Chocolate Bark

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This easy sweet and salty milk chocolate bark is packed with caramel, peanuts and pretzels and tastes like the best candy bar ever! It’s perfect for gifting during the holiday season and just keeping around the house for sweet snacking.

overhead view of a plate of homemade chocolate bark topped with caramel, pretzels, and peanuts

Honestly, it’s shocking how close we are to Easter given it was just Christmas a little while ago! Not that I’m complaining, I love holidays and everything they bring – family, friends, dinners, parties, food, and of course, dessert.

At family gatherings, I’m usually tasked with bringing dessert. It’s kind of my thing. But do I always have time to prepare an elaborate dessert? Absolutely not.

Thankfully I have an arsenal of easy dessert recipes that are great for parties. Like these mini brownies, my kids’ favorite mini chocolate easter cupcakes, or these dark chocolate truffles with caramel that you can prepare WAY ahead of time and are always a hit. For me Easter means chocolate, so that’s the theme I tend to go with.

Working with chocolate is quick and fun, and you can get really creative! So, this year, I’ll be making something SUPER simple, but no less delicious: chocolate bark!

This version is made with milk chocolate, and packed with caramel, peanuts and pretzels. I tend to use dark chocolate a lot more often than milk, but I was really going for a classic candy bar effect here, and it works SO well.

closeup view of a plate of homemade chocolate bark

What to Know About Making Your Own Homemade Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark, if you’ve never made it, is probably one of the fastest and easiest sweet treats in world. You pour some melted chocolate in a thin layer, sprinkle it with your favorite toppings. Break it up into small pieces and you’re done. It is a simple recipe that requires minimal effort but always tastes great.

In my case, because working with chocolate is kind of my thing (I buy it in 11 lb blocks if that gives you an idea!), I went ahead and tempered the chocolate. Tempering ensures that when the chocolate sets after you’ve melted it, it will be shiny and snappy with no streaks of cocoa butter.

overhead view of broken up chocolate bark on a cutting board with pretzels, caramel, and peanuts

Although I will say that when it comes to chocolate bark, I consider tempering an optional step because it’s usually covered in so much stuff that you don’t see much of the chocolate surface anyway.

The vast majority of chocolate bark recipes I’ve seen don’t mention tempering at all. It’s really up to you, but in case you want to try it out, there are some pretty detailed instructions for the way I do it in this post: How to Temper Chocolate in the Microwave: The Ultimate Guide. It’s easy and definitely worth doing!

Ingredient Notes

Labeled ingredients for making milk chocolate bark.

Milk Chocolate

My very favorite chocolate to work with, for value and quality, is Callebaut, but feel free to use any high quality chocolate bar you can find. Lindt or Ghirardelli are good choices you can find in most grocery stores.

You can also use any kind of chocolate you like – semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate chips, any milk chocolate bars you fancy.

I tend not to use chocolate chips for making bark, since they don’t temper well, but if you don’t plan to temper your chocolate anyway, you absolutely can!

Caramel Candies

The very best caramels in my opinion are Werthers chewy caramels. These absolutely have the best flavor of any I’ve tried.

Heavy Cream

You just need a little bit of heavy cream for melting with the caramel candies to them easily drizzle-able.

Thin Pretzels

Thin pretzel sticks or “tiny twists” add the perfect saltiness and crunch to this chocolate bark. I’m partial to Rold Gold, but use your favorite.

Roasted Peanuts

I love roasted peanuts in this chocolate bark, and use the salted peanuts for even more of that sweet and salty effect – but you can add any kind of nuts you like. The choice of toppings is completely up to you and what you like!

Don’t forget to watch the video!

Most of my recipes include a short step-by-step video tutorial. Just scroll down to the recipe card, or use the “Jump to Video” button at the top of the post!

