I don’t need an excuse to buy candy. Nope, not me. That’s a year-round grocery cart item for little ole moi.
But if you use Halloween as an excuse, up the ante with some fabulous bark. It’s easy to make, not to mention easier to eat. And it’s full of Halloween candy!
Yep, you’ve got that right. Candy pumpkins, check. Kit Kats, check. Reese’s PB cups, check. Hershey bars, check. Whoppers, check. Oh, and let’s not forget about the lovely sprinkles. Or the milk and white chocolate swirly base. Now do I have your attention?
My attention has been wandering of late. It’s kind of hard to stay focused on any one thing. I read an article a few years back that tried to prove that while men like to focus on one thing at a time, women are more cognitively apt to try and do many things at the same time. In other words, women are natural multitaskers. Which means that as I’m writing this, I have a pie in the oven, a pile of laundry next to me that I fold between sentences, and a child asking me questions in my right ear that I may or may not be answering.
Any number of experts will inform us that when we try to do several things at the same time, none of them get done well. Those experts can kiss my a$$. Ask them how daily to-do lists can get accomplished by doing one thing at a time, and see what they say. Unless your daily list has about three items on it, I don’t see how that can work.
Before we had children (i.e., B.C.), Kenny and I would talk around 11:30 each workday morning. Our phone conversations would go like this:
Kenny: How’s your day going?
Mir: It’s cool. I’m getting a ton done. I’m so tired.
Kenny: Really? It’s only 11:30!
Mir: It’s my lunchtime. I’ve already taught for four straight hours, paid the bills and made a doc appointment. What are you up to?
Kenny: Um…I took a shower.
Yep, those were the days. But Kenny, in all his manly glory, never felt bad about easing into his day and not getting each item duly checked off the to-do list that, admittedly, I created for him. And he still doesn’t really mind. I’m pretty jealous.
One thing I wonder about is whether doing so many things at one time is bad for the attention span. I do know that I’m very guilty of only half-listening to anything a child of mine is asking at any given time. Which is why these conversations happen:
Boy, Age Seven: Mommy, can I take the bag of lollipops upstairs to my room?
Mir: (absently) Sure, honey. (a minute passes) Wait, what?!
See? Not paying full attention is dangerous. Or if you’re my kid, it’s pretty great. The Boy had a whole bag of Dum-Dums up in his room (and was partway into his second) before I realized I’d been checked out.
Whenever I eat dessert, though, I try to make mindfulness a priority. I really focus on whatever is going into my mouth, and then it’s an even better experience. To be completely clear, I had no trouble whatsoever focusing on this Halloween candy bark. How could I think about anything else?
The base of this bark is milk chocolate (my personal favorite, so my apologies to you foodies who love the 90% dark), swirled with some white chocolate. On top, I piled all of my favorite chocolate bar goodness, plus those cute little candy pumpkins. I can never resist adorable.
Bark is a really great solution to the question, “I’ve got five minutes and fifty things to do, and I need to produce a treat for my kid’s class/my office party/my own sanity. What can I bake?”
In other words, this stuff comes together fast. Chill time is another matter, but 30 minutes in the fridge and you’re good to go.
My older daughter just walked up to me and asked me for tape. I have no idea why she wanted tape, but I was distracted, so I gave it to her. Why do I feel like my divided attention is going to result in my getting very upset in just a few minutes’ time? But that’s the price of multitasking!
At least I can focus on dessert. That’s really the important thing, anyway. Everything else can get done with little bits of my focus. It’s all about priorities!
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips for one minute. Stir. If not smooth and melted, heat an additional 20 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- Spread out the milk chocolate to about 1/2-inch thickness. Don't go too thin, or the bark won't be as good.
- In a separate bowl, heat the white chocolate chips for 40 seconds. Stir, and if not melted, heat an additional 20 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- Drop the white chocolate by spoonfuls gently onto the milk chocolate. Using a knife, swirl the melted white chocolate gently into the milk chocolate. Do not overdo it, or your bark will become one uniform muddy color.
- Sprinkle the chopped candy bars evenly over the bark, being sure to distribute each kind of candy bar equally over the top. Add the sprinkles.
- Chill the bark for 30 minutes. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. If you're worried about melting, keep it in the refrigerator until shortly before serving.