December 19, 2014

Super easy two-ingredient 1950s Chocolate Peanut Bark (plus 25 great alternative versions)

The holiday season always seems to throw some curveballs one's way, and more often than not, they require either larger volumes of food than expected or sudden gifts that you hadn't been planning for ahead of time.

To cover my bases on both fronts, I try to always have both some wonderful all-purpose store bought gifts (such as scented candles, timeless holiday ornaments, good quality kitchen linens, gift certificates or cards to popular stores or restaurants, and other items that most everyone likes and will be apt to use) and some homemade treats to hand that I can wrap up in a mason jar, cellophane, gift bags, fun tins or other festive packaging and take with me at a moment's notice.

The nearer we get to Christmas, the more I find myself whipping up batching of quick, scrumptious, crowd pleasing baked goods and candies that require little time and minimal ingredients, yet still pull out all the stops on the taste bud pleasing front. This classic 1950s vintage recipe for Chocolate Peanut Bark does just that and is really one of the quickest holiday dessert recipes you'll ever encounter.

{Even in the midst of the absolute busiest of holidays weeks, chances are you can find a few quick minutes to whip up this ultra straightforward, easy and thoroughly yummy 1950s recipe for Chocolate Peanut Bark, which I find has a tendency to vanish nearly as quickly as I can make it! Vintage recipe image source.}

Now, I want to point out of course that if you're serving or taking peanuts or foods containing peanuts or peanut butter with you anywhere, you will want to ensure as much as possible that no one there is allergic to peanuts. This can be a truly deadly food allergy and is not something to take lightly for one moment.

Though allergies to nuts (peanuts themselves, interestingly, are not actually nuts, but instead members of the legume family) certainly exist as well, they're less common and less likely to be potentially fatal when they do occur, so if you'd feel more comfortable creating this delicious vintage chocolate bark recipe with your favourite nuts, then certainly go for.

I'm partial to the following alternatives and combinations myself (I sometimes like to add in other ingredients on top of the mere two called for in the original recipe):

-White chocolate (instead of milk or dark) and dried cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apricots or other fruit

-Pretzels and cut up (store bought or homemade) caramels

-Crushed candy canes, peppermints, or other flavourful hard candies

-Almonds, dried bananas (banana chips), and a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt

-Candied citrus peel

-Pieces of Turkish delight candy

-Sunflower or pumpkin seeds

-Granola or breakfast cereals such as Rice Krispies or Cornflakes (my husband especially enjoys the latter)

-Cut up or mini Marshmallows (I like using the multi-coloured mini fruit variety from Kraft for this purpose)

-Graham crackers (combine them with marshmallows for a great s'mores inspired treat that makes for the perfect treat to savour in front of the fire)

-Toasted coconut (I love it with dried pineapple or mango and a sprinkling of Maldon salt for a great tropical inspired dessert)

-Instead of peanuts or other nuts, swirl peanut butter or your favourite nut or nut alternative butter through while the chocolate is still completely melted for a great marbled effect (you can also do this and still add in other ingredients, too)

-Crushed cookies or macarons (white chocolate and Oreos or similar sandwich cookies make for a fabulous cookies and cream bark)

-Dried figs, fresh thyme or rosemary and cashews

-Whole or chopped hazelnuts and pieces of hard toffee

-Fresh pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin or navel orange zest

-Raisins and oats (or brown rice porridge style flakes)

-Popcorn or kettle corn

-Maraschino cherries, pieces of ice cream cone, sprinkles and (optionally) peanuts or other nuts to create a seriously appealing ice cream sundae inspired bark

-Candied pecans and a sprinkling of dried (food grade) lavender

-M&Ms candies (use the red and green Christmas variety if possible, for an extra festive touch)

-Pieces of meringues, dried berries and the tiniest dash of crushed pink peppercorns

-For a great 1990s throwback to when this cookie was all the rage, use white chocolate and macadamia nuts

-Pop Rocks candy (this makes for a super fun New Year's Eve treat, as the "explosion" of the Pop Rocks on your tongue symbolizes celebratory fireworks)

-And if you're in the mood to be extra trendy, bacon - which I especially like with toffee or caramel bits


These are but a few delicious bark recipes that you could serve your guests and family alike, and/or bring as holiday gifts this month. Many, I find, also make for stellar Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween sweet treats as well, and can of course be served and enjoyed at any other time of the year (a tin of dried apple, cinnamon and toffee chocolate bark is one of my favourite autumn go-to homemade desserts and would make for an especially lovely teacher's gift come September).

There's just six more days to go until Christmas and if you suddenly need or simply want to add to your holiday table's spread or bring a thoughtful homemade gift with you wherever you're headed this season, you really can't go wrong with a fabulously easy, timelessly tasty candy like the vintage recipe and my alternative suggestions here. In fact, you could even skip the cookies this Christmas Eve and leave a much appreciated plate of chocolate bark out for Santa! :)


  1. They all sound yummy! The problem, though, is that I would eat it all. I may have a chocolate problem!

  2. Such good ideas to cook on this wonderful season! I'll definitely try the peanuts version, since I have a massive bag of them waiting for me and I didn't know what to do with them. Chocolate and peanuts are a winner for me! Thank you darling gal! :)

    Many hugs,

    1. That is such a tasty classic! I adore chocolates and peanuts (or peanut butter) together, too. If you haven't tried it before, I highly suggest swirling some peanut butter into your brownie or chocolate cupcake batter the next time you make them - a dollop is even nice in hot cocoa! :)

      Big hugs & tons of merry Christmas wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

  3. Just melted chocolate with bits in it... I don't see how that could ever be wrong! Love all your alternatives - I'd really enjoy the pretzel version I think, something about salt and chocolate together...

