Making homemade chocolate bars is easy and fun. When you use these chocolate bar recipes you can make a variety of handmade candy bars using your favorite ingredients like nuts, toffee bits, caramel, dried fruits, cookie pieces, and more.
Making handmade chocolate bars is as easy as making chocolate bark, you just need to pour melted chocolate into a chocolate mold instead of spreading it onto a baking tray.
The molds you use to make candy bars can be fancy silicone, plastic, or polycarbonate molds or they can be as simple as a loaf pan or plastic container.
The beauty of making your own candy bars is that you can choose what to put in them. Of course, chocolate bars taste great plain but adding bits of toffee or salted and roasted nuts or dried cherries can make the candy bar taste even better.
What chocolate to use to make homemade candy bars?
- Pure chocolate contains cocoa butter which melts at body temperature so it gives the chocolate a luxuriously smooth texture when it melts on your tongue.
- You can purchase pure chocolate bars, blocks, callets (they look like chips but are not), pistoles, and chips.
- The flavor is decadently rich and delicious.
- When pure chocolate is in temper it has a wonderful snap and shine.
- Compound chocolate, also known as Confectionery Coating, Candy Melts, Almond Bark, or Melting Wafers contains vegetable oils, usually palm kernel oil. They do not contain any cocoa butter.
- Some people refer to this as fake chocolate.
- This type of chocolate is easy to melt and will make shiny candy bars that have a good snap without a lot of fuss.
- You simply melt the wafers in the microwave or using a double boiler and they are ready to use.
- The flavor is not nearly as nice as pure chocolate made with cacao butter but it does have an acceptable chocolate flavor. I particularly like using white compound chocolate to make many of my treats including my Candy Cane Chocolate Cups.
- Some popular brands of compound chocolate are Wilton Candy Melts, Ghirardelli Melting Wafers, Merckens Confectionery Coating, and Great Value Almond Bark.
I highly recommend using pure chocolate to make your chocolate bars however pure chocolate must be tempered. You cannot simply melt it and hope for the best. That will not work.
Why do you need to temper pure chocolate?
- Cocoa butter contains crystals that are stabilized at certain temperatures. When you temper the chocolate you need to either heat the chocolate slowly so that it never goes out of temper or you need to heat it to a temperature where all the crystals break apart before cooling to get the crystals to form the proper type of crystal structure.
- Chocolate bars, callets, or chips, that you purchase from the store are already in temper but once you melt them they need to be tempered again.
- When tempered chocolate is poured into a mold it shrinks slightly as it cools and hardens so it’s easy to remove from the molds.
- If you do not properly temper your chocolate it will NOT harden properly and it will not retract from the mold, meaning it will stick to the mold and you won’t be able to remove it.
- Also, untempered chocolate will develop bloom which means it will become streaky or spotty.
How to temper chocolate the easy way in the microwave.
- Finely chop or grate 16 ounces of chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. You want tiny uniform pieces of chocolate for this tempering method.
- Heat on high at 10-15 second increments, stirring after each, until melted. As you get close to melting, cut the heat to 50% power.
- You need the chocolate to melt and stay within the tempering range of:
- 88-91 degrees Fahrenheit for dark chocolate
- 86-88 degree Fahrenheit for milk chocolate
- 82-84 degrees Fahrenheit for white chocolate
- If the temperature of your chocolate goes above these numbers, you will have to heat it up to 110-120 degrees and use the seeding method below.
You can use this method with any chocolate bar that you purchase from the grocery store, but I recommend using either Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate bars or Peter's Burgundy Chocolate Bars. Both come in large 10 or 11-pound blocks.
Couverture Chocolate Callets
I use Callebaut Couverture Chocolate Callets to make my chocolate bombs and temper them using the seeding method.
If you have never tempered chocolate, I highly recommend purchasing these chocolate callets. I have taught dozens of students how to temper chocolate using Callebaut callets and every single student has had success tempering their chocolate the very first time.
The callets may look like chocolate chips but they are not. These little chocolate wafers are meant to melt easily unlike chocolate chips which contain stabilizers so that the chips hold their shape when baked in cookies.
Plus, they are made with the most delicious Belgium chocolate.
Seeding Method of Tempering Chocolate
- Melt 12 ounces of dark chocolate to 115°-120° Fahrenheit, milk chocolate to 110°-115° F, or white chocolate to 105-110° F.
- Begin to cool the chocolate by stirring in about 2 ounces of chocolate. Continue to stir, scraping down the sides of the bowl until all of those chocolate pieces have melted.
- Check the temperature of the chocolate.
- Continue to sprinkle in small amounts of the chocolate callets and stir to cool the bowl of chocolate.
- Be sure to always scrape the sides of the bowl. You do not want the chocolate to harden around the edge of the bowl.
- Your goal is to get the chocolate to 88-91 °F for dark chocolate; 86-88°F for milk and 82-84°F for white.
- Once the chocolate reaches that temperate, remove any unmelted chocolate pieces. If there aren't many pieces you can also just dissolve them using an immersion blender. If there are too many, however, you don't want to do that as you will run the risk of cooling the chocolate too much.
Can you melt chocolate without a microwave?
- Alternatively, you can melt your chocolate in a double boiler set over low heat.
- Fill a saucepan with 1-inch of water and set a tight-fitting bowl over the opening of the pan.
- Fill the bowl with chocolate and heat on low stirring often until melted.
- Continue to heat until the chocolate reaches the appropriate temperature.
- Then remove from the heat and follow the instructions above.
How to know if chocolate is in temper?
- Test the temper of the chocolate by dipping a metal spatula, spoon, or knife into the chocolate.
- Shake it, to remove the excess chocolate then set it aside at room temperature.
- In 3-5 minutes, the chocolate should harden and look shiny.
- Alternatively, you can spread a small amount of chocolate on a piece of parchment paper and allow it to air dry for 3-5 minutes. It should peel off the paper and snap when broken.
- While you are waiting, be sure to stir your bowl of chocolate, to make sure it doesn't cool too much around the edge.
- If your test chocolate has hardened and looks shiny be sure to check the temperature of your bowl of chocolate before proceeding to make your chocolate balls.
- The chocolate will have cooled slightly and will need to be warmed slightly!
- Heat it in the microwave for about 5 seconds then remove and stir and check the temperature. Do not let it go above temper temperature (91° dark, 88° milk, or 84° white). If it does, you have to start this whole process over again.
- You are now ready to fill your molds with chocolate.
Can I skip tempering pure chocolate?
- If you do not temper your pure chocolate the chocolate will be soft, streaky, spotty, or even chalky.
- The chocolate that is pictured above is all out of temper. The bloom (white spots and streaks) did not develop right away, however. The chocolate looked fine the first day but bloomed later the next day.
- Also, as I mentioned above, chocolate that is not in temper will not harden properly and it will stick inside your molds.
- If you are using silicone molds you will still be able to remove the chocolate from the molds but know that your chocolates will develop bloom eventually.
- If you are using polycarbonate or plastic molds you will not be able to get the chocolate out of the molds. You will need to wash it out using hot water.
How to melt compound chocolate (candy melts).
- Pour your candy melts into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 30 seconds then remove and stir.
- Repeat this process until most of the chocolate is melted.
- Then heat at high power for 15-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted.
- Alternatively, you can melt your chocolate in a double boiler set over low heat.
- Fill a pot with 1-inch of water and set a tight