Holiday Bark Recipe

The winter holiday baking season is among us! I have an ideal Holiday Bark recipe for those who are not particularly inclined in the culinary department, but want to share an easy and yummy dessert. Bark recipes can differ depending on the chocolate and toppings chosen. For December, I traditionally make bark with white chocolate, dark chocolate and crushed peppermint topping.

For the month of November, and for this blog, I will be using orange-dyed white chocolate and milk chocolate with pretzel and festive sprinkle toppings inspired by fall colors. You can make this to consume by yourself or share with family and friends. Here are some wrapping ideas that go beyond basic cellophane bags.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes per melting (2x)
30 minutes per cooling (2x)
Total Time:1 hour, 25 minutes

baking items

You will need:
• Cookie sheet
• Wax paper
• Rubber spatula
• Pot and smaller pot/glass bowl for double boiling chocolate
• Room in refrigerator for cookie sheet
• Two packages of two kinds of chocolate made for melting and molding (white and milk chocolate)
• Topping of choice (pretzels and sprinkles)

Other options include:
• Peanut butter M&Ms
• Yellow sprinkles
• Candy corn

1. Set up the double boiler on stove top. If you haven’t mastered the art of double boiling, visit this site to learn all the tricks for perfectly melted chocolate. Turn the burner on high and add desired chocolate. The first batch of melted chocolate will be the bottom part of the bark. Some brands of chocolate can be microwaved. However, I use the double boiling method because it sets the cooking mood and makes me feel like a top chef. Don’t judge me. Okay go ahead, but don’t knock it until you try it.

double boiling method

wax papered cookie sheet

2. While you wait for your chocolate to melt, set up wax paper on your cookie sheet. It takes seconds. Just make sure the cookie sheet is completely covered by the wax paper. Doing so allows easy clean-up at the end. Be sure to babysit the chocolate and stir continually using folding motions.

melted chocolate

3. Once the chocolate has completely melted turn off the stove top and remove from heat. Carefully take the bowl of melted chocolate (preferably with pot holders) and use a spatula to pour and distribute chocolate on the wax papered cookie sheet. Work diligently with the spatula because chocolate firms quickly when taken off heat. Once you are happy with an even spread, place in the refrigerator to set. This took me 30 minutes, but it can vary. Check back every 10 minutes in case yours sets faster.

bark toppings

4. Use the first round of set time to wash your bowl and spatula. Don’t start melting the second round of chocolate until the first round has fully hardened. Be sure to have the toppings readily available at this stage. I crunched up some pretzels in the remaining chocolate to use later.

orange-colored white chocolate

5. Once the first round of chocolate hardens, place cookie sheet on the counter and begin melting the second round of chocolate (I used orange-colored white chocolate). Repeat the steps for double boiling. Stir continually with folding motions.

bark toppings

6. Pour melted chocolate on top of the hardened chocolate. Spread quickly. Put desired toppings on now. To assure they will stick to top chocolate coat, take additional waxed paper and press down. Use a gentle hand with smaller toppings (sprinkles), and a rolling pin for larger items (pretzel pieces). Put back in refrigerator one more time for final set.

removing holiday bark from cookie sheet

7. After the entire bark has set, take corners of the wax paper and pull to separate from the cookie sheet. Separate the wax paper from the hardened bark. Once the wax paper is removed start breaking the chocolate into chunks with your hands or with the help of a large knife. Break into desired sizes.

fall-themed holiday bark
All photo credit: Halie Nachbaur

8. Now it’s time to enjoy your hard work! When you realize it’s so delicious you need to give it away as proof of your quality cooking skills, use the link above for wrapping ideas.

Making the Most of Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break is right around the corner and while most of us use this opportunity to catch up on sleep and eat to our heart’s desire, why not add a few other items to your to-do list? Here are a few suggestions to help you have the best Thanksgiving break yet.

1. See old friends from high school

Most colleges have the same Thanksgiving break so it’s a perfect time to catch up with old friends from high school. Whenever I go home, I love to reminisce with my friends about football games, school dances or other funny stories from our high school days. It’s also fun to hear how their lives are now and the exciting things they are up to at their own college.

2. Catch up with your family

It can be hard to stay in touch with family while you’re away at school.  Utilize Thanksgiving break to catch up with your immediate family and all of the relatives you don’t get to see as often.  Game nights are a great way to have fun with your family.  For only 99 cents, you can download the app “Heads Up!” to play with your relatives.  One person holds the phone to their head and a word appears on the screen.  Everyone tries to help them guess the word in 60 seconds.  It is similar to the game Catch Phrase except for one big advantage: the phone actually records everyone during the game so when you go back to school you have a silly and permanent recording of your family if you ever get homesick.

pumpkin pie
Photo credit: St0rmz

3. Prepare your own Thanksgiving dish

In previous Thanksgivings, my only contribution to the dinner table was a fork and knife to my plate!  This year I have decided to prepare and offer my own dish for my family’s Thanksgiving feast.  Check out or for quick and easy Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to be a hit.

4. Find the best Black Friday deals

Last year was my first Black Friday experience.  Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed by the massive crowds marauding through the mall.  This year I plan on being way more efficient.  Download the free app “TGI Black Friday” to find the best deals at your favorite stores so you can enter the shopping madness a little more prepared.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to have an awesome break; you may not even want to go back to school at the end of it!