Last year was Owen’s first time trick-or-treating. It took him all of about three seconds to realize that EVERYONE WAS GIVING AWAY CANDY and he was off and running down the block, his general shyness and fear of strangers forgotten. It really was a joy to experience the holiday again though his eyes.
Except for one teeny, tiny thing.
All he took were M&Ms! At house after house, when offered a bowl filled with all different kinds of candy (Milk Ways! Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups! Rolos!), Owen rooted around until he found one of those fun-sized packs of plain M&Ms.
I mean, I get it, they’re his favorite candy. But as parents hoping to raid his plastic pumpkin after bedtime, we were a little disappointed.
So this year I’ve made it my job to broaden his chocolate horizons. Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced him to miniature Twix, Kit-Kats, 3 Musketeers, and Nestle’s Crunch. Not only am I expanding his palate, but they are make for a great potty training bribe. (Side note: I feel a parenting award in my future…)
Of course, I’ve been sampling these delicacies as well. And you guys, I forgot that Nestle’s Crunch bars were so delicious! There is something about the combination of creamy chocolate and crispy cereal that is totally addictive.
I started daydreaming about a version with dark chocolate, maybe some freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, a handful of dried cranberries, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
You get the idea.
This crispy chocolate bark with pumpkin seeds and cranberries is like Halloween candy for grown-ups. I definitely think it should be your sweet, sweet reward for slaving over that Jack-o’-lantern next week.
Crispy Chocolate Bark with Pumpkin Seeds and Cranberries
The flavor of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds can't be beat, but you can use store-bought pepitas as a shortcut. Store the back in an airtight container at room temperature, or if your kitchen is warm, in the fridge.
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- 1 (12-ounce) package dark chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening (optional, but it helps keep the chocolate really smooth)
- 2 cups Rice Krispies
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (see notes)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Flaky sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring, until it is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and use a spatula to gently press it into an even, thin layer. (It won't reach all the way to the sides, but you should have a pretty big piece.)
- Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and a few pinches of sea salt. Allow to stand at room temperature until firm. Alternatively, chill in the refrigerator until set. Break the bark into large shards. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- I always follow Elise Bauer's (of Simply Recipes) instructions for roasting pumpkin seeds: once you have removed the seeds from the pumpkin, rinse them under water to remove any strings or pumpkin flesh. Measure the seeds and transfer them to a saucepan. For every 1/2 cup of seeds, add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and drain. Toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, and roast at 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden-brown.
Turnip the Oven http://turniptheoven.com/