Chocolate bark is fun to make, plus it’s kind of a no-brainer: just melt some chocolate, spread it out, and top with anything that sounds yummy. The kids and I decided to make peppermint reindeer bark for Christmas, and it turned out pretty adorable. I’ll show you how easy it is to make in a quick video as well as share one of my favorite secrets for making sure your chocolate candies turn out perfect without resorting to adding shortening or using fake chocolate.
Chocolate can be a little finicky to work with. That’s because once you melt chocolate, it loses it’s temper. That’s right, it gets angry. I would too if someone was trying to melt me. No, seriously, though, “tempered” chocolate is good because it: sets up quickly and doesn’t melt when you touch it, stays shiny and doesn’t get gray streaks, and has a good “snap” when you break off a piece. If you melt chocolate to make chocolate bark and don’t re-temper it, you’ll end up with a finished product that still tastes great, but is a little bendy, a little too easy to melt with your fingers, and possibly spotty or streaky. And we don’t want that.
Now, the “real” way to temper chocolate involves heating it to a specific temperature, then letting it cool to another temperature, then “seeding” it with already tempered chocolate…and ya, I’m not nearly patient enough to do that. Don’t worry, there’s a “quick and dirty” method that works really well. If you want to melt an entire bag of milk chocolate chips (which is what you need for today’s recipe), set aside about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips. Pour all the rest of the chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for 30 seconds. Then stir. Repeat one or two more times until the chips are completely melted. Then toss the 2 tablespoons of chips you kept out back in, and keep stirring until those chips are melted as well. Viola: tempered chocolate that won’t streak as it sets up and won’t melt on your fingertips when you eat it.
In addition to 1 bag of melted milk chocolate chips, you’ll need candy eyes, red m&ms, mini pretzel twists and 1 candy cane to make the peppermint reindeer bark. Crush the candy cane and cut up the pretzels to make antlers. (NOTE: Breaking the pretzels doesn’t really work – you need to cut them. I found the best way to do it is put a pretzel down on a cutting board, line up a knife on top of it, and kinda smack the back of the knife with your hand to get it to cut right through. You’ll end up destroying some pretzels, but hey, the kids will have fun doing it. And they might find out that it’s really easy to get them to break perfectly if you do it with your teeth, like mine did. Of course, then you probably better not give it away 🙂
And watch this quick video to see how to put it all together:
Easy as can be, right? When it’s all done, just line a cute Christmas tin or box with wax paper and tuck the bark inside for a pretty DIY Christmas gift, or keep it on the counter for a fun holiday treat.