I’m all about gifting consumables. Unless I know of something someone really wants (and needs), I’d rather send something edible, something delicious that can be enjoyed and be gone, rather than some random knick-knack that will just sit around collecting dust, held on to solely out of some form of sentiment and or fear of hurt feelings (dearest family, I will NOT be offended if you throw out that tacky painted rock paper weight I made you when I was 4).
Seriously though, how many of the gifts you receive just end up in a collection of clutter, the stuff stuffed in closets and drawers, the floaters that never seem to find their place? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
In that regard… I propose food gifts for all: eat, enjoy, and be done with them merry!
Maybe you forgot that party you’re going to tomorrow night, and would hate to show up empty handed. Or maybe your new neighbors showed up with a token of holiday cheer and you were caught unprepared, stammering in the doorway without something to give them back (that’s the worst feeling).
This decadent peanut butter cup chocolate bark would make an amazing last minute holiday gift. With only 3 ingredients (chocolate, peanut butter chips, and mini peanut butter cups) and about 20 minutes of your time, you’ll have shards of gorgeously swirled peanut butter bark to give to anyone and everyone (just don’t forget to save some for yourself!) Even better, make a batch of this and a batch of the fruity version, and you’ll become that gourmet friend with the fancy chocolate. And we all know EVERYONE wants to be friends with that person.
These gorgeous swirls come from the simple act of running a toothpick or skewer through the multiple colors of chocolate in a circular motion. I promise you, it’s way easier than you think. It only looks complicated.
Note that if you melt the chocolate too quickly, it will lose its temper (angry chocolate bark, arghhh) and the bark will need to be refrigerated. But, if you can manage to keep the chocolate under 88 degrees as it melts it should hold its original crystal structure, and your bark will be shiny and snappy as can be (see this video on America’s Test Kitchen for more information on chocolate tempering and how/why it works). I absolutely adore this little chocolate melter – the ‘warm’ setting keeps the chocolate almost perfectly tempered.
The beauty of chocolate bark lies in its imperfections. In fact, I’d argue that chocolate bark looks really weird when cut into perfectly symmetrical squares. Break it up, let the natural granulation in the chocolate determine the size and shape of the pieces: that’s the beauty of bark. It’s much prettier than it’s name implies (seriously? bark? can’t we find another name for it, already? It deserves that much, at least.)
If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they have all the ingredients you need. I used their Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate bar for the base, peanut butter chips, and their entirely addictive mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups on top. Reese’s brand peanut butter chips work great as well, but I usually recommend adding a tablespoon or so of unflavored vegetable shortening to smooth it out.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bark
This easy, 3-ingredient recipe is the ultimate treat for chocolate and peanut butter lovers, complete with gorgeous swirls of peanut butter and topped with mini peanut butter cups. YUM!
- 8 ounces good quality, dark chocolate (70-80%), very finely chopped
- 6 ounces peanut butter chips
- 1 tablespoon unflavored vegetable shortening or coconut oil (optional, as needed)
- 1 cup mini peanut butter cups (I used Trader Joe’s, but you can also chop up larger peanut butter cups instead)
- In a microwave, double boiler, or chocolate melter, gently melt chocolate on the lowest possible heat setting. Stir regularly, removing from heat as needed. The goal here is to keep the temperature under 90 degrees, above which the chocolate will lose its temper. Be patient, keep stirring, and even with on and off low heat the chocolate will melt eventually.
- Meanwhile, melt peanut butter chips in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving on medium power in 20 second intervals, stirring until melted. The chips should be smooth and ‘drizzleable’. If yours seem too thick, stir in a 2-3 teaspoons of melted shortening or coconut oil to thin it out.
- Pour melted chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread into an even layer (it will not cover the entire pan, just spread it until it’s as thick as you want your final bark to be). Drizzle lines of melted peanut butter chips on top of chocolate. Run a toothpick or skewer through the two kinds of chocolate in a circular motion to form decorative swirls.
- Sprinkle evenly with peanut butter cups. Let sit, uncovered at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours or until set. Break or cut into serving size pieces.
