Cookies ‘N Cream Bark Recipe

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When the holidays swing around, I love to gift homemade things, but sometimes…not everyone wants that knit scarf you spent hours making. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make your beloved craft gifts, I’m just saying…you know there are some people who will appreciate the hours you spent knitting and there are others who won’t appreciate your gift as much. Crafty people, you feel me right?

In addition to different levels of appreciation, there’s also the time factor. With many handmade gifts requiring hours of your attention, there’s truly only so many handmade gifts you can make every season.

Well home-made-gift-loving-friends, I have a solution for you with this Cookies ‘N Cream Bark Recipe.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

It’s CANDY! Homemade candy, that is.

Everyone loves candy, right? Ok, if you want to get technical, not eeeeeeveryone loves candy, but I find most people do. :)

Anywho, this homemade candy would be a fabulous gift to give any time of year, but I’m gifting mine away for Christmas 2010.

If my pink salted caramels seemed too daunting for you, I have an even easier solution. This candy is practically no-cook. This candy is…Bark. All you really need to do to make bark is melt some chocolate and mix/sprinkle in cookies, nuts, or candy. Wait. Break. Package. Seriously…it’s a no brainer. Not only is bark easy to make, but it looks fancy, too, so you’ll get major brownie points for putting this simple candy together.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to make Cookies ‘N Cream bark.

Cookies ‘N Cream Bark Recipe

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

To make Cookies ‘N Cream bark, you’ll need white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and cream-filled chocolate cookies. You can use Oreos, but I like Newman’s Own Newman-O’s for the more natural ingredient list.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small bags (11 oz each) of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet morsels
  • 14-16 cream-filled chocolate cookies (depending on how cookie-ish you want your bark – I used 16)
  • wax paper

Directions:

I decided to go visual, but there’s a printable version of the recipe at the end of this post, along with a link to a cute packaging tutorial if you’re gifting this yummy bark for the holidays.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Place your white chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium (or medium low depending on your stove…just hot enough to melt the chocolate) to get the chips melting. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me), use a heat safe bowl over a pot filled with roughly enough water to fill the pot 1 inch up the side. The amount of water you need will vary depending on your bowl and pot, but basically, you want enough water so it doesn’t boil away but you don’t want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.

Repeat with the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a separate double-boiler (or pot set-up as described above).

If you don’t have a double boiler or pot set-up, you can place the chips in separate microwave safe bowls and heat at 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, until the chocolate is melted.

(Bottom line, you’re trying to melt the chocolate in two separate containers.)

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Meanwhile, get your cookies out.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Place them in a large, sealed plastic bag (try to get the extra air out before sealing). Gently tap the cookies with a rolling pin or back of a large spoon…whatever you need to break the cookies into smaller pieces.

*Options step – Stir half your broken cookie pieces into the white chocolate before moving to the next step. Having made this now and seen a lot of the cookie pieces fall off when you just sprinkle them on top, I recommend this step, but you will not see stirred in cookies in the photos*

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

When the white chocolate is melted, pour it into a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Note: Depending on the size of your sheets, you may need to use one or two. (I used 2)

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

With the back of a spatula, spread the chocolate out to an even layer – about 1/4 inch high or to your thickness preference.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate on top of the white chocolate and use a tooth pick to draw swirls in the chocolate, careful to not catch the wax paper below.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle broken cookies (or remaining cookie pieces if you went with the optional step above) over the chocolate and gently press into the chocolate.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Wait at least 1 hour with bark at room temperature. When bark is set, break into small pieces.

And you’re done. See…I told you that was easy.

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

Now go ahead and do a little taste test before packaging to give to your friends and family. ;) You deserve it!

Cookies 'N Cream Bark Recipe

As I alluded to on my pink salted caramel post, I have a simple and beautiful packaging idea for you that I’ll be sharing shortly. Stay tuned for details, but here’s a photo preview for you lovely readers! Click here for an easy DIY holiday mason jar decoration tutorial.

