Our dairy free and gluten free Hot Cocoa Chocolate Bark is a fun treat for the holidays and makes a great homemade Christmas gift. This Christmas pretzel bark is also peanut free and school safe.
Chocolate candy bark is one of the easiest holiday treats you can make for your friends and family, especially if they have food allergies since it can be so easy to make it allergy friendly.
We took the best parts of hot chocolate (chocolate and marshmallows) and made our Hot Cocoa Chocolate Bark. It’s not only dairy free, but also gluten free and peanut free!
Depending on what kind of chocolate you use as well, you can make our pretzel bark lower in sugar as well. So with a few adjustments, it can be a great treat option for multiple special diets.
Our hot cocoa chocolate bark is:
- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Peanut free
- Soy free and tree nut free, depending on the chocolate you choose
How to make hot cocoa chocolate bark
This recipe is fast and easy, and makes a fun homemade Christmas gift idea! I actually experimented by making this recipe 2 different ways, one using the oven, so I’ll show both ways I made this.
Here are the steps to make this pretzel bark regularly with chocolate chips by melting the chocolate chips first (the full recipe card is at the end of the post, this is just an overview):
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet pan.
- Add the gluten free pretzel crisps to the pan and arrange them in a single layer but having them touching each other.
- Melt the chocolate and the white chocolate in separate containers in the microwave or a double boiler, and pour the semi-sweet chocolate over the pretzel crisps. Spread around (if it doesn’t spread by itself) to cover all of the pretzels.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the regular chocolate.
- Sprinkle with the freeze dried mini marshmallows and Christmas sprinkles before the chocolate sets up.
- Allow the chocolate to set up, then break apart and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
The second way to make this chocolate bark is by using an allergy friendly chocolate bar, placing it on top of the pretzels, then baking at 350 degrees F for about 5 to 8 minutes to melt the chocolate enough to spread it.
Once it’s spread over the pretzels, you can drizzle on your white chocolate and add the marshmallows and sprinkles!
Both of these methods work well, I personally prefer the non-oven method since it creates a thinner layer of chocolate over the pretzels vs adding a chocolate bar then melting it (spreading the chocolate bar is a little harder, too).
What kind of chocolate can I use for this recipe?
You can use just about any chocolate and white chocolate that fits your food allergies in this recipe!
With the 2 versions of this chocolate bark recipe I made at home, I used both the Vgan chocolate bar that our Walmart now carries (it’s phenomenal), the Nestle Simply Delicious semi-sweet chocolate, and the Enjoy Life mini white chocolate chips for drizzling.
The Vgan chocolate is excellent, but it is more of a milk chocolate and soft (actually one of the reasons I love it). If you want a harder chocolate so your chocolate bark has a snap to it, I’d opt for the Enjoy Life mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. The dark chocolate Vgan bars might work as well, but I haven’t tried those so I don’t know for sure. The Enjoy Life mini semi-sweet chips do set up firm, however, and make a good chocolate bark.
The Vgan coconut milk chocolate bar has a may-contain statement for almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts, and it contains coconut, so if you have severe allergies to those, stick with the Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
The Enjoy Life mini white chocolate chips are a bit softer than the Great Value allergy friendly white chocolate chips that I prefer to use for chocolate bark like this, but they have stopped producing or carrying the Great Value chips so I can’t find them in any Walmart stores.
Pascha also makes a good dairy free white chocolate chip that will work in this recipe as well! Our post about replacing dairy in cooking has a list of more options for allergy friendly chocolate and milk chocolate!
How to make this chocolate bark lower in sugar
If you’re using pretzels and freeze dried mini marshmallows, this recipe can’t be made low carb or keto. But you can make this lower in sugar by swapping the chocolate and white chocolate for sugar free chocolate.
It’s not easy to find sugar free chocolate that is also dairy free, but Bake Believe does make a sugar free semi-sweet chocolate chip that doesn’t have milk in it, and it’s also made in a peanut and tree nut free facility!
Check out our other allergy friendly chocolate bar recipes!
- Almond Coffee Toffee Chocolate Bark
- Dairy Free Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- Holiday Chocolate Pretzel Bark
Dairy Free Hot Cocoa Chocolate Bark (Gluten Free)
- ½ bag (5 ounces) Snack Factory gluten free pretzel crisps
- 1 cup allergy friendly semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (or rice milk chocolate)
- ¼ to ⅓ cup allergy friendly white chocolate chips melted
- ¼ cup dehydrated mini marshmallows
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Christmas or winter sprinkles (look for some that fit your food allergies)
- Line a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Spread out the pretzels on the parchment paper and arrange them so they are in a single layer but close together and touching.
- Melt the semi-sweet chocolate and the white chocolate in separate bowls, using a microwave or a double boiler. If using the microwave to melt the chocolate, heat in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each heating segment.
- Pour the semi-sweet chocolate over the pretzels, as evenly as possible, then spread out with a spatula or spoon.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the semi-sweet chocolate, then sprinkle on the freeze dried mini marshmallows and Christmas sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.
- Allow the chocolate to set up completely, then break apart and store at room temperature in an airtight bag or container. This homemade candy makes great holiday gifts!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist