Peanut brittle is nice and all…but pass me the chocolate!

How about chocolate bark?  Chocolate bark is easy to make, provides a blank canvas waiting for your creativity, and is a beautiful gift to stuff into some stockings.

Even better:  three different kinds of chocolate bark!

Peanut butter swirl, peppermint, and almond & apricot with a kiss of fleur de sel.  Creamy, Christmas-y, salty, yum!

They sky is the limit.  Use your favorite chocolate (milk, semisweet, bittersweet, white) and top with a variety of nuts, dried fruit, or candy.  Be even more exotic and add extracts or liqueurs (raspberry liqueur would be super fabulous).  It’s pretty impossible to go wrong.

Christmas is only ten days away so you better get started!

Peanut Butter Swirl Bark

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living December 2010

12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

4 oz white chocolate

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Line a 9×12-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Over a double boiler, melt bittersweet or semisweet chocolate until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and very smooth.  Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over baking sheet and set aside.

Over double boiler, melt white chocolate and peanut butter, whisking until smooth.  Drizzle peanut butter mixture over chocolate and then using a pick or the tip of a knife, artfully swirl peanut butter through chocolate.  Let set in refrigerator until firm, about 45 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and break into large pieces.  Can be kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container for two weeks.

Peppermint Bark

1 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

12 oz white chocolate

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 candy canes, broken into small pieces

Line a 9×12-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Over a double boiler, melt bittersweet or semisweet chocolate until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and very smooth.  Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over baking sheet and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate over double boiler until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat, add peppermint extract, and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and very smooth.  Spread evenly on top of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and sprinkle candy cane pieces over the top.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and break into large pieces.  Can be kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container for two weeks.

Almond, Apricot, & Fleur de Sel Chocolate Bark

1 lb semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup raw almonds, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1 heaping teaspoon fleur de sel (or flakey sea salt)

Line a 9×12-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Over a double boiler, melt bittersweet or semisweet chocolate until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and very smooth.  Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over baking sheet. Sprinkle almonds, apricots, and fleur de sel evenly over chocolate.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and break into large pieces.  Can be kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container for two weeks.

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