    Thank you for your amazing comment on my blog - I'm immensely touched whenever I get any comment, but yours never fail to make me smile. It's been great to get to know you too - you seem like such an inspiring person! A stylishly dressed one too, of course ;) hope you have an amazing Christmas too (it's so close now!) and I, for one, would love to see a bit of your inner goth girl come out. She might even provoke mine! CC x

    1. Ooohhh, well, if you insist...*runs and gleefully puts on all black* :D Seriously though, I've long learned to listen to my gut and if it's telling me to come over to the dark side (of the closet; of course the goth culture is so much more than just clothing, but objectively as with many subcultures, it is an important point), than listen I shall.

      You're very welcome and I truly meant it. I adore your blog as well as the caring, awesome comments you leave for me here. You're a ray of bright sunshine, honey, and a seriously lovely person on every level. I'm delighted that the web lead our paths to cross and hope we'll continue to be in connect here for years to come.

      Tons of hugs & the very happiest of holiday season wishes!
      ♥ Jessica

  4. I had no idea chocolate bark was so easy! I might have to bring that in for work next week, I know a lot of people who would love a little homemade treat. I love all the alternative ideas to it too. I'm thinking dark chocolate and candied ginger, but I'm not sure if I could keep myself for eating all of it if I did that!

  5. Christmas bark really does make such an easy gift for someone who you can't think of much for too! I know I will be giving some out this year!

  6. The ice cream sundae inspired one sounds marvelous! I think I'm going to have to give that one a try.

  7. Ive always enjoyed making chocolate bark and Ive never seen one lie this. And all those alternattions are great. My favorite chocolate bark is generally the Ina Garten version with ginger and dried cherries but I may give this a whirl

    retro rover

  8. I have a bag of chocolate bits in the pantry now. It seems like I can just clean my cabinet out of yummy things to throw in. Let's see, I have some hazelnuts and currants and...

    One thing I wanted to mention is that if you add ingredients that have water (like fresh or jarred fruit) to the melted chocolate, it will seize. I used to work for a chocolatier and even forgetting to dry the strawberries properly before dipping them ruined an entire bowl of chocolate. But you could probably blot the fruit very well and press it on top while the chocolate is still soft, or else fill little gem or mini muffin pans with chocolate and embed a fruit in it that way, like a cherry cordial.

  9. White chocolate and crushed peppermint…. yum! I whipped this up in like 10 minutes and it was so good! I love peppermint bark but sometimes it is really expensive in the store, so when I saw I recipe, I thought, "let's try white chocolate and peppermint"?!? This stuff is so easy to make that it is going to be a definite go to recipe when I need a quick something for company, a pot luck, or even a quick gift idea! Thanks sweetie for sharing!

  10. I like the sound of this for a quick and easy yet yummy gift so thanks for sharing. I don't like peanuts myself but many of those other flavour combinations made my mouth water.

    1. That's great to hear, sweet gal. There is an almost limitless number of directions you can take chocolate bark in. It's super versatile and is always a crowd please. I never take anything less than a double batch with me if I'm bringing it as a hostess gift or to add to a holiday table someone else's house, as I know it will be nibbled up by eager, hungry guests in a snap! :)

      Tons of hugs & happy holiday season cooking,
      ♥ Jessica

  11. This recipe is so easy it will almost feel like cheating when making it. And thank you SO much for your long list of alternatives. I will copy/paste it all and keep it in my collection. We hosted Christmas for my family, so we were 11 to celebrate and dance around the Christmas tree, which I truly love. Everyting went so well, DH is a master cook and we all love each other and had such a cozy and perfect evening. And Santa came, and he gave ME a present! I got so surprised! I got the big Estee Lauder beauty box filled with makeup goodies, and the train case itself is so pretty. I took all the decorations down yesterday, so now we are back to normal but I always have to get used to it. I just love Christmas. :)

    1. You're very welcome, sweet Sanne. I'm delighted to know that this easy-peasy holiday season recipe found favour with you. Christmassy though it is, you can just as easily make it anytime of the year, too. There are versions to suit every holiday, season and craving! :)

      Thank you for sharing about your holidays with me. They sound absolutely wonderful! Mine/our's have been very busy. With family gatherings and events to attend just about every day. It's taking its on me health wise, but I am enjoying it a great deal, too, and haven't pushed myself too hard (yet! ;)).

      Enjoy your awesome Christmas gifts! I've been using a small train case for my make-up for a few years now and doubt I'll ever use anything else but such cases. They're so, so much more durable and able to hold considerably more items than most bags.

      Tons of hugs & happy New Year's Eve wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

  12. This one does seem to be an easy recipe :)

    1. It truly is! I don't think you can get much simpler and still call it a recipe. :)

      ♥ Jessica