*Note that if you melt your chocolate to a higher temperature or it somehow loses its temper, the chocolate may not set up completely. In which case, just refrigerate it until firm. While the bark is still perfectly edible, it is not as stable at room temperature and will need to be refrigerated.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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One of the best recipe that i have read after a long time. TRULY appreciate the way you made it. I am looking forward for more such delicious recipes in future too.
Made this! It’s awesome. I melted the chocolate on 20 second intervals in the microwave without burning it. Can’t wait to give it to my brother’s for a Christmas gift.
Exactly what I think that this will be the bark I try this year. Everything I love. Trader Joe’s chocolate is sooo good. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great 2018 holiday season.
Your receipes looks really awesome, I will try it for my family this weekend. Thanks for sharing your foodie experiance.
I think this will be the bark I try this year. Everything I love. Trader Joe’s chocolate is sooo good. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great 2018 holiday season.
This looks beautiful!
My question is, in the picture, I don’t see any peanut butter cups on top. To me, it looks like chips,possibly peanut butter chips or choc. chips.
Where do the peanut butter cups go?
Thank you for clarifying!
The peanut butter cups get sprinkled on top. They’re there in the top two images in the post. The process photos below show melting/swirling the chocolate and peanut butter chips, then before the bark sets you sprinkle the mini pb cups on top. There’s also a video that shows the process clearly! :)
Can you substitute milk chocolate for the dark chocolate?
Yes, though if you are trying to temper it do note that milk chocolate has a lower temperature requirement than dark does, which often makes it harder to properly temper. No worries if not, just store the bark in the refrigerator. :)
Is there a way I can make this peanut free? Like using almond chips? Are there almond chips? Or would it work if i made a mixture of sugar and almond butter?
I haven’t seen almond butter chips. But white chocolate ones would work perfectly, then sprinkle it with whatever toppings you’d like. :)
Yummy and Lovely! Thanks, Lindsay :)
My grandkids would go crazy for this!
Can this recipe be stored at room temperature, or does it need to be refrigerated after it is made? I was thinking of mailing it to someone as a gift. Thank you!
Thanks for the recipe! Just made it today, though my swirling is not as pretty as yours?
I used reeses peanut butter chips because no one has peanut butter chips right now. But, it turned out great, melted fine. Tricky, timing the melting of the chips, so the chocolate doesn’t set before you can get the peanut butter chips done & swirled. Will come with practices, will definitely be making again!!
Wow, How amazing it is! You’re great, your chocolate bark is perfect for gifts. Thanks Lindsay for sharing with us this great recipe!
Linsay, you are not only good at cooking but also good at making your chocolate bark become an art work. It looks beautiful, Just wanna try a piece of it. thanks for posting!
I just tried this yummy recipe from your blog and it has come out really yummy!! :)
This is my first chocolate peanut butter cup and I am quite happy with the outcome…
Thanks for sharing this easy recipe :)
I just made a huge batch and it looks fantastic! I want to bring some to my family in 2 weeks— do you think it would still look ok if I froze it and brought it to them?
Can’t believe how beautiful yet easy this recipe is! I’ve been trying to decide what to give my coworkers, and I think you’re 100% right – I totally prefer gifts that are edible, that don’t hang around and collect dust forever. It’s nice to hear someone else support that concept, so I don’t feel so bad about it!
I will be making this but I think I will sprinkle peanut butter M&Ms or peanut butter pieces on top to add some color.
So sad! I went trader joes today and learned that they discontinued their peanut butter chips!!
Wow!!! amazing picture, now all I can think of is when can I get my hands on this!!
Thanks for sharing,
Can i use peanut butter spread?
If you read my above responses, others have asked the same thing. Softened peanut butter won’t set up like the chips would. I’ve actually seen recipes for peanut butter mixed with coconut oil or shortening to make something like a homemade peanut butter chip, and I think something like that would probably be better for this recipe.
Wow! What a beautiful and easy recipe! I am so impressed that I shared it with my Facebook followers at “La Cuciniera at the Pampered Chef” – they’ll certainly want to visit often from what I see here! :)
I’m wondering, though, about the peanut butter chips. I looked for them at our Trader Joe’s and was told that they are seasonal – that’s fine, but I’m wondering if I could warm some regular peanut butter and use that instead? Maybe mix in a little powdered sugar?
