Made Monday with

Lulu the Baker

 

I love giving homemade gifts during the Holidays. I usually start thinking about what we’ll give to school teachers, friends, and neighbors for Holiday gifts way back at the beginning of summer–I like to plan ahead! But I also like simplicity, especially during the Holiday season when time fills up so quickly and completely with activities, parties, baking, and Christmas present-shopping, not to mention hanging out with loved ones. If I can find an awesome homemade gift that is also simple, I feel like I’ve really struck gold.

Chocolate Bark is my latest obsession. It is so easy to make, doesn’t require fancy equipment or ingredients, and tastes great. And you can throw whatever you want on top to make it extra-special for whomever you’re giving it to. Pretzel chunks and a peanut butter swirl, crushed candy canes and white chocolate, dried fruits, nuts…the sky’s the limit! I tried three easy variations that were all a big hit at home: S’mores Bark with milk chocolate, mini marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers, Sea Salt Caramel Bark with semi-sweet chocolate, a swirl of melted caramel, and a dash of fleur de sel, and Almond Cherry Bark with extra-dark chocolate, roasted almonds, and dried tart cherries. I’m already brainstorming more exciting flavor combinations, and can’t wait to make more batches to give away for the Holidays!

How to make chocolate bark:
1. Lay a sheet of baking parchment on a large baking sheet (a piece about 18″ square).
2. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the contents of a 12-oz bag of chocolate chips for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring the chocolate every 30 seconds until completely melted and smooth.
3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the piece of parchment paper. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate evenly to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. The chocolate puddle will be about the size of a big tortilla.
4. Before the chocolate sets up, sprinkle delicious toppings all over the top of it. Be sure to go all the way to the edges (don’t leave any kind of border) and be very generous with the toppings.
5. Place the baking sheet in the fridge until the chocolate bark is rock hard.
6. Gently but quickly remove the chocolate from the parchment paper, and break it into chunks.
7. Try to remember that you made this to give away, not to eat all by yourself in front of the TV!What delicious flavor combinations would you try?!

Must haves Monday

 

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.

― J.M. Barrie

 

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