Introduction: 5-minute Halloween Candy Bark

About: I helped start Instructables, previously worked in biotech and academic research labs, and have a degree in biology from MIT. Currently head of Product helping young startups at Alchemist Accelerator, previous…

This spooky 5-minute Halloween Candy Bark is dead easy, can be customized for your favorite color and candy, and can actually be made in under 5 minutes!  It's perfect for a last-minute Halloween party treat, or as a way to use up all your left-over candy.  All you need is a microwave, and you're in business.

Bonus: I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the resulting treat tastes better than the sum of its parts!  Everyone at Instructables HQ loved it, and you will too. 

If you make it, share a picture!  I'll give a free 3-month Pro membership to anyone who makes their own version of Halloween Bark and posts a picture in the comments by the end of the day on November 7, 2010.

Step 1: Tools and Ingredients

Basic Bark Ingredients:
White chocolate for the base1
Green food coloring (or your favorite color - purple or orange would be gross too)
Candy for the top2
Dark chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Vegan3 Bark Ingredients:
Dark chocolate for base & drizzling
Candy for top

Waxed paper (optional)4
Plate or tray (optional)4
Refrigerator (optional)4

1I used Hershey's Cookies & Creme minibars, as they were the cheapest form of white chocolate available; use what you've got.  The cookie bits added nice color/crunch.
2I used Reese's Pieces and Cups, Butterfinger, and M&Ms.
3Read ingredients lists carefully, as many chocolates & candies have stealth dairy.  I wasn't fond of this version, but then I don't like dark chocolate or Twizzlers.  YMMV.
4I made this on a hot day here in SF, so had to put my bark into the fridge so it would harden.  The waxed paper makes it easy to pick up and transport without sticking. A truly minimalist version could involve making the bark directly on the counter in a cold house.

Step 2: Melt, Color, and Spread Chocolate Base

- Unwrap your chocolate, place it in a dry microwave-safe bowl, and pop it in the microwave.
- Cook in 15-second increments, stirring with a spoon or spatula between each segment.

- When lumps are gone, add food coloring and stir. 
- Repeat until you get a suitably gross color.  I used about a dozen drops for my 10 oz of chocolate. 

- Spread chocolate on a piece of waxed paper, plastic wrap, or parchment.  It should be at least 1/4" deep, as you want enough thickness to add chunks later.

Picking a color: Irecommend green, purple, orange, or blue: choose your favorite, and make sure it complements the colors of the candy you've chosen.

Check out the Cookies n' Creme - not only did it melt faster than I'd expect for white chocolate chips, those cookie bits look really weird when you add food coloring.  Bonus ick factor!

Step 3: Add Chunks & Set

Distribute bits of candy over the melted chocolate base.  You may choose to chop up larger candies like Reese's cups, candy bars, etc so they're bite-size.  Choose a mix of candies you think will taste good, or that will taste utterly gross together - it all depends on your goals.

I was careful about color distribution, but you could skip the anal-retentive nonsense and dump your candy on there all at once.  Just be sure to press the candy in so it sticks to the chocolate.

If it's a warm day, put the chocolate in the fridge to set; on a cool day, it should set up quickly right there on your counter top.

Optional bonus step:
Drizzle the top with a contrasting color of chocolate.  I used dark chocolate (leftover from the vegan experiment), but you could also tint some more white chocolate in another disgusting color.  I'm thinking purple could have gone over well here.

Step 4: Cut & Serve

Cut or break your Halloween bark into single-serving chunks, and stack on a plate. Position it strategically to distract the approaching zombie hordes.

I like the irregular look of hand-broken pieces, but since it was a balmy 85F in San Francisco yesterday the chocolate was too warm to break nicely.  Thus the knife.

So, how did it taste? I asked the usual suspects found loitering around Instructables HQ to give it a go.  They looked at the Halloween bark suspiciously, but agreed to try small pieces.  Then they came back demanding more Halloween bark.

Verdict:this stuff is excellent, and tastes better than the sum of its parts.  It looks appropriately gross, is totally customizable, and takes almost no time to make - it's now a permanent part of my Halloween repertoire.

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