B asked for chocolate bark for Christmas, but he specifically said that he wanted cashews and not almonds or peppermint. Unfortunately, or fortunately if they happen to be your favorites, almond bark and peppermint bark have edged out all other barks for shelf space in the chocolate bark section of the store. In other words, I couldn’t find cashew bark in any of my regular haunts.
This worked out for the best, though, because I had the chance to make my own custom chocolate bark, with a much higher nut to chocolate ratio than the store bought varieties. I used all milk chocolate, but the great thing about a “recipe” like this is that you can use whatever type or types of chocolate that you want. So easy to make, and very scalable.
I broke the cooled bark into pieces, wrapped it in wax paper, and put it into a regular brown paper lunch bag. After a snip with some decorative scissors, I added a custom label (download the PDF below) and ta-da, a pretty nice looking gift. Lunch bags are what I had on hand, so that’s what I went with, but you could use cellophane bags tied with ribbon or small boxes for a more high end look.
The toughest part about making candied pecans is stirring them every 15 minutes as they bake. I used this recipe, which turned out great, and packaged the finished nuts in small cellophane bags with custom labels (download the PDF below). These would make great little stocking stuffers or party favors, and you can easily mix up the spices for your own custom flavor.
Both the chocolate bark and the pecans were finished and ready for packaging in a couple of hours, so these really can be done last minute if needed. Above are the labels that I designed for the gifts/favors. You can download the PDFs below and print the labels onto sticker paper (cardstock would work, too) for your own gifts. The bark tags say “Chocolate Bark”, so you can use them for almond, peppermint, peanut, whatever type of chocolate bark you make.
You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download the PDFs. Get it here for free if you don’t already have it on your system. The printable food gift labels:
1/2 – 3/4 lb. roasted, salted cashews
14 oz. good quality milk chocolate
1. Prepare a jelly roll or similar sized cookie sheet or pan with parchment paper.
2. Break the chocolate into a medium glass bowl, and microwave on high in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is almost completely melted (my chocolate was there by a minute and a half). Stir the chocolate to melt any small pieces that may still be floating around.
3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined pan. Spread to the edges with a spoon. You may want to tap the bottom of the pan against the counter to even out the chocolate and remove any small air bubbles that may be trapped.
4. Sprinkle the cashews (or whatever nut or candy you may be using) evenly over the surface of the chocolate. Place the pan in the refrigerator for an hour or so to cool. After the bark is cooled, break it into manageable pieces and package.