A great Christmas present...
Chocolate bark looks very luxurious when you put it in a fancy box or bag with curled ribbons, but it's cheap and very easy to make, and only takes a few minutes of work (plus a couple of hours to cool). And, like chocolate mousse, it doesn't even use the stove.
How to make chocolate bark:
In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix 10-12 ounces (one package) of dark chocolate chips (or milk chocolate if you like that better) with a couple of teaspoons of butter and microwave for 2 minutes until the chocolate is pretty melted. Take it out and stir until all the chocolate is melted.
Meanwhile, if you want hazelnuts in your chocolate bark, take a large handful of hazelnuts and smash them into bits in a mortar (or inside a paper bag, using a rolling pin or a can of soup). All the nuts should be at least broken in half; you want a variety of different sizes.
Add a large pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla to the chocolate. Mix about 2/3 of the nuts into the chocolate, or, if you don't like nuts, you could add coconut or raisins instead. Cover a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper, and use a spatula to spread the chocolate-nut mixture on the parchment paper until it covers about 2/3 of the cookie sheet. Don't make it too thin around the edges; you want it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick everywhere.
Sprinkle the rest of the nuts on top, and press them down a little with the spatula. Set the tray someplace pretty cool - the refrigerator is fine, but an unheated porch or basement is fine too - and leave it for a couple of hours. Then peel the parchment paper off (you can reuse it for the next batch), break up the chocolate bark into pieces, and put them in a tupperware in the fridge or in a cool place for storage.
Vegetarian or vegan
Just naturally vegetarian! Enjoy! The butter makes it not vegan, but you could substitute margarine.
Can I keep this for later?
Sure. Chocolate bark will last for at least several weeks, if you can keep from eating it.