Softened peanut butter won’t set up like the chips would. I’ve actually seen recipes for peanut butter mixed with coconut oil or shortening to make something like a homemade peanut butter chip, and I think something like that would probably be better for this recipe.
Will almond bark work? Thanks.
That looks amazing – and SO good to know on the chocolate tempering. It explains how my first batch of buckeyes just weren’t “right”. Love your website which I just found today through pinterest and can’t wait to order your Breakfast for Dinner Cookbook.
LB Johnson – author The Book of Barkley , LEO, blogger and dog Mom
I make peppermint bark every Christmas, with dark chocolate, crushed peppermint, and white chocolate with a little peppermint oil in it… It’s always a hit, and has been requested for Christmas presents by friends and family!
Oh and I love my chocolate melting pots too! I had 3, till one broke, so now I only have 2, but it comes in handy when melting 2 different types of chocolate at once!
I was wondering if I could use milk chocolate instead of the dark chocolate………
Yes, she answered that question.
I just made a tray of this for my brother. I’m too lazy to wash dishes, so I put parchment paper down, poured the chocolate chips in a layer, put it in the oven and hit preheat to 350. (I did not preheat it first, I just turned it on the default setting which is 350. I just wanted enough heat to melt the chips.) I left it in there until the chips were shiny. Then I turned the oven off, took them out and spread them around a little bit, sprinkled the peanut butter chips on top, put it back in the oven and left it until the chips were shiny. It was a matter of just a couple minutes for each part. Then I took it out, used a toothpick to make the peanut butter swirls look pretty and sprinkled the chips on top. So far the chocolate is still shiny and cooling down. I don’t know if it will need to be refrigerated, but I have one dish (the spatula) to wash. Woo hoo, and it looks great!
Just made it. Can’t wait to taste it. Yum yum yum
Can you use unsweetened baking chocolate and sweeten with stevia? They look divine!
This has got to be the most delicious looking bark I’ve ever seen.
I have got to make this.
Maybe try freezing Some peanut butter and breaking it Into pieces, and Dipping that in chocolate
Just made this bark for the first time!! Didn’t come out quite as I was hoping but I will try again soon.
I don’t believe in microwaves. Can I melt the peanut butter chips in a double boiler?
Absolutely. That works.
I just made this last night thanks to you! I seen this on your site last night and HAD to try it. I recommend to any chocolate lovers! So good! Very good with regular chocolate if you dont like dark chocolate, thank you so much!
I just made this last night thanks to yo! I seen this on your site last night and HAD to try it. I recommend to any chocolate lovers! So good! Very good with regular chocolate if you dont like dark chocolate, thank you so much!
recipe looks good but you can’t see the ingredients it’s blocked by a pattern. So what good is that to try the recipe if you can’t see the ingredients
Reload your page – there’s a known bug on apple iOS mobile that sometimes transposes images. Reloading should fix it, or view on a desktop computer.
I made this tonight and surprisingly only struggled with the melting peanut butter chips. I only had one double boiler which i used for the chocolate so i put the peanut butter chips in the microwave with the method you described. They just dried out into a crumbly cup of peanut butter chip fluffy crumbs and did not melt into a liquid form. Needless to say my swirls didn’t look like two blended colors of chocolate as your photos do. Otherwise the rest went as per the recipe. Any suggestions on how to get this right?
Hmm. It sounds like they may have gotten overheated. Did you use half-power on the microwave? Did you take the bowl out every 10-15 seconds to stir? You really want a gentle melt for both the chocolate and the peanut butter chips, as overheating will cause it to seize. If you’re up for trying again, the double-boiler method might be best for melting both things. You could also try melting with a bit of vegetable shortening to smooth things out.
Also, what brand of peanut butter chips did you use? Wondering if there are differences. I used Trader Joe’s chips, and they melted beautifully.
Woe is me! Here in the UK we have all varieties of peanut butter, but unfortunately NOT PB chips nor PB cups. Sigh. They haven’t made it across the Pond yet. So I’ll have to console myself with making it with plain and white chocolate and throw some nuts on top ……. no, I didn’t think so either!
Actually, the plain and white chocolates sound good. You could then get creative with toppings like broken up candy canes or cracked up heath bars and so on.
