Look no further for a giftable, homemade alternative to popular holiday obsession Cranberry Bliss Bars. With only three ingredients, White Chocolate Bark with Macadamia and Cranberries is super easy to make. This salty-sweet combo of creamy white chocolate, crunchy macadamia nuts, and tangy dried cranberries is as pretty as it is tasty.
It’s grossly unfair that the most joyful time of the year is also the most stressful. For years I struggled to find the perfect gift for everyone and overthought everything.
What if my son’s teacher has a nut allergy?
Great-Aunt Donna is going to be unnecessarily judgy no matter what I buy, but I’m still going to spend way too much money on something she’ll regift (probably to me on my birthday).
Does Mrs. Porter next door even like flowers since her garden looks like trolls live in it?
What if my yoga teacher / mail carrier / nail tech / workplace nemesis unexpectedly gives me something? Do I have a non-descript, but seemingly thoughtful, gift for such an occasion?
It wasn’t until a neighbor dropped off a plate of gingersnaps early one December that it dawned on me I was doing this all wrong. Here was a simple kindness with a 100% success rate.
A polite and (holiday) spirited gesture was made. It probably cost a fraction of whatever scented candle I was mulling over. The ratio of time to make vs. joyful impact of homemade treats is off the charts. And even if I personally didn’t like gingersnaps (which I do, so hands off), chances are someone else in the house does or (and this is the shady part) they also could function as a regift or a potluck/party offering. (Shut up. We’ve all done it…)
I scrapped my list of “seemingly thoughtful” gifts and started making my own that very year. And you know what? It. Works. Every. Time. I make 3-5 simple, giftable treats, like this White Chocolate Bark; wrap ‘em up real purdy in jaunty packaging I score during post-holiday sales; and then sling these puppies around my local haunts like a magic Christmas elf.
Not all heroes wear capes – some just bring dessert.
Melting white chocolate
White chocolate can be melted using a double boiler or in the microwave. Because it seizes much more easily in the microwave, I always melt white chocolate in a double-boiler, but I’ll give you instructions for both.
In the microwave: if using bars, break the chocolate into small 1″ pieces. Heat in the microwave on 50% power in 20-second intervals. Stir very thoroughly after each addition. The first couple of stirs will be very gummy and it won’t appear as though the chocolate is melting, but then it will start to melt all at once. Microwave until some chocolate chunks are still visible, then stir, stir, stir until the residual heat melts all the chocolate.
Double-boiler: fit a glass or metal bowl over a pot filled with 1” simmering water. Make certain the bottom of the bowl isn’t in contact with the water – it should be heated by the steam coming off the simmering water. If using bars, break the chocolate into small 1″ pieces. Add the chocolate to the metal bowl and heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula until just barely melted.
Tips for perfect white chocolate bark
- Use good quality white chocolate, not white baking chips for candy molds. We like Lindt classic white.
- Stir most of the nuts and dried fruit into the chocolate.
- Do reserve some toppings to sprinkle over the top for a pretty finish.
- Cool at room temperature to prevent blooming.
- A sprinkle of flaky sea salt really elevates each bite.
Cooling and storing white chocolate bark
Cooling your chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer can lead to sweating (which causes blooming) and cracking if optimal humidity isn’t met. It’s better to just be patient and let it come down and set at room temperature.
Store finished bark in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the fridge for up to 1 month. Pro tip: fold a piece of paper towel on top to catch any moisture.
Make it your way
White chocolate and macadamia nuts are a classic combination, but this bark recipe is completely adaptable to what you have on hand and what you love:
- Substitute the macadamia nuts for pistachios for a festive red and green touch.
- Or, use any roasted salted nuts that you have and love – we like almonds, cashews, and peanuts.
- Substitute the cranberries for dried cherries.
- Feel free to add more nuts and fruit for a chunkier bark – up to 1/2 c each.
More homemade edible gifts
- Soft + Chewy Salted Caramels
- Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts
- Swirled Chocolate Bark with Cherries and Pistachios
- Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce
- Gingerbread Spiced Nuts
- Italian Butter Cookies
Did you make this white chocolate bark? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 1 pound high quality white chocolate, 4-5 bars, chopped into 1” pieces
- ⅓ c + 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- ⅓ c + 1 tbsp chopped roasted macadamia nuts
- 1 tsp maldon sea salt, optional
- Line a baking sheet or a 9x13” casserole dish with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate using the double-boiler method. Position a metal bowl atop a pot filled with 1” simmering water - make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t in contact with the water, but instead heating by the steam coming off the water. Add the chocolate to the bowl. Heat in the double boiler, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until just barely melted.
- Reserve 1 tbsp each cranberries and macadamia nuts. Add the remaining dried fruit and nuts to the melted chocolate and stir until evenly distributed.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared baking dish, then smooth into an even layer that’s roughly ¼” thick. Sprinkle the reserved nuts and dried fruit over the bark, then sprinkle the salt evenly over the top.
- Allow the chocolate to cool and harden at room temperature, then break into chunks and store in an airtight container. Bark will keep at room temperature for up to a week, or in the fridge for up to 1 month.