With the help of a set of shaped ice cube trays or candy molds, a simple recipe like chocolate bark looks so much more festive. I found these star-shaped ice cube trays at Wal-mart… for a buck! The silicone ones are even easier to work with, though they tend to be a little more expensive.
What you will need:
White Chocolate to melt – or go the really easy route, and use Candiquik. You could also use milk chocolate just as easily. If you do, make sure you are using something that’s designed to melt easily. How do you know? Check to see what the melting instructions on the package are. Avoid anything that doesn’t have melting instructions.
You will also need something salty, something crunchy, something chewy, and something with nice color for a good recipe. You don’t need to follow my recipe exactly – check your cupboards! You probably have ingredients that will work.
What I used for 2 trays of candies (28 pieces):
1/2 package of Vanilla Candiquik
2 Tbsp. chopped peanuts
2 Tbsp. Heath toffee chips
2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips
1 oz. Craisins (sorry, I don’t know how many Tbsp. that would be, I just had the individual packages on-hand for lunches, and I used one of them)
If your peanuts are whole… chop them.
Stir all your mix-ins together.
Now, melt your chocolate. Pay close attention to the package directions. I always melt mine in the microwave because it only takes like, a minute.
Stir it often. Mine was actually done when it looked like this – because when you stir it really well, the hotter spots will melt the remaining chunks. You can overheat it, and that will just make it harder – not smoother. Don’t do that. :P
You can spoon your melted chocolate into the cube sections, but I find another method to be WAY easier and more controlled. I have a set of ketchup/mustard bottles that I found at the dollar store. Put your melted chocolate into the bottle.
And squirt it that way. No little candy strings that way, and you can put in exactly how much you want. Now, how much do you want? I found I was a little heavy on the Candiquik when I filled these nearly halfway, so I’d recommend adding about 1/2 inch, maybe less. It needs to be enough for all your toppings to stick into, but not much more than that.
If you think it’s a hassle to wash out when you’re done… for that price, you can throw it away if you want to. (I just wash mine, I don’t mind.)
Sprinkle your toppings on. Press them in just a little, to make sure that everything sticks. You may wonder why we didn’t just stir the whole mixture together… I just find that this way is easier and prettier. If you’d rather mix it and spoon it – feel free!
Now, just cool your bark until it’s solid. If you’re in a rush, you can speed this process up by putting it in the frig, though it’s not necessary – it will harden just was well on the counter.
Then, just pop them out. If your trays are pretty rigid (like mine) I found that by twisting them like you would for ice, then turning it upside-down and giving each cavity a decent press on the bottom with a spoon handle, I got all of them to pop out without too much of an issue. If you’re using silicone trays – it will be really easy. Just press up on the bottoms and your bark will pop right out.
Then, just toss them on a plate to serve!
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