Pistachio Cranberry White Chocolate Bark, a silky layer of white chocolate studded with salty pistachio nuts and tart dried cranberries will make you feel like a rockstar in the kitchen. This candy bark is easy to make and nearly impossible to mess up. Plus the green pistachios and red cranberries scream Christmas!
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Everyone likes bark during the holidays. It's a nice break from all the cookies (what?) and since this particular holiday candy recipe is laden with pistachios and dried fruit, you're getting a side dish of protein and fruit with it.
This is an Ina Garden recipe that I've tweaked slightly. She uses dried apricots, which I didn't have. I did have dried mango but I was thinking mango and cranberries might not get along.
- Shelled, salted pistachios
- Dried cranberries
- White chocolate disks or chips
See recipe card for quantities.
Hint: If you don't have a double boiler and don't want to jerryrig one, you can melt the white chocolate in a microwave. However, white chocolate burns easily and all microwaves vary in power. If you're going to use a microwave, be sure to do so in ten to 15 second increments, stirring the white chocolate thoroughly in between heating sessions.
- White chocolate: substitute milk or dark chocolate
- Pistachios: you can use any other salted nut here, such as pecans, cashews, or peanuts if you’re using a larger nut or a harder nut, like a hazelnut, I would chop the nuts a bit into smaller pieces.
- Dried Cranberries: substitute any dried fruit such as dried cherries. If you’re going to use a larger fruit, like apricot or mango, chop the fruit into smaller pieces before using.
You could also forget the dried fruits and nuts and swap out those for bite-size candy like M&M's or crushed cookie pieces or pretzels. Just use an equal measure for each.
- Double Boiler or large heat safe bowl resting on top of a stock pot
- Quarter sheet pan (a quarter sheet pan is 12.8 by 9.5 so if you don't have one of these, you can use a 13x9 baking pan instead. Your bark will just be a bit thinner.
- Parchment paper
A double boiler really isn't necessary. Create your own using the equipment you already have or heat the melt chocolate slowly in a microwave.
I use a large glass mixing bowl and rest it over a stock pot. Make sure the bowl rests over the pot and not down inside the pot. You don't want any water to touch the bowl.
While we're talking about water, you want to be sure that the equipment you use to melt the chocolate--whether double boiler or in the microwave--is completely dry and scrupulously clean.
A drop of water or a pinpoint of dirt or grease can cause your chocolate to seize and harden.
What Happens When Chocolate Seizes?
When chocolate seizes, it becomes lumpy and grainy.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, if even a tiny amount of moisture is introduced while you're melting chocolate, "the liquid and the sugar will form a syrup to which the cocoa particles will cling, thereby creating grainy clumps. How much liquid it actually takes to trigger this reaction depends mostly on the amount of chocolate and its sugar content."
Storage Tips for White Chocolate Bark
Store Christmas bark in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Or freeze white chocolate bark for up to six months.
Moisture is the enemy of chocolate so be sure you've wrapped the bark well.
Wrap white chocolate bark in wax paper then plastic wrap then tuck the wrapped bark into an airtight container before freezing.
Melt the white chocolate low and slow to avoid burning it.
Use a decent white chocolate. If budget is a concern, almond bark will work but try to get the best white chocolate you can. I used Ghirardelli for this bark and it was good but I wish I'd used a fancier brand like Callebaut.
No. Almond bark is vegetable fat, imitation vanilla flavoring and sugar. White chocolate, which incidentally doesn't contain chocolate, consists of cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar.
You can store bark for up to a week at room temperature in an airtight container. Or store white chocolate bark in the freezer for up to six months. Be sure to wrap the bark well and store in an airtight container.
Yes, you can make chocolate bark ahead and freeze it, tightly wrapped, for up to six months. Let thaw in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature.
Pistachio Cranberry White Chocolate Bark
- double boiler
- offset spatula
- rubber spatula
- quarter sheet pan
- parchment paper
- 16 ounces white chocolate can substitute almond bark
- ½ cup shelled, salted pistachio nuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Measure ingredients, white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries
- Prepare quarter baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper
- If using a double boiler, put an inch or two of water in the bottom pan and bring it to a low boil. Put pan on top and add white chocolate disks or chips.
- Making sure that no water or moisture gets into the top pan or bowl holding the chocolate, stir the white chocolate with a clean, dry spatula every few minutes until the chocolate has completely melted. The white chocolate will look totally smooth with no lumps and glossy.
- If using a microwave to melt the chocolate, put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in short bursts--10 to 15 second increments--stirring in between so that the chocolate doesn't overheat and burn. White chocolate burns very easily.
- Carefully, using potholders to protect your hands, pour white chocolate onto a parchment-lined quarter baking sheet.
- Smooth white chocolate in an even layer using an offset spatula or a rubber spatula.
- Working quickly (this is why you have your nuts and berries already measured and ready to go) sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries evenly over the white chocolate.
- Using your fingers, lightly press the nuts and cranberries down into the layer of white chocolate to get good contact so you don't have any loose ingredients falling out of the bark.
- Let rest for two hours until set. Or place in freezer for 30 minutes to set.
- Break bark into pieces (about 16)using a bench scraper or a knife or your paws.
- Package in an airtight container or in cellophone bags, if using for gifts.
Tell me what you're baking this season.