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Start by adding your 3/4 of your chopped milk chocolate bar to a microwave-safe bowl.
  1. Transfer the bowl to the microwave and melt the chocolate slowly in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is about 70% melted. Note that dark chocolate has a higher melting temperature and will take slightly more time to melt.
overhead view of melted chocolate with a spatula in a bowl
  1. Once the chocolate is 70% melted, add a handful of the remaining chopped chocolate and stir. Once that melts too, add more chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth and without any lumps. You can test the temper with a spoon at this point. Just dip the back of a metal spoon in the chocolate and set it down. If the chocolate sets with no streaks within about 7 minutes, it is in temper. If it hasn’t set at all, keep stirring and adding a little more chocolate until it does.
chopped chocolate added to the melted chocolate in a glass bowl
  1. Now take a rimmed baking sheet, and place a large sheet of parchment paper or a silicone mat on it. Pour the melted chocolate on the prepared sheet pan, and spread it in a single layer with an offset spatula to about 1/4 inch thick.
spreading melted chocolate on a silicone lined baking sheet with an offset spatula
  1. Once you’ve melted and tempered your chocolate, melt your caramels in the microwave with the cream in 15 second incremements. Stirring until smooth.
caramel candies with heavy cream in a small bowl
melted caramel in a small bowl
  1. Now here comes the fun part! Drizzle the caramel over the melted chocolate, working quickly as tempered chocolate can set pretty fast.
drizzling melted caramel over the spread out chocolate with a spoon
  1. Next, add pretzels on the top and sprinkle lots of roasted peanuts for some salty crunch.
thin pretzels added on top of the chocolate
roasted peanuts added on top of the chocolate bark
  1. Chill the chocolate bark in the refrigerator until firm and then freeze in for another 15 minutes. This hardens the caramel, which makes it easier to break into pieces.
  1. Using a large sharp knife, break the bark into uneven pieces. Your chocolate bark is ready to enjoy!
cutting chocolate bark into uneven pieces with a knife

Storage Instructions

Once your chocolate bark is set and you’ve broken it into small pieces, store it in airtight container. It will keep for at least a couple of weeks at room temperature.

If you did not temper the chocolate, it’s best stored in the refrigerator.

closeup of a plate of homemade chocolate bark topped with caramel, pretzels, and peanuts

Recipe Tips & Variations

This is a pretty easy recipe that you can make in different ways depending on what you have in the pantry and what time of the year it is!

Customize it for holiday season. Since it stays fresh for so long, it makes for a great gift for the holiday season. To give it a festive touch, top it with candy canes, or dried fruit and pistachios or pumpkin seeds.

closeup overhead view of a plate of chocolate bark with different toppings

Use your favorite chocolate. Any kind of chocolate works for this bark. You can also use two or three different chocolates to add some color. Make a dark chocolate bark and top it with some melted white chocolate chips for the perfect color swirl.

Use different toppings every time. Add different nuts and seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, goji berries, chopped peanut butter cups, basically anything you want. Experiment with different flavor combinations!

Is this chocolate bark recipe vegan?

This chocolate bark can be made vegan by using dairy-free chocolate and skipping the heavy cream in the caramel candies. Use a dairy-free alternative to make the caramel melty.

How can I gift this chocolate bark?

You can put pieces in a cute tin or a small glass jar, tie with a ribbon, and it will make for a perfect gift to brighten up anyone’s day!

Can this recipe be made without tempering chocolate?

Yes! The chocolate will be smoother, shinier, and snappier if it is tempered, but it isn’t mandatory for this recipe.

Tell me what you think!

If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!

closeup view of a plate of homemade chocolate bark

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Bark

This easy sweet and salty milk chocolate bark is packed with caramel, peanuts and pretzels and tastes like the best candy bar ever. It's a perfect treat for gifting and just keeping around the house for sweet snacking.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Ann Otis


  • 16 oz milk chocolate finely chopped
  • 4 oz chewy caramel candies unwrapped
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 oz thin pretzels about a half cup
  • 3 oz salted roasted peanuts about a half cup


  • Slowly melt 3/4 of the chopped chocolate in 15-30 second increments, stirring after each one, until it is about 70% melted.
  • Add in a handful of reserved chocolate and stir continuously until it is fully melted and the chocolate is smooth. Keep stirring and adding chocolate, a little at a time until the chocolate is cooled to just barely warm. The more the chocolate is agitated, the better it will set. Test the temper by dipping the back of a spoon and setting it down. If the chocolate sets within about 7 minutes and is shiny and streak-free, it's ready to go. If not, add a little more chocolate and keep stirring until it's ready.
  • Place a large sheet of wax or parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Pour the chocolate onto the paper, and using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread it out to about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Working fast because chocolate can set very quickly, gently heat the unwrapped caramels in a measuring cup or small bowl in the microwave, in 15 second increments. Add the heavy cream and stir until the caramel has a smooth and pourable consistency.
  • Drizzle the caramel onto the chocolate for a marbled effect. Immediately sprinkle the pretzels and peanuts evenly onto the whole thing. Press down gently on the toppings so they adhere well to the chocolate.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for about 15 minutes until the chocolate is set. 
  • Move to the freezer for an additional 15 minutes to harden the caramel. This will make it much easier to cut into pieces.
  • Remove from the freezer and, using a large kitchen knife, cut the bark into jagged, uneven pieces.



Once your chocolate bark is set and you’ve broken it into small pieces, store it in airtight container. It will keep for at least a couple of weeks at room temperature.
If you did not temper the chocolate, it’s best stored in the refrigerator.


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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