A quick and pretty vegan chocolate treat that's a perfect homemade Easter gift, or for using up leftover Easter candy. Melted dark and white chocolate are layered (or swirled, you choose!) to form the base for all your favorite toppings. Easy enough for kids and addictive enough for grown-ups to sneak 'just one more' piece!
Lightly grease a large baking sheet and then line with parchment paper (or a silicone liner). Greasing the pan will help prevent the parchment from sliding around later. You can also use a marble pastry slab with parchment paper (so you can easily remove the chocolate bark later).
Melt the dark chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler or the microwave. Microwave Method:Use a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl which retain heat best. On 50% power, heat the chopped chocolate for 30 seconds, stir and then heat again for 30 seconds. Repeat this until you have small pea-sized pieces of unmelted chocolate left, stirring gently until they are melted. Chocolate burns and seizes very easily so it's best to go slow and steady. This process should take 1½-2 minutes. Double Boiler Method: Add a couple of inches of water to the bottom of a pot. Turn the heat up to medium. When the water is simmering, reduce the heat to barely simmering. Select a heat-safe bowl which is wider than the pot so it sits securely on the pot (or the nesting pot if you have a double boiler pot set). A bowl that is too small can slip down into the pot, or allow steam to escape between the two, introducing moisture to your chocolate. Add the chopped chocolate to the bowl, place on top of the pot and stir as the chocolate melts. Wearing oven mitts, remove the bowl from the pot when there are just a few pea-sized pieces of chocolate left to melt, wiping the moisture from the bottom and sides of the bowl. With a bit of gentle stirring, the rest of the chocolate will melt.
Pour the melted dark chocolate on the prepared baking sheet or pastry slab. Spread the chocolate out into a rectangle about ⅛" (3 mm) thick. For a Layered Chocolate Bark: let the dark chocolate set up until it's no longer liquid but still very soft. This takes about 20 minutes depending on the temperature of your home, but you can speed things up by sticking it in the fridge for 5 minutes. Don't let the chocolate completely set though, or the white chocolate may not bond properly and separate when the bark is cut later. Melt the white chocolate once the dark chocolate is looking ready.You may need to add a teaspoon of shortening if the white chocolate is quite thick. If using the microwave method, keep in mind that white chocolate seizes much easier than dark chocolate so go slow. For a Swirled Chocolate Bark:use only 4 oz (113 g) of white chocolate. Immediately drizzle it all over the dark chocolate. Drag a toothpick or tip of a sharp knife through the white chocolate into the dark chocolate areas to create swirls.
Before the white chocolate firms up, arrange the candies, sprinkles or toppings of choice. Gently press them into the melted chocolate so they stick to the chocolate once it sets. Let the chocolate bark set up in a cool, dry spot. The chocolate should be set in about an hour depending on the temperature of your home. If you're in a rush, you can place it in the fridge (about 15 minutes) or freezer (about 5 minutes) although this may cause the chocolate to bloom within a couple of days. See blog post for more information and how blooming is only an aesthetic issue and is still safe to eat. Once set, break the chocolate bark into pieces as desired. For pieces with clean lines, slide the bark on the parchment paper onto a cutting board and use a hot large sharp knife to cut up the bark as desired. To heat it, dip the blade in hot water, wipe dry and cut. Reheat and wipe the blade as needed.
This chocolate treat is easy to customize to what you love and have in your pantry, and is perfect for any season or holiday. Here are some topping ideas:
any of your favorite small candies
chopped dried fruit like cranberries, raisins or dates
nuts like pistachios, salted peanuts, or roasted pecans
chopped or crushed cookies like Oreos, gingersnaps or speculaas
small vegan marshmallows
flakey sea salt
Storage Suggestion:Store the chocolate candy bark in an airtight container in a cool dry place, or the refrigerator for up to a few months – check the best before date on the chocolate you used and consider if you're using items that can go stale like pretzels or marshmallows. Over time, the chocolate may bloom which makes the chocolate look dusty or cloudy. This is not a food safety concern nor does it affect the flavor much, rather it is simply the cocoa butter separating out. Chocolate can also be stored in the freezer for several months in an airtight container.