Cheers! :)

Oh, and here’s the printable version of this Cookies ‘N Cream Bark recipe:

 

Cookies ‘N Cream Bark Recipe
 
Cook time
Total time
 
This Cookies ‘N Cream Bark Recipe couldn’t be simpler. It makes for a great homemade holiday gift idea or dessert for a pot luck! This dessert whips up in a jiffy – only about 10 minutes. The hard/slow part is waiting for it to set! Be sure to check out the link at the end of the post for a cute packaging tutorial.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • wax paper
  • 2 11-ounce bags white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet morsels
  • 14-16 cream-filled chocolate cookies (depending on how cookie-ish you want your bark – I used 16)
Instructions
  1. Cover 1-2 baking sheets with wax paper. The number of sheets needed will depend on the size of your sheets. I used 2.
  2. Place your white chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium (or medium low depending on your stove…just hot enough to melt the chocolate) to get the chips melting. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me), use a heat safe bowl over a pot filled with roughly enough water to fill the pot 1 inch up the side. Note: The amount of water you need will vary depending on your bowl and pot, but basically, you want enough water so it doesn’t boil away but you don’t want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.
  3. Repeat with the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a separate double-boiler (or pot set-up as described above).
  4. Meanwhile, get your cookies out. Place them in a large, sealed plastic bag (try to get the extra air out before sealing). Gently tap the cookies with a rolling pin or back of a large spoon…whatever you need to break the cookies into smaller pieces.
  5. *Optional step – Stir half your broken cookie pieces into the white chocolate before moving to the next step. Having made this now and seen a lot of the cookie pieces fall off when you just sprinkle them on top, I recommend this step, but you will not see stirred in cookies in the photos*
  6. When the white chocolate is melted, pour it the prepared baking sheet(s).
  7. With the back of a spatula, spread the chocolate out to an even layer – about ¼ inch high or to your thickness preference.
  8. Pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate on top of the white chocolate and use a tooth pick to draw swirls in the chocolate, careful to not catch the wax paper below.
  9. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle broken cookies (or remaining cookie pieces if you went with the optional step above) over the chocolate and gently press into the chocolate.
  10. Wait at least 1 hour with bark at room temperature. When bark is set, break into small pieces.
  11. And you’re done. See…I told you that was easy. Now go ahead and do a little taste test before packaging to give to your friends and family. ;) You deserve it!
Notes
Note: If you don’t have a double boiler or pot set-up, you can place the chips in separate microwave safe bowls and heat at 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, until the chocolate is melted.
(Bottom line, you’re trying to melt the chocolate in two separate containers.)

PS This bark is not only great for gifts, but also to serve at a dinner party or to take to pot lucks and other food-sharing parties.

I can’t wait to experiment with this bark recipe and try some new flavors! What’s your favorite type of bark?

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe

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When I first heard about salted caramel candies, I thought it sounded totally gross. I know people love the whole savory-sweet thing (myself included on a rare occasion), but I wasn’t getting why people would put straight up salt on a piece of candy. Maple syrup on sausages…okay. But salt and basically sugar together in one bite? As it turns out, I’m a fan and making this Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe was pretty simple and definitely tasty!

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Of course, it wasn’t long before I had caught on to the salted caramel trend. One bite and I was sold. Popular eats are typically not popular without reason, so I quickly caught onto what everyone was raving about. I found the strangely delicious combo of salted caramel heavenly. So unexpected…so divine.

It was no wonder that when I decided to jump into the wild world of candy making that salted caramels were my first choice.

