bark using the proportions I’ve provided. Thicker bark requires a bit more patience.
- Keep the toppings and bark in balance. If you keep the layers of bark relatively thin, then your toppings should be on the smaller side and placed with a bit more space between each sprinkle of topping. Bigger chunks of topping require thicker bark. This part is definitely art (or more accurately, arts & crafts), not science.
- Be confident as you work. Spreading the chocolate is basically a one-shot deal, as is putting down the toppings. No do-overs.
- Love the roughness – or as my mom would say, don’t sweat the small stuff. If a piece breaks where you didn’t intend it to, or a bit of topping falls off, smile and move on. You can spend hours trying to make this look like a DaVinci, or you can revel in the Jackson Pollack of it all. Besides, you get to eat whatever falls off.
- 3.5-7 ounces good quality bittersweet or 70% chocolate
- 3.5-4 ounces good quality milk chocolate
- 3.5-4 ounces good quality white chocolate
- Toppings of your choice - e.g. candied or crystallized ginger, dried fruits and nuts, and/or crushed peppermint candy
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Draw a rectangle roughly 8 1/1 inches by 6 3/4 inches on the back side of the parchment and set aside.
- Prepare the toppings and set aside.
- Melt the bittersweet or extra dark chocolate, either in a double boiler (a pot of water simmering on the stove, with another smaller pot containing the chocolate inside, so the pot with the chocolate never directly touches the flame) or in the microwave. If using the microwave, use a lower power for longer to prevent the chocolate from burning. In my microwave, extra dark chocolate melted in 3 minutes on 40% power, stirring 3 times - after 2 minutes, and then at 30 second intervals.
- Let the dark chocolate cool, until it begins to slightly thicken. Pour it into the middle of the rectangle drawn on the parchment and with a knife (preferably an offset one), spread it out evenly over the rectangle. Let the rectangle of chocolate cool to room temperature. If you are impatient, you can refrigerate it for just a few minutes, but do not freeze it.
- Repeat with the milk chocolate - heating, cooling, spreading over the dark chocolate on the rectangle and letting that cool to room temperature.
- Repeat with the white chocolate. Once the white chocolate is spread and before it cools, add the toppings. Gently press any large pieces into the chocolate so that they are less likely to fall off.
- For a deep chocolate flavor and to make the bar sturdier, use 7 ounces of bittersweet/extra dark to 3.5/4 ounces of the other two varieties.
- Bittersweet/extra dark takes the longest to melt, followed by milk. White chocolate melts and burns easily so be careful of that.
- As each layer cools, you want to add the next before the one on the parchment is completely solid. The layers need to meld without melting together. If the layer on the parchment is cold (as in frozen or too chilled from the refrigerator), the layers may separate.
Welcome to Day 3 of Christmas Week. This annual event was started in 2012, and is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. This year we have over 35 bloggers sharing festive sweet recipes for the event. Plus we all chipped in for a huge Amazon Gift Card Giveaway so be sure to enter!
Christmas Week Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada. Giveaway will run from December 7, 2015 to December 26, 2015. Winners must be 18 years of age. Winners will be notified by email. Winners will be asked a skill testing question.
Recipes from Day 3 of Christmas Week! Please visit all our talented participants:
Nutella Ganache from Cravings of a Lunatic
Dark Chocolate Turtle Cups from Try Anything Once Culinary
Holiday Marshmallow Oreo Santa’s Hats from Desserts Required
Cranberry Gin Fizz from Poet in the Pantry
Peppermint Mocha Fudge from The Redhead Baker
Petit Pains au Chocolat aux Amandes (Petite Chocolate Almond Croissants) from Pineapple and Coconut
Salted Cashew Caramels from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Hazelnut Crescents from Amee’s Savory Dish
Bacon Butter Toffee from Comfortably Domestic
Grandma’s Scottish Shortbread from Farm Fresh Feasts
OREO Snowball Cookies from Flour On My Face
Holiday Triple Chocolate Bark from Mother Would Know
Classic Chocolate Crinkles from Daily Appetite
Orange Cardamom Slice and Bake Cookies from Savory Experiments
Homemade Maple Candy from Cooking In Stilettos
Cranberry Cherry Spice Cake Trifle from Food Babbles
Chocolate Walnut Cranberry Pie from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
No Bake Peppermint Oreo Cheesecake from Big Bear’s Wife
Cream Puffs With Cranberry Orange Sauce from Everyday Southwest
Mini No Bake Eggnog Cheesecake from From Gate to Plate
Chewy Sugar Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Pignolata-Italian Honey Balls from Savoring Italy
Caramel Chocolate Cups with Peppermint Chips from Dixie Chik Cooks
Maple Gingerbread Marshmallows from The Tomato Tart