I have actually seen recipes for homemade peanut butter chips, you could probably make something similar and just swirl the mixture right into the chocolate as opposed to letting them set and cutting into pieces. Or even stir some peanut butter into some white chocolate?
As far as no peanut butter cups… oh the horror! How can you live like that?! (haha, just kidding, this bark is still perfectly good without them though!)
I’m confused–it says “both kinds of chocolate” but the recipe only calls for dark chocolate–what other chocolate do you use?
The peanut butter chips. Technically not chocolate but melted in the same way.
I made the chocolate bark n omy goodness it is delicious Its the best and so so easy my 4 children even love it thanks for the great recipe
This looks delicious! What mini peanut butter cupsdid you use?
Trader Joe’s mini pb cups (which are amazing!) but I think Reese’s also makes a mini version now as well. If not, you can always chop up bigger pb cups and use those instead.
This might be the most gorgeous bark ever to exist!!
Hi, looks sinful!
The ingredient list has only the dark chocolate but within the recipe instructions you mention “both chocolates” melting — did I miss something?
Can youuse milk chocolate instead of dark?
Sure, if you’d like! I prefer the dark/pb combo but any chocolate should work just fine here.
just so sinful, looks great but so sinful
Lindsay, can you tell me why we need the dark chocolate as opposed to regular chocolate chip morsels? I never been a fan of dark chocolate. Not in the candy bar form anyway. Thanks.
You can certainly use a semisweet or even milk chocolate if you prefer! I do recommend a bar vs morsels as morsels often have coatings and things that keep them from melting as nicely. But the % of the chocolate can definitely be customized to personal preference. :)
I made this as a last minute addition to my Christmas candy gifts and it came out so good! The instruction on melting the chocolate very slowly and at a low setting was definitely important — I don’t always do that with other recipes, but this one set up perfectly! I skipped the peanut butter cups making this a two ingredient recipe — so easy & will definitely be repeated :)
Creamy, dreamy peanut butter goodness!
Gosh, this is just beautiful! Wish I had seen this before now so I could’ve made it for Christmas! You’re so right about the edible gifts. I try to make edibles every year because I know that when I’m just given stuff that’ll either collect dust or immediately put into our storage room because we just don’t have the space in our condo, I’d rather have just received something to eat.
You could send me an edible anytime. Gosh this turn out so well. The chocolate and peanut butter are so nicely marbled. Decadent and the perfect gift with this classic flavor combo.
Everything is all about peppermint bark this time of year, so I love this idea, yum!!
This has got to be the most beautiful bark I have ever seen. It’s simply a work of art and I could see anyone ecstatic over receiving this as a gift.
Such a cool post!
Love from www.trangscorner.com – a lifestyle, cooking, fashion blog
What brand of chocolate do you use for this?
I used a Trader Joe’s pound plus bar – best deal for the price!
Oh love! I hope Santa leaves some of this under the tree.
would it be possible just to use plain peanut butter instead of peanut butter cups
Do you mean instead of the peanut butter chips? If so, no, as the peanut butter will not harden like the peanut butter chips will. Plain peanut butter would stay rather gooey on top of the chocolate.
The swirls are beautiful! But if you want to use regular peanut butter, I have made a layered version instead. Not quite as pretty, but just as yummy! :)
Darn you, Lindsay! I took all three of my children to the grocery store already today and now I absolutely have to go back so I can make this!
Darn you, Lindsay! I took all three of my children to the grocery store already today and now I absolutely have to go back so I can make this!
This is my dream fudge in every way!! Pinned :)
omg yum! pinning this for later. it’s a must try. all of my family loves peanut butter, they are gonna love me for this! thanks! xx. gigi.
Oh these swirls are just killing me! Edible gifts are definitely the way to go. These look like a crowd pleaser. Hope you have a wonderful Holiday, Lindsay!
Your photos are perfect! I’m with you, homemade gifts speak volumes over any purchased item IMO. One year my cousin’s boyfriend gave me Lord of The Rings pez dispensers and a Michael Jackson bobble head. I thought it was a mistake and that he must have brought it for our little cousin. No. The pez dispensers and bobble head were mine. Haha.
This looks INCREDIBLE!! I might seriously have to make this the second I get off of work today!
This has got to be the best bark I have ever seen! I love it! Pinned!