Easter Extravaganza Bark

I think it’s safe to say that treat-wise, Easter is my best-loved time of year. The endless chocolate, the bunnies of all shapes and sizes, pastel marshmallows, Peeps, candy-coated eggs, cream-filled eggs, pastel everything, sprinkles and more–all of the flavours and colours make me giddy. I’ve seen some pretty colourful Easter Candy Bark on Pinterest, but I decided to create my own version and go a little crazy with the toppings. There’s something so delightful about full, but small, peanut-butter filled bunnies, bunny marshmallow and peeps bound to swirls of Callebaut Dark Chocolate 53.8% along with Callebaut white chocolate, and then surrounded by a flurry of mini treats and sprinkles. I incorporated Rice Krispies into the bottom layer of the bark because those crispy chocolate bunnies were my favourite as a little girl, and I’d say even still.

And while I think it makes perfect sense to use leftover Easter candy, I can’t help but feel that this sort of treat is so much more appealing right before or during Easter time. I just feel that it’s kind of the last thing people want to see after a few days of indulging in all things Easter, you know? And since it takes almost no time at all, it’s a simple way to bring the unexpected to Easter celebrations without spending hours in the kitchen (you know, I’d never recommend that . . . ahem. #letsmaketoweringcakes).

I also think this would be such a great addition to any Easter basket–my girls’ eyes were as big as saucers when they came home and saw this Easter sugar explosion in the kitchen. And why not include your cakelets and make it an Easter weekend activity–you layer the chocolate, and let them do all of the toppings? Or even let them come shopping and decide what’s going to land upon the sea of chocolate bark themselves.

So when I decided to create this Easter Extravaganza Bark, I headed for the Easter section of Target for inspiration and to pick up an array of toppings, and then I tied that in with some of the sprinkles and sugar decorations I had here at home. I went with a few Marshmallow Peeps 60th Anniversary Vanilla Creme marshmallows (these are amazing, and I fear only around for a short time), Wilton Silhouette Bunny Icing DecorationsReese’s Easter Mini Peanut Butter Reester BunniesM&M’s White Chocolate Easter CandyCadbury Mini EggsDare Marshmallow Rabbits, and then just some white sugar pearls, pink nonpareils and jimmies.

Afterwards, I realized that I had wanted to use my all-time favourite Easter candy: Whoppers Easter Mini Robin Eggs. I love the speckled candy coating and I’m a Whopper (similar to Maltesers) fanatic. Forgetting to include them may have had something to do with the fact that the almost-empty bag was in my, um, purse. While I usually resist most candy on daily basis, I cannot resist anything malted-milk related. I’m going to make another batch and include those along with a few jelly beans and mini cream eggs. Oh yes.

When I make bark of any kind, I temper the chocolate. You’ll probably notice that in many bark recipes the instructions simply call for melting the chocolate and then storing the bark in the refrigerator. While this does work just fine, I tend to love to gift my bark, so I prefer to temper the chocolate first, which takes no extra time (when you do it the easy way, in the microwave) and gives the chocolate that gloss and snap we all love (I also much prefer to eat chocolate at room temperature). Once tempered, the bark can stay at room temperature and makes it a little prettier with its sheen and snap.

For the marbling, I tinted the Belgian white chocolate a pastel shade of teal (even pink or yellow would be amazing) using a bit of AmeriColor Flo-Coat mixed with AmeriColor turquoise gel paste (see Sweetapolita’s Notes), because while using colourful candy compound melts would be a fraction easier, I like to keep the quality of the bark the best it can be, since it’s all about the chocolate when it comes to bark. An alternative would be adding a few coloured candy melts to the white chocolate before melting/tempering for the same effect.

Since no two batches are ever the same, I’d love to see what Easter Extravaganza Bark creations you come up with! Share them on my Sweetapolita Facebook page or even send me a photo via email. I’d love to hear from you!

Easter Extravaganza Bark

Dark Belgian chocolate and Rice Krispie bark covered with swirled dark & white and topped with a medley of Easter chocolate, candy, sprinkles, marshmallows and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound plus 2 ounces (600 grams) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 2 cups (50 grams) Rice Krispies (or other puffed rice cereal)
  • 6 ounces (180 grams) best-quality white chocolate, chopped or callets
  • About 8 turquoise candy melts (such as Wilton brand), chopped, OR few drops AmeriColor Sky Blue gel paste colour plus Flo-Coat (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
  • Variety of Easter candy (such as mini filled chocolate bunnies, marshmallow bunnies, white chocolate m & m candy, candy-coated mini eggs, Peeps, etc.)
  • Sprinkles of choice