I tried this recipe by The Kitchn and had pretty good success at my first attempt. The second however, did not go as planned, though I don’t blame the recipe…I now blame my candy thermometer. See, after my second batch came out rock hard, I googled to find the reason for my botched caramel attempt. Most suggestions mentioned something about cooking too long or to too hot a temperature, but I knew I had very closely monitored my temp, so it must have been something else.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

When I stumbled upon a tip to check the calibration of my thermometer, I thought it was a waste of time. But since I didn’t know what else was wrong with my botched caramel making attempt from before, I decided to give it a go before trying my third batch. To my surprise, the candy thermometer I was using read 175 degrees F in boiling water while my instant read thermometer read a closer to correct 211 degrees F. No wonder my second batch came out so wrong! I can’t believe I got something usable out of the first batch!

With a reliable in thermometer on hand, I decided to try out homemade caramel candies again…this time making up my own recipe based on internet research and the proportions of this recipe.

See, when I was researching, I found many instances of caramel recipes that threw all ingredients into a single pot, unlike the 2 The Kitchn recipe used. Since I’m not a fan of cleaning extra pots, I decided to go with that method. I still wanted to keep the size to something I could put in an 8×8 casserole dish, thus the proportions I utilized. I also found differences in final cooking temperature, but most varied between 245 and 250. I decided to play it safe and stick with 245 so I didn’t experience slab-o-caramel again. The recipes varied quite a bit with types of creams, fats, and sugars, but I decided to stick with the ingredients that seemed most traditional and simple. After all my research, I was extra comfortable embarking on a third caramel candy making adventure. :)

Here’s what I did…

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

I lined my 8×8 dish with parchment paper. Be sure to line up both sides using 2 sheets of parchment. If you don’t (and I made this mistake on my first attempt), the caramel will be extremely difficult to remove from the sides of the pan. Don’t skip this step.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

This recipe is simplified to allow you to put all ingredients into a pot at the same time.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

When the mixture boils, it will rise quite a bit. Use a pot that is at least 2 times as large as your liquids, but more like 3 will be safer. The temperature will most likely waver around 222 for quite some time, but I found when it started raising in temperature, especially closer to the end of the cooking time, the temperature jumped faster and faster! Watch your candy thermometer!

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Once the mixture reaches 245 degrees F (using your calibrated thermometer), remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Then, pour into your baking dish. Cross fingers and hope for the best.

Let it rest at room temperature for 3 hours.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

After patiently waiting, remove your caramel candy from the baking dish and cut into small pieces. Most recipes recommended 1 inch pieces, but I found a slightly smaller cut to be easier to eat and yields more servings.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

I used pink salt because I thought it looked the prettiest. It also reminded me a bit of the candy I reviewed from Theo awhile back. But you can use almost any salt you want, just be careful of the flavored ones. Dean and Deluca had quite a few options but most grocery stores will at least have a coarse fleur-de-sel type of salt, which is what you want (not table salt).

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Sprinkle the tops of the caramel with a bit of salt and press salt gently into the tops.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

You can put the candies into individual paper cups or wrap them in small pieces of wax paper.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

I liked the wax paper because it was easier to package.

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe
 
These chewy caramels are easy and a great first-candy-making experience. They also make a great gift. Wow your friends by using a fancy salt and labeling your candy so it sounds extra chic. Inspired by this recipe by Live Laugh Eat who adapted it from this recipe.
See photos and notes above for some helpful tips.
*Vegetarian*
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) cut into 1 tbsp pieces
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • coarse salt like pink salt or fleur-de-sel for topping caramels
Instructions
  1. Prepare an 8×8 casserole dish with parchment paper, ensuring to cover up the sides of all 4 sides (see photo above), using 2 sheets of parchment paper criss-crossed.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients (heavy cream through table salt) in a medium pot (should be about 2 to 3 times as large as your total ingredients because the mixture will grow as you cook it). Insert candy thermometer into mixture (I believe you want to avoid allowing the tip of the thermometer from touching the bottom of the pot). Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to ensure sugar crystals dissolve completely.
  3. Once mixture reaches a boil, turn heat down to medium and do not stir any further. Instead, use handle to gently swirl mixture in pot occasionally. Cook mixture until it reaches 245 degrees F (roughly 20-30 minutes, but it will depend on your stove heat and vary quite a bit). Monitor your temperature closely, especially towards the end of cooking.
  4. Once the mixture reaches 245 degrees F, remove the pot from heat, gently stir in the vanilla and then pour mixture into your prepared baking dish.
  5. Cool at room temperature for 3 hours or until set.
  6. Cut into small pieces (I cut mine into just under 1 inch pieces, about ⅔ inch – I eye-balled the sizes).
  7. Sprinkle tops of caramels with pink salt of fleur de sel. Gently press salt into the tops of the caramels.
  8. Place candies into individual paper cups or wrap in small pieces of wax paper.
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
Be sure to read the blog post and check out the photos for additional tips.

