Last weekend I went to a Christmas party. Not just any Christmas party but the notorious, annual TACKY/UGLY/AWKWARD CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTY at the house of my friend Chris.
Basically we all show up in the ugliest Christmas getup possible, eat food, play games, and be ridiculous. An ugly sweater and an appetizer/snack were required for entrance. I will get to the snack part in a minute, but first I know you want to see a couple pictures of peculiar people in ugly Christmas clothes so... here you go. You asked for it.
*this below photo "stolen" from the facebook of Katie P.
I needed one of me as I forgot to get a shot of me in my XXL, bedazzled, 3-dimensional ugly Christmas sweater (or dress). I'm the one in with the glasses. This photo really doesn't do the ugliness justice. Darn.
See! Told you it was ughhhhhly. (in case you wondered the guy with the currrrly hair in picture #4 was voted to have the ugliest sweater/outfit. Though I really should have won...)
ANYWAY, after you have erased those scaring images from your mind, I bet you want to know what I brought for these awkward sweater wearing peeps to eat? CHOCOLATE BARK!!!!!!!!!
What is that? Don't worry, it doesn't involve bark off any Christmas trees. It is mostly chocolate and then some other stuff. It is super easy and rather quick. I made two kinds: pretzel/peanut butter and peppermint! Great to bring to holiday parties, to hang out with people in horrific clothing (oh wait...only we do that...),or to munch as you watch Christmas movies. With out further ado...
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE BARK
-the ultimate Christmas party snack!-
In a double boiler melt 1 and a 1/2 bags of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips and 1 tablespoon or so of Paraffin Wax (yes, really. It IS edible and it makes the chocolate shiny. Trust me, just do it.) until it is smooth.*For thePEPPERMINT one I added a teaspoon of Peppermint extract to the melting chocolate.
*for the Pretzel and Peanut Butter bark I crushed up about a cup and half of thin pretzels and gentle stirred them into the melted chocolate.
*for the PEPPERMINT I crushed up a bunch of candy canes and stirred those in.
Spread the chocolate (mixed with either pretzels or candy canes...or both...) onto a cookie sheet lined with wax/parchment paper. You want to spread it out pretty well. It should cover almost the entire sheet.
Once on the cookie sheet I added Peanut Butter M & M's to the chocolate and pretzels. I just poked them in with my finger deep enough so that they would harden into the chocolate.
I stuck mint chocolate chips into the surface of the PEPPERMINT one.
I covered it all over with aluminum foil and let it dry for an hour or so in my garage. The chocolate needs to become completely solid (hard) again before the next step.
Once hardened I broke it into munchable-sized pieces (just with my hands. Snaps easily). The next day I plated them up and took them to the party.
(The pretzel one was a big hit! Apparently people in ugly clothes like to eat sweet and salt things as they play silly games. Hmmm...)
Joking all aside, bark is really fun and easy to make and you can play around with different kinds of chocolate and fillings. I've had it with white chocolate, pretzels and candy canes all together. I've seen recipes with mini marshmallow in it. You can turn it into an unhealthy version of trail mix. Dried fruit could be tasty. Crushed/broken candys work fine. Lots of people use almonds and all those other holidayish nuts.
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, MY FRIENDS!
Try it out for one of your Christmas parties (or package it and give it as a gift!) and I betcha it will be a HIT!