Salty, sweet, and chocolatey, what’s not to love? This is a simple treat to throw together with only two ingredients and tastes ah-mazing. Salty and sweet is a classic and delicious combo but the crunch from the potato chips just puts this candy over the top. You don’t even need to temper the chocolate because it tempers as you make the bark! This is an effortless recipe anyone can make (even kids) and is great for gifts.
This is part of the ‘How to Sleigh the Holiday Season’ series, you can check out other recipes and courses in the series here. If you are making this as a gift for neighbors, friends, family, etc. check out my post on preparing food gifts safely. If you have never dealt with chocolate, are new to the process, or need a refresher, check out my chocolate basics post (especially the do’s and don’ts 😉 ).
Where Did the Name ‘Bark’ Come From?
Okay, now that you are all edu-ma-cated, let’s get to the fundamentals of this recipe. Do you know why chocolate bark is called ‘bark’? Probably not because bark nowadays is just smooth chocolate that’s filled with lies and deceit and certainly doesn’t deserve the name ‘bark’ (can you tell this is a big pet peeve of mine?). Chocolate bark is traditionally made by piling the bark additions (chips in this case), swirling the chocolate around to coat everything and then patting it for several minutes until it cools. The patting of the chocolate causes a unique texture that looks like… dun duh duh da … the bark of a tree! So when you make bark the right and traditional way it has a beautiful texture (see image below) and is simpler because you temper the chocolate as you go.
How to Get the Kids Involved
Get ready to play with your food! I think this is a great recipe to involve the kids in. It doesn’t involve boiling hot sugar like my ribbon candy recipe, the ingredients are cheap so if something goes wrong it’s no big deal, and what kid wouldn’t love to be elbow deep in chocolate? If you involve kids, I would recommend teaching them the importance of sanitation (depending on age) and if you are planning on giving this out you can always give them their own piece of parchment, a handful of chips, and a blob of chocolate to go to town with and keep yours as the giveaway pile.
How to Make this Recipe Yours
The other really important part of this recipe is that nothing in it is that big of a deal. You can alter ingredients and amounts, if you don’t properly temper it’ll still taste great and you can’t really mess it up. If you are a chocolate fanatic and want the chips to be just a sprinkling in the bark, then you can add fewer chips. Oh, and I almost forgot, you can also pick your chocolate! I used semisweet chocolate because I’m not crazy about sweets and sugar. However, you could use milk chocolate (I would only use dark chocolate if you really like it, the bitterness kind of ruins the whole sweet and salty vibe, but you do you). The beauty of making this yourself is that you can make it to your chocolate needs.
A Comment on Bark Toppings
One last thing I want to talk about is adding ingredients to the top and outside of the bark. I saw a lot of other recipes doing this and it’s a big no-no in my book. When making bark, sprinkling a little of the inside ingredients (like chips in this case) on top is the norm and with most things, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, do not sprinkle chips over the top of the bark and not cover them with chocolate. The chips will most likely become stale before you finish handing them all out (or eating them yourself). The chocolate effectively wraps the chips in a suffocating hug and they can’t really go stale, but if you sprinkle some on top they most definitely will. Plus, since you’re making this the traditional way the top will have a fun texture that doesn’t need bits of chips ruining it 🙂 .
Picking the Right Chocolate
If you can get a bar of high-quality chocolate and chop it up yourself (not ready to eat chocolate like Hershey’s), that would be best. Bars tend to have fewer additives, taste better, and temper/set better. However, chocolate chips work well too. I do not recommend candy melts. They tend to have a ton more crud in them and don’t taste as well.
Let’s get to the recipe!
Milk Chocolate Potato Chip Bark
Sweet milk chocolate meets salty and crunchy potato chips for the perfect treat.
You can switch the chocolate out for semisweet if you like less sweet things (I did).
- 30 oz of milk chocolate (a high-quality bar is good, not Hershey’s, but chocolate chips work fine too)
- 6 oz of potato chips (I used Ruffles because they have a nice crunch and create a nice texture in the bark)
Directions1. Melt Chocolate. Add your chocolate chips to a double boiler* over medium-low heat and melt. Stir very frequently to prevent burning/hot spots, and to distribute the heat for quicker melting. Don’t let the water come to a boil (can burn the chocolate) and don’t get any water or steam into the chocolate (will seize up). Once the chocolate is mostly melted with little lumps of unmelted chocolate, remove it from the heat and stir until all the chocolate fully melts (should take a minute of stirring, if not, pop it back on until more melted).
*Can use a saucepan with an inch or so of water in it and a glass bowl covering the saucepan like a lid (tight fitting and not touching the water). Place the chocolate into the glass bowl for melting.
2. Set up Chips. After the chocolate is melted, place it off to the side for a moment. Get a large piece of parchment paper out and secure it to your work area (mine moves around and rolls up so I like to wrap it around a cutting board tucking the edges underneath to keep the paper in place). Place your chips onto the parchment paper and lightly crush them (should still have relatively large chip pieces). Keep the chips in one large flattened pile.
3. Add Chocolate. Spoon the chocolate evenly onto the chips. With gloved hands (trust me you’ll want them gloved, use vinyl or nitrile) start swirling the chips and chocolate around coating the chips but keeping everything mostly together (don’t spread it super thin). After everything is adequately covered, start flattening out the chips into a rectangle. It ends up being pretty thin and don’t worry about crushing the chips as you go.
3. Temper the Chocolate. Once the chips are covered and flattened into a rectangle start lightly patting the bark all over (this tempers the chocolate). Pat with your fingers only (chips will stick to your palm like crazy) and with your fingers spread apart. Pat lightly and move in one consistent direction (like left to right). You will pat the chocolate for 5-7 minutes (depends on a lot of factors) or until the chocolate becomes cool and noticeably thickens. Remove and dispose of your gloves and be happy you don’t have to try and wash all the chocolate off.
4. Let cool and cut. Once you are done patting and tempering the chocolate, leave it out to set up slightly (about 5-10 minutes). Then, take a knife or pizza cutter and cut the bark (I cut mine into diamonds, rectangles or triangles are also good). Leave the chocolate to completely cool (about 1-2 hours or 30 minutes in the fridge).
5. Break apart. After the chocolate has completely set up, use gloved hands (new of course) and break the pieces apart gently (the cut marks should make this easy). Gloves prevent the chocolate from melting from the heat of your hands and makes sure there are no fingerprints left behind. Once broken apart, package the pieces up for giving away (see below for ideas and free labels) or place into a lidded container lined with parchment paper.
6. Enjoy! Leave some out for yourself and enjoy (if you haven’t been munching the whole time you’ve been making it 🙂 ).
7. Packaging and Labels. I like to package my bark in a cellophane bag (I used these ones) but a windowed box with a ribbon diagonally tied on the corners (like method two here) and a tag is also cute. Here is a link to foldover labels (like in the below picture) and to gift tags (both can be printed on white paper or kraft paper). Both also come with the ingredients and a to/from space on the bottom.
For More Autumnal Recipes:
Thank you so much for reading and may your chocolate temper perfectly!