Use Your Favorite Chocolate Bars For Easy, Customizable Holiday Bark

Mix together sweet seasonal treats, heartwarming gifts, and a dash of holiday stress, and voilà — you've got yourself the quintessential holiday season. With the flurry of parties and end-of-year deadlines this time brings, schedules can get busy. This often leaves little room for beloved traditions like elaborate baking and candy making. If you're feeling overwhelmed this year or simply want a more convenient holiday treat to share, the internet has a solution that's going to come in handy — customizable holiday bark you can make in minutes from candy bars.

You don't have to be a skilled chocolatier to make these stunning, handcrafted chocolate candies. There are endless ways to make them at home, none of which require fancy tools or technical know-how. As @vinishalalchand demonstrates in a TikTok tutorial, there's a simple method that only calls for your favorite chocolate bars, a baking sheet, and parchment paper to whip up a gorgeous, swirled confection.

Two ways to make candy bar bark

Searching for "Christmas bark" on TikTok yields countless thumbnails, but some of the most striking ones show bold mosaics of chocolate bars arranged on baking sheets. Click and you'll discover a convenient take on chocolate bark. It's a mess-free method to melt chocolate, although it may not turn out as smooth and glossy as tempered chocolate. (More on that later.)

To make chocolate bark with candy bars, arrange your chosen candy bars (using white with milk or dark chocolate for visually-appealing contrast) on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting, anywhere from 130 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Slide your chocolate into the oven and keep a close eye on it to prevent burning. Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the oven and use a knife or toothpick to swirl patterns into it while it's warm. Finish with toppings like sprinkles, pretzels, or candy. Let it cool, then crack it into pieces.

For more traditional, snappy chocolate bark, opt for the stovetop method (aka tempered chocolate). This is also beginner-friendly but requires a few extra kitchen tools — a pot, a heat-safe bowl, and a spatula. Begin by adding an inch of water to a pot. Place your chocolate in a bowl, set the bowl atop the pot, and bring the water to a simmer, stirring the chocolate to gently melt it. The result is glossy, evenly-melted chocolate, ready to spread on parchment paper for holiday bark.

Fun twists on chocolate bark

Whether you use the oven or stovetop method, holiday bark recipes offer a variety of creative possibilities. When you play with different ingredients, you're bound to find a version that satisfies your cravings and dazzles as a gift. For starters, try different types of chocolate as your base — think Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bars swirled with milk chocolate, a checkerboard pattern of Ghirardelli squares, or a blend of Andes Mints and dark chocolate. You can also channel your favorite candy bars through your toppings. Sprinkle coconut and chopped almonds for an Almond Joy vibe, or, for the peanut butter lovers in your life, amp up plain chocolate bark with Reese's Pieces and crushed peanuts.

If you want to break out of the candy bar mold, there are plenty of other delicious bark options to explore. (And yes, many of them still involve some form of candy, but that's part of the fun.) Peppermint bark remains a holiday classic for a reason. Or, you can get creative and top a thin layer of melted chocolate with a sprinkle of whatever you find tasty. Try nuts, espresso beans, dried fruit, sprinkles, cereal, pretzels, marshmallows, or cookies. However you decide to make it, your homemade bark is sure to add a touch of cheer to the holidays.