Howdy, friends! Lauren from LaurenKelp.com here & today I am sharing my absolute favorite sweet treat for the holidays. Perfect for the man in the red hat, for teacher’s presents, to give as last minute gifts to the girlfriends, or to bring to as a hostess gift. Really though, if we are being honest, there is no wrong way to give this Christmas chocolate bark and I think, once you’ve seen the recipe, you will totally agree!
There is really nothing like the last few days before Christmas, am I right? Everyone is bustling around, people are humming Christmas carols, presents are being wrapped, wreaths are being hung, and if you are like me… trees are getting decorated (whoops!). There is something happy in the air that just gets me in the holiday spirit!
I love making this dark chocolate sugared cranberry bark by the truckload because it’s relatively easy & it’s fun to assemble. You pour yourself a good glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot, put on a few Christmas movies, and spend the afternoon playing Mrs. Claus & whipping up some goodies.
Grab a few boxes from your local organizing store, some tissue paper & ribbons, and you’ve got yourself a really delicious & thoughtful gift for everyone on your list!
Okay, enough talking already Lauren, let’s get to the recipe! Alright, alright, here you go my little elves…
- 8 ounces of high quality dark chocolate chips
- 2 cup of cranberries
- 1 cup of pistachios (finely crushed)
- 2 cups of sugar & a dash more for rolling
- 2 cups of water
- Pour yourself a glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot (I recommend this bottle when baking the bark & I’ll tell you why in a minute)
- Combine sugar and water in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat & stir until sugar dissolves. Add in your fresh cranberries & cook for about 2-3 minutes (the water will turn a light pink). Remove from heat
- Drain cranberries and set aside. In a lipped cookie sheet, pour sugar down and gently put the cranberries in the sugar, rolling them around to get nice & coated. Let them stand to dry for 20-30 minutes (do not refrigerate until cooled & hardened)
- Once the cranberries are ready, put your dark chocolate chips in a microwave bowl & microwave on high for 20-seconds. Stir & repeat, pulling out every 20-seconds to stir, until chocolate is fully melted
- Spray a lipped cookie sheet with cooking spray (this helps hold down the parchment paper) and cut a piece of parchment paper so it hangs just a bit over the edges of the sheet.
- Spread melted chocolate on top of the parchment paper. Depending on how tick you want your bark, you can either play with the container size (a glass bread Pyrex is great for thicker bark) or you can double (triple!) the amount of chocolate chips. This is good to keep in mind if you are making a lot at once.
- Drizzle your finely chopped pistachios & sugared cranberries on top of the melted chocolate. Sprinkle as much or as little as you want – that is kind of the fun part!
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes for the bark to set. Once ready, break into small piece, package, deliver & enjoy!
What do you think? Ready to whip up a batch? I am telling you, this bark is so fun to make & when combined with the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot – it’s magic. I love drinking this specific Merlot with the bark because the notes of black cherry & wild berry blend perfectly with the sweetness of the sugared cranberries & the savory from the pistachios. It’s the perfect indulgence to end a day of baking in the kitchen.
Photography by Constance Higley