“If you are ghoulish and ghostly wherever you’re seen, you’re sure to have such a wonderful Halloween!”
-from a vintage Halloween card
Halloween is just around the corner and as my close peeps all know, now is when my personality turns into a kind of domesticated Morticia Addams: I start feeling compelled to bake lots of witch shaped cookies and skull shaped cakes. As the fall leaves begin their glorious color show and the sky goes black before dinner is on the table, I inevitably begin to itch for a Halloween project or three to sink my fangs in to. As I confessed last year in my Trick or Treats post, once Halloween is near overwhelming creative instincts invade my body. Suddenly I can’t drive past shops like the Tinsel Trading store without repeatedly stopping in to stalk the seasonal goods aisles and scan the shelves for Halloween project ideas and supplies.
This year, I decided to create yet another version of homemade candy bark, a concept in which I’ve previously dabbled. If you are as obsessed with edible bark as I am, here’s your chance to try making some in your own laboratory. Instead of doling out the usual prepackaged varietals this year, why not treat your goblins big and small to a tasty homemade treat. What could be more unique and deliciously fun than homemade chunks of Zombie Bark on October 31st?
All good Ghouls get their supplies together first (you can pretty much get everything at Target and JoAnn’s):
- a clean medium sized cookie sheet
- parchment paper- I like Reynolds wrap precut version available at Target
- 2 bars of Ghirardelli white chocolate, also at Target
- 1 ½ bags of Wilton’s Candy Melts (I chose Lavendar with vanilla flavoring) available at Joann’s
- Bag of Brach’s Mini Candy Corn
- Snyders of Hannover pretzels
- Wilton Spooky Shapes insect, skull, bat and ghost sprinkles from Joann’s
- Packs of Wilton’s candy eyeballs (get both sizes big and small)
- Orange black and white jimmies
- Wilton Treatology Vanilla Custard flavoring (optional)
Line your cookie sheet with the parchment paper and set aside. Next, in a double boiler on your stovetop, melt down the Ghirardelli white chocolate bars on medium low heat. Watch the heat carefully while you intermittently stir the pieces, as chocolate can scald quite easily. Once the mixture is smooth and completely melted, take it off the stove and spread it into your cookie sheet. After all the white chocolate has been smoothed onto the surface, place the cookie sheet in your freezer for at least 20 minutes.
While your white chocolate is setting in the freezer, clean your boiler pan out so it’s ready for melting the purple candy. Also, make sure your bark toppings are close at hand so you can sprinkle them onto the second layer’s melted surface as soon as its ready.
Place the purple candy into your boiler pan and once again carefully heat until melted. I also added additional vanilla flavoring drops at this point in the process, as the flavor of the candy by itself was okay but not as rich as it tastes after the added boost. Once candy is done and ready to spread, pour it out on top of the white chocolate and smooth it evenly over the its entire surface.
Now it’s time to decorate the surface of your bark before the candy starts to harden. Start sprinkling your items around as you see fit. I find it’s easier to start decorating with the larger pieces first and then fill in with the smaller ones afterwards. I also stop sprinkling a few minutes in and evaluate how evenly the new items are falling, to see if I should place any piece in particular by hand to strategically fill in the holes. Once you’re done distributing the finishing accents, place your cookie sheet back in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.
After the bark is hardened you are ready for its final prep steps. Wow- the finished product is so colorfully vibrant it practically seems to be breathing! I almost don’t want to disfigure my spooky handiwork, but the destiny of every batch of candy bark is to fall victim to a hammer or blade, even during the cheeriest of seasons. The next step is to attack like a Friday the 13th slasher and break this baby to bits.
Get your largest kitchen knife, remove the candy bark from the cookie sheet, and begin stabbing away at the finished product. Simply force the point of the knife down into the slab and it will crack apart into smaller pieces. Keep slashing until you are satisfied that your zombie bark chunks are sized just the way you’d like them.
Bark treats are done- now its all about the presentation. You can either serve in a Halloween themed bowl or plate, or you can package up individual portions in a clear treat bag and tie it off with festive ribbon (I also added a spider ring to the top of mine that I found in a pack of Halloween party favors at Target). No matter the package it comes in, I’m betting that the ghosts and gremlins in your life will keep coming back for more. Wishing you a night full of frights and a bag of yummy delights!
©2018 Lisa Ihnken All Rights Reserved