Some months back my friend Pam, one of the best bakers I know, made a plate of deep, dark chocolate bark studded with roasted nuts and seeds for a casual cocktail party. It was the hands-down hit of the evening. I ate my weight in chocolate that night and made a mental note then and there: holiday food gift 2012: Pam’s crazy-good chocolate bark.

And here we are suddenly, in December, when creativity joins forces in the kitchen with the need for holiday gifts for friends, neighbors, grandparents, and our children’s hard-working teachers. This chocolate bark fills the bill.

First, it’s pretty easy to do. I tinkered with Pam’s recipe, paring the bark down to just three little ingredients — chocolate, almonds, and golden raisins — melted together, spread on a baking sheet to cool, and then snapped into pretty pieces.

Second, it’s not an especially expensive endeavor. While you want to step it up beyond standard supermarket baking chocolate, you don’t need to invest in the fanciest brands. I used Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate and it was excellent. As for nuts and dried fruit, you can substitute roughly chopped almonds for slivered or use roughly chopped hazelnuts. In either case, be sure the nuts are roasted first. Dried cranberries, dried cherries, or even regular seedless raisins will do nicely in place of golden raisins.

It’s also a plus that this chocolate bark will keep long after most holiday perishables have come and gone, making it ideal for friends near and far (not to mention your own private stash).

And then there are the anti-oxidants in all that dark chocolate. What better gift to give a friend than squeaky clean arteries?

Now, here’s a step-by-step “how to.” For other holiday food gift ideas, have a peek here.

Heavenly Holiday Chocolate Bark

1. Gather your ingredients: 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 cup roasted, slivered almonds, 1/2 cup golden raisins.

2. Set the chocolate on a cutting board and use a large, sharp knife to chop it into small pieces.

3. Create a double boiler with two pots: One large one filled with just enough water so that when you set a medium pot inside of it, the water raises about halfway up the side.

4. Put the chopped chocolate into a medium pot and set it into the large, water-filled pot.

5. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the chocolate, stirring regularly, until it melts. The water shouldn’t get any hotter than a simmer. If it boils, turn the heat down. Once the chocolate is melted and silky, add the almonds and raisins and stir well. Remove from heat.

6. Have ready a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. As soon as the chocolate is melted and nuts and raisins stirred in, pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper.

7. Use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate onto the baking sheet in a thin layer. It will cover the better part of the baking sheet.

8. Now, turn your attention to those cooking utentils. What’s baking without a little spoon licking?

9. Put the baking sheet into the fridge for 10 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from fridge/freezer and leave chocolate on the counter to cool and harden for several hours or overnight. Once completely cool (crisp enough to snap between your fingers), break the chocolate into about 40 pieces that are a couple of bites each.

10. Store in an air-tight container or package up for gifts.

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  1. 12.10.2012 at 3:35 PM #

    I am all over this! I love the wrapping with the parchment paper and string too- I was just wondering about where to get some tins for shipping to the grandparents.

    • katiemorford
      12.10.2012 at 4:14 PM #

      The container store is usually good for tins. You want to lay parchment between layers of bark.

      • JoanBlack
        09.14.2014 at 12:38 PM #

        Nashville Wraps has a large choice of boxes that are safe for food. I like to put doilies, cut to fit if necessary, indside the boxes to give it a festive look.when you open it.

  2. Kara
    12.12.2012 at 12:24 PM #

    I’m definitely making these for my daughter’s teachers. Does it have to go into the freezer or would the fridge suffice? We live in Madrid and naturally have one of those small euro units with teeny tiny drawers in the freezer. If freezing is a must, I can just put small batches on plates. Thanks!

    • katiemorford
      12.12.2012 at 4:07 PM #

      Hi Kara,

      Yes, those freezers are teeny. This can go in the fridge for just 10 minutes after you spread it on the baking sheet. Then take it out and let it cool the remainder of the time on the counter.

  3. 05.16.2013 at 6:22 AM #

    How long will the chocolate bark last before going “bad”?
    What is the best way to store/preserve for the longest time possible?
    I love to cook/bake items in advance of the sometimes crazy holiday times when I have that rare moment free around the schedules of my 3 children.
    Thank you for this easy and delicious sounding chocolate recipe!

    • katiemorford
      05.16.2013 at 8:17 AM #

      Best is to store it in an air-tight container in the fridge. It won’t go “bad” so much as it will diminish in quality. I think it will last several weeks and still be in good shape…but haven’t put it to the test. My bark never lasts very long around here :)

  4. 07.18.2013 at 8:15 AM #

    It’s in reality a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Janet Ebert
    12.03.2013 at 9:19 AM #

    Can I order this on the internet? Where?

    • katiemorford
      12.03.2013 at 10:44 AM #

      I imagine that if you don’t want to make your own, it is out there for purchase. You might try Williams-Sonoma or Amazon.

  6. 12.08.2013 at 5:48 AM #

    One of my favorites, and so easy!

    • katiemorford
      12.08.2013 at 2:15 PM #

      A classic, for sure. I also love it with a little fleur de sel on top.

    • JoanBlack
      09.14.2014 at 12:43 PM #

      Chopped candy canes are also great addition at Christmastime.

      • katiemorford
        09.14.2014 at 5:56 PM #

        Agreed about the candy canes..and cute ideas on packaging. Thanks.

  7. 12.09.2013 at 8:47 PM #

    oh what I would give for some of this right now!

  8. 12.12.2013 at 8:10 PM #


  9. 12.16.2013 at 9:31 AM #

    This sounds delicious! Love how easy (& yummy) homemade bark is.

  10. 12.05.2014 at 9:03 AM #

    i am a total sucker for chocolate bark, and this one looks delicious and easy. such a great gift idea… if it survives my kitchen!

    • katiemorford
      12.05.2014 at 11:33 AM #

      It’s always important to test it before you give it as gifts. I consider it part of my job :)

  11. 12.05.2014 at 9:37 AM #

    Ahhh – I’m afraid I’ll eat half of this if I make it – I will take the chance ;) Pinning….

    • katiemorford
      12.05.2014 at 11:32 AM #

      Thanks Deanna. Yes, that is a bit of a problem for me too :)

  12. 12.05.2014 at 10:11 AM #

    Chocolate bark is one of my favourite things to make during the holidays! It’s so easy and makes such a great gift. Yum!

    • katiemorford
      12.05.2014 at 11:32 AM #

      I think people are daunted by it because it is in the category of “candy” which has a reputation for being complicated. But it is so easy indeed.

  13. 12.05.2014 at 10:14 AM #

    Beautiful! I’ve never made my own, but I sure do love it!

    • katiemorford
      12.05.2014 at 11:31 AM #

      It is ridiculously easy, Rebecca, and you can tinker with the ingredients. Sometimes I’ll do it with different seeds, different dried fruits, etc.

  14. 12.10.2014 at 12:08 PM #

    Oh my do I love chocolate bark! I haven’t made any in a couple of years, but you’re right it is the perfect holiday goodie! Marcona almonds are a nice addition too:)
    xoxo to you and yours,

    • katiemorford
      12.10.2014 at 6:53 PM #

      Yes to Marcona almonds! Hadn’t thought of that for this. Yummmy!

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