Every year we make some type of candy to have on hand for little gifts. The usual recipients are my husband's coworkers, but it also comes in handy as a contribution for that last minute holiday party. The first couple of years of marriage, I made truffles of various sorts. They were always a big hit, but at this stage in my life, they are just too time and labor intensive to make in large quantities. The substitute? Candy bark.
I usually buy good quality chocolate chips of the dark, semi-sweet, or white variety, and one or two kinds of goodness to mix into said chocolate. If you are wondering whether the chocolate chips are of a good quality, ask yourself, "Are these good enough to eat solo, by the handful?" If yes, then you're good to go. For the mix in, you can use crushed candy canes, Heath toffee bits, nuts, really just about anything that sounds good. This year we visited a local shop that sells bulk food (most grocery stores have a bulk section as well), and picked up some peppermint crunch candy (see pic below) and toffee bits.
So, I'm sure that there are lots of tutorials on how to do this, but I'll share my method with you because its so very easy and quick, and I've honed it down to a mom friendly science. And just FYI, because of the kids I don't have large blocks of time (and maybe you don't, either?), so I do this in batches while I'm doing something else, like waiting for dinner to come out of the oven. It really is that fast.
Empty 2 bags (24 ounces) of chocolate chips into a heavy bottom pan (I use the dutch oven), and place on low heat. Stir occasionally.
When melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of whatever you choose.
Spred evenly across a sheet of parchment or wax paper. I usually place the paper on a large (14x17) cutting board, which is the exact amount of space needed for this size batch.
If you don't have grabby hands around and/or overly warm indoor temperatures, you can let it cool and harden on the counter. Personally I slide the whole cutting board into the freezer until I have another spare minute or five for the next step (which may be 20 minutes or 6 hours later. See the beauty of this recipe?).
When hardened, break into pieces. Store in a gallon size ziplock bag in the freezer until ready to use.
To make individual portions, I divide the candy into clear bags similar to these.
|Obviously these photos are from various batches and combinations...|