We were naughty quarter-life cooks this holiday season. On every corner of the blogosphere was an idea for a cute edible gift. And what did we send our loved ones, friends, former colleagues, and current ones? Nothing.
This Valentine’s Day we’re trying to turn over a new leaf so that by Christmas 2011 Santa will disregard our lack of 2010 holiday foodie cheer and take our celebration of Cupid and chocolate as a sign that we are indeed nice. Last year, we bagged hundreds of Yes! Pecan Cookies for the Think Blue Valentine’s Day party. But this year, we got a little more creative, and D-I-Y Chocolate Bark Boxes were born.
Chocolate Bark is one of the first recipes in our book. Part of the “Cooking For One” section, it’s introduced to our readers with a story about Cara stirring melted chocolate in her dorm room bathroom (where they grossly kept the microwave) in college. It’s one of the easiest of our recipes to recreate–anywhere there is a microwave. You may also remember this version of our chocolate bark recipe from our first-ever post on the blog. We’ve since made countless variations, some of them documented on the blog, and some that are included in the book.
We put together these little boxes with finished Pretzel-Toffee Chocolate Bark, a pink recipe card with instructions on how to make it, and a package of ad-ins with which to customize your own bark. We hope your loved ones enjoy the chocolate-y treats this Valentine’s Day, and if you happen to receive one of them from us, well, we hope you enjoy them almost as much as the book containing the recipe.
We’ve given you the recipe for creating these little D-I-Y Chocolate Bark Boxes, including all the paper materials you need to purchase, and methods for to customize your gifts. The one thing to note is that if you plan to keep the chocolate outside of the fridge for much longer than it takes to deliver it, you’ll have to purchase a thermometer and temper the chocolate. You can read all about tempering here.
From our kitchen, crafting D-I-Y chocolate love, to yours,
Phoebe and Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS
D-I-Y Valentine’s Day Chocolate Bark
Makes 12 boxes
For the boxes:
2 dozen cellophane bags (6 x 4 inches)
1 roll pink raffia ribbon, cut into 5 inch pieces
1 color printer
2 sheets 2 x 4 inch white shipping labels
4 sheets cherry pink or white card stock
1 bag multi-colored sizzle
1 dozen gift boxes with handle (we used these from Container Store)
For the bark:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or broken-up good-quality chocolate bars
1 1/2 cups broken pretzel pieces
1 cup Heath brand toffee bits
NOTE: To break up the pretzels, put a handful or two in a Ziploc plastic bag. Pound with your fist until they’re broken up. Measure after breaking
Melt the chocolate in short 20-second intervals in the microwave. Stir occasionally with a heat-proof spatula. Remove from the microwave and add 1 1/2 cups pretzels and 1 cup toffee and stir to distribute. Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread it evenly with a spatula. Put in the freezer and let the bark sit until hardened, about 30 minutes. Using your hands or a knife, break the bark into bite-sized pieces. Keep in the fridge until ready to pack.
Place 1-2 pieces of finished bark in each cellophane baggie. Tie with a 5-inch piece of ribbon. Measure out 1/3 cup of pretzels, and ¼ cup of toffee into another cellophane baggie and tie with another piece of ribbon. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Download the Avery template for the white shipping labels. Create a note and/or logo design to place on them. Print the labels.
Use the image above to create a BGSK customized recipe card for your recipient. Or in PowerPoint, create your own 3 x 4 inch recipe cards. Print the cards. Cut the cards into rectangles.
Place 1 bag of chocolate bark in the bottom of the box, followed by 1 bag of the add-ins, and top with a small handful of sizzle. Close the box. Center a label on the top half of the box, and seal. Tie a pink ribbon in a bow on the side of the box handle.
Repeat with the remaining boxes. Ship, hand-deliver, or gift at a party to all of your closest friends.