 

Handmade caramels make a wonderful gift any time of year!

***

Pinterest review:

Pinterest Pin of Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Pin by Jacqueline

Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe #dessert #candy #recipe #homemade #homemadegift #holiday

Check out my Cookies ‘n Cream Bark Recipe and a fun holiday packaging idea with mason jars! Hope you enjoy the Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe.

Do you like salted caramels? Any other savory-sweet combos?

Busy Free Days

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Well, so far my vacation hasn’t gone exactly as planned. I had envisioned lazy days of care-free baking and cooking, blogging and crafting, and QT with hubby and Bailey. Instead, I’ve been pretty darn busy! But it’s been good busy, so I’m ok with it.

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I woke up before hubby today and decided to make him breakfast in bed – just a fried egg with some Virginia rolls, coffee, and a banana.

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I had the same…

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…but with a drizzle of honey on my rolls. I re-baked the rolls by the way. I just put them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes for that fresh-baked taste. They weren’t quite as all-around soft, but the insides were still super tender.

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Bailey has been just as lounge-y as usual.

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He just loves hanging out on the couch during the day.

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I had a business lunch today over delish Thai food at the Thai House in Gastonia, NC.

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I normally stick with noodle stir fry dishes when I get Thai but today, my friend Angie recommended red curry, which was funny because I was thinking I’d like to try a curry before we met up. Red curry it was! And red curry = super tasty! Just in case you’re wondering. I think it was like spicy like Indian with coconut milk. I’ll definitely be getting this one again!

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I did manage to squeeze in two handmade projects today…

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First, I made caramels again. Last time they came out rock hard, but this time they came out super tender! Woohoo!

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I also made some cookies and cream bark. It’s soooo sweet! Phew!

More on my handmade candy adventures tomorrow with how-tos!! Plus I still owe you guys my slow cooker chili recipe…it’s a winner!

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Hubby and I had a groupon to local restaurant Dandelion Market, which expires in January. Since we’ll be doing Eat in Month again, we knew we had to use it by the end of this month. I actually had a bloggie outing at DM awhile back – click to view.

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I had wine to drink.

We also ordered a few tapas…

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Cheese fondue. I remembered this as being wonderful from our last trip.

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fried pickles – nice and crunchy and chip-shaped!

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everything but the bun – a play on hamburgers.

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More melty cheese!

We loved this one – I think we’ll try to re-create it at a dinner party or something. It was so fun!

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Plus the chocolate chip cake. For some reason, I was expecting something more like a chocolate chip cookie dough pie, but this was still tasty.

***

After dinner, hubby and I got the last of our Christmas presents at Barnes and Noble and then came home to wrap all our presents. I have 1 gift left to package. Hubby’s turned the lights off and headed to bed, and I’m off to get some zzzs myself.

Well folks…tonight marks 2 nights in a row of my vacay that I’m blogging at almost 1am. Whoops! One of these days I’ll catch up on things. I remember reading awhile back in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff that when you die your inbox won’t be empty. The point is that you’ll always have something to do, so there’s no need to try to reach a point in your life when you’re done with everything. I think that makes sense. But, I do think I’d like to get more organized and do a better job of adding me-time in my day-to-day activities.

How much “me time” do you give yourself? Do you find it gets cut back during the holidays?

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