Only seven ingredients!


We're Southerners. Mama taught us better than to ever show up at someone's home empty-handed. But sometimes, rotating through the same tried-and-true brownies recipe gets old. Sometimes, you don't want to bring just another bottle of wine. Sometimes, you have a feeling the hostess already has enough personalized aprons to outfit a Michelin-starred restaurant staff.

What's a gal to do? Tote along Ina Garten's otherworldly French Chocolate Bark and watch conversation screech to a halt as everyone takes his or her first bite. "Homemade chocolate bark is a great gift when you’re looking for something special to bring to a holiday dinner. My French Chocolate Bark is a slab of good chocolate embedded with cashews, crystallized ginger, dried cherries and apricots, and raisins. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy and chewy - all at the same time - and so easy to make," Garten wrote in a recent Instagram post. Though Garten suggests the tantalizing bark makes an excellent holiday gift,  we think the sweet treat works wonderfully year-round.

TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Ina Garten and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, December 19, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Thankfully, Garten was kind enough to share the full recipe on her website, here. With only seven ingredients, the recipe far outshines the sum of its parts and you don't need to grocery shop for a lengthy list of items. Of course, if you feel like getting creative, try swapping out ingredients like the dried cherries and dried apricots for different dried fruits of your choice or replacing the cashews with pecans. Once you've mastered the base recipe, the possibilities for add-ins are virtually endless.

Trust us when we say that the roughly 20 pieces of bark this recipe makes is about 200 pieces too few. Who knew that you can be your very own candy maker in the comfort of your own kitchen with only a handful of pantry staples?

If you like gifting your host a store-bought present in addition to a food offering, here are some holiday hostess gifts you should stock up on now.

What's your favorite homemade dessert to bring along as a hostess gift during the holidays? We'd love to know so we can start planning accordingly for next year—or, you know, when we go into wintertime withdrawal and decide we're ready to go on another baking sprint.