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat 10 ounces (300 grams) of the dark chocolate in 20-second bursts, stirring well after each interval, until the chocolate is almost melted but still has some solid pieces. Stop heating and stir until smooth--this can take a few moments (see Sweetapolita's Notes). Stir in the rice cereal until combined, and use a small offset palette knife to spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a very thin layer. Let sit until slightly firm, about 30 minutes. In the meanwhile, prepare your candy toppings (unwrap foil-covered chocolate, etc.).
  3. Using the same tempering method, heat the remaining dark chocolate and stir until smooth. Spread the chocolate overtop of the first layer. Temper the white chocolate (this only takes about 50-60 seconds), including the candy melts if using. If using gel paste to colour, combine the Flo-Coat and gel paste in a small bowl and stir into the tempered white chocolate. Pour the tempered and tinted white chocolate into a few lines across the dark chocolate, and swirl with a toothpick.
  4. While the dark and white chocolate are still soft, add all of your candy toppings. Let sit until completely set, about 2 hours, and then cut into wedges using a large, sharp knife. Store at room temperature.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • To learn about how to temper chocolate the “easy way,” in the microwave, check out these simple instructions from Callebaut. In addition to those steps, if you have a digital candy thermometer, just be sure that your dark chocolate never exceeds 32-33°C (90°F), and 30°C (86°F) for white or milk chocolate. If this does happen, simply add a handful of chocolate callets or chopped chocolate, and stir well to until smooth. Heat for a few seconds if necessary, but again not exceeding those ideal temperatures.
  • I use AmeriColor Flo-Coat when colouring white chocolate, which is a candy-oil used for making water-based gel-paste colours compatible with chocolate. If we add the gel-paste colours straight to the white chocolate, it causes it to seize. To use the Flo-Coat, mix 6 drops for every 1 drop of colour, and combine before adding to the tempered chocolate. For this recipe, I used 18 drops of Flo-Coat with 3 drops of AmeriColor Sky Blue gel paste. Alternatively, you can add a small handful of chopped coloured candy melts (such as Make & Mold or Wilton) to your white chocolate before melting, and that will tint your chocolate a pale turquoise.
  • As you’ve probably guessed, absolutely anything goes when it comes to what you add to this candy bark–jelly beans, malted milk eggs, mini creme eggs and so much more would be incredible additions!
  • Wrap a few slabs of bark in a crystal clear cellophane bag tied with some festive pastel ribbon for a whimsical addition to any Easter basket or for gifting.

Good luck & enjoy!

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Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

I think I’ve found my sugar & sprinkles soul sister recently. I really do. The funny thing is, I had popped by Jessica’s blog from time to time when I would spot her yummy treats linked by friends on twitter, but I didn’t really get a chance to sit down and really take a good long look through her recipes until this past week. That’s when I came across the sprinkled masterpiece of epic proportion: her cake batter chocolate bark. Much like Jessica, I wasn’t what I’d really consider a “bark person” until this recipe came along, but what’s so fabulous about it, aside from the obvious delightfulness, is that it took me 5 minutes active time to make this (and about 5 to eat it–whoops). That’s the incredible thing about this, and about bark recipes in general: you take existing chocolate (of any kind, but the better the chocolate, the better it will be, since it’s really the only ingredient), melt it down, spread it out, add some bits & bites of yumminess, set it, break it and . . . ta-da!

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

The possibilities are endless, which is why making your first batch of bark can be a wee bit dangerous. You may find yourself rummaging frantically through cupboards, pantries, and old handbags, looking for random candy bits, nuts, dried fruit, or pretty much anything tasty to create your next batch. It’s so fun, simple, quick, and rewarding, which is why I fear I’m hooked. If you don’t believe me, you can see what else Jessica has discovered, or what Naomi, Michelle, or Maria have to say about their experiences with bark. Go on, you’ll see.

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

My kind of party.

Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

Oh crumbs — it’s almost gone? How did that . . . who took my . . . where did the . . .

Who me?

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. There’s something seriously therapeutic about tossing handfuls of sprinkles onto shiny, gorgeous, silky melted quality chocolate. There may be something even more therapeutic about snapping off a rainbow-coloured piece of that same chocolate and tasting rich chocolate and crunchy bits of sprinkles all at once. I’m not sure life gets any better than that.

Why not make a batch of this, wrap it in a fun crystal clear cello bag and tie it with some fun polka dot ribbon for birthday party favours?

I’m off to whip up a collection of birthday cakes for a special friend this weekend, but I’ll be back very soon with that vanilla cake post I mentioned on Wednesday and then next week I’ll be celebrating my very 1st blogiversary!

If you haven’t had the joy of browsing Jessica’s heartfelt, humorous, and incredibly delicious blog how sweet it is before, I definitely recommend it. You will likely come across several other cake batter recipes–this girl can concoct some seriously decadent creations. Come to think of it, she and I could create some serious mischief together. We should get on that.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (180 grams) high quality dark or extra dark chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces (360 grams) high quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) white cake mix
  • sprinkles of choice (jimmies, non-pareils, Wilton gold edible star sprinkles, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Chop chocolate. Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. If using microwave, place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe container (I use a Pyrex glass measuring cup), and heat for 20 second intervals, stirring each time with a silicone spatula. Be careful not to burn the chocolate--when there are just a few small bits left un-melted, you can simply continue to stir until it is completely smooth.
  3. Pour melted dark chocolate onto your parchment/mat and spread (with a small offset spatula for ease) until desired thickness is achieved. Freeze for 20 minutes to set.
  4. Melt your white chocolate. Whisk in cake mix slowly, stirring well until smooth. Let it sit for approximately 3 minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens).
  5. Remove pan with set chocolate from the freezer and pour white chocolate on top, repeating the same spreading technique as you did with the dark chocolate. Toss sprinkles on right away. Freeze for 20 more minutes.
  6. Once set, break or cut into pieces. Store in the refrigerator.
  7. Try not to beat yourself up when you repeatedly sneak and snack on pieces every time you open the refrigerator for something else.
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*slightly adapted from how sweet it is “cake batter chocolate bark”

Good luck & enjoy!

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