[Editor: Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you enjoy the time off. I'll be back next week with a couple of articles before we reset for 2016.]
Last year for Christmas, I was looking for a simple, inexpensive parting gift to give to my guests. Looking for something that wouldn’t be over complicated, expensive, or time consuming, I stumbled upon a recipe for white chocolate bark.
Bark is a great party favor for the lazy and the time-starved: it requires little effort or skill, zero baking, and it's nearly impossible to mess up. It's so simple, in fact, you can throw it together the night before or morning of the holiday and have it still be ready before your guests arrive.
For this recipe, I decided to go with nuts and fruit over crushed candy canes, marshmallows, and the many other indulgent variations I've seen. I've found that by the time Christmas arrives — between holiday parties at work and with friends — most people have been eating unhealthy foods for weeks; the last thing they want is to come home with more of it.
For the fruit and nuts, I chose cranberries and pistachios — the festive red and green flecks give the bark a cheerful, holiday look. I like to use half salted and half unsalted pistachios, so it has a nice balance of salty and sweet.
The simple four-step recipe that resulted takes about five minutes to make and is a great, low-cost way to make sure no one leaves Christmas empty handed.
- 1 lb. white chocolate chips or slices
- ¼ lb. salted pistachios
- ¼ lb. unsalted pistachios
- ½ lb. dried cranberries
- Melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on 50-percent power, taking out approximately every 30 seconds to stir.
- Once the chocolate is fully melted (should take a couple of minutes at most), stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
- Line the base and sides of a baking tin or cookie sheet with wax paper, and pour the white chocolate mix into the tin, spreading it evenly across the wax paper to desired thickness.
- Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 30 minutes or until completely hardened. Remove and cut into desired shapes.
I like to pack the bark in a printed goody bags from the Dollar Store or even clear sandwich bags (just cut the top off if you choose the latter), and tie the top together with curly ribbon.
Christina Garofalo is co-author of the blog Adventures in Frugal, where she writes about travel, food, finance, and more. Her writing has also appeared in Paste, First We Feast, Robb Report, and Art & Hustle. In her free time, you'll find her writing poetry and eating her way through Brooklyn, New York.
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