I am 100% guilty of going way, way overboard with the holiday baking. My list of things to make is always ridiculously long, and I’m always thinking of just one more thing that I could make. While my focus is overwhelmingly on cookies, chocolate bark is second in line as my next-favorite holiday sweet to make. I have made peppermint bark an annual tradition for nearly 10 years now, and a few years ago added a cranberry-pistachio white chocolate bark to the rotation. Since Christmas is notoriously a little light on the chocolate/peanut butter combinations (we have buckeyes, peanut butter blossoms and peanut butter cup cookies in our standard rotation), I thought I would add another to the mix. There’s always room for a little more chocolate and peanut butter, right?!
I love making bark, in part, because of how incredibly quick and easy it is to throw together. Simply melt down some good-quality chocolate, spread on some parchment paper, then layer on more chocolate, sprinkle on some goodies, and pop it in the fridge to set up. I’ve kept peppermint bark in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and it stays just fine. Just beware – you’ll find yourself sneaking into the fridge for just another little bite. “Oh look – no one will eat these little pieces, they’re virtually crumbs, I’ll just eat them now.” It’s a slippery slope, but I’m not sorry for overindulging at the holidays!
Like all other bark, this chocolate/peanut butter version is just as easy and, thanks to the peanut butter, it tastes just like a peanut butter cup. If you’re as big of a peanut butter fan as I am, you should just go ahead and make two pans – one for yourself, and one for everyone else!
Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Bark
Yield: 1½ pound of chocolate bark
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
A layer of semisweet chocolate topped with a swirl of melted peanut butter and milk chocolate.
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium heat-proof bowl set above a small saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the semisweet chocolate, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into a 9×13-inch rectangle. Set aside.
3. In a small heat-proof bowl set above a small saucepan of barely simmering water, melt together the milk chocolate and peanut butter, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. Dollop the peanut butter mixture over the surface of the semisweet chocolate, then use a toothpick to swirl it together. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Slice or break into pieces and serve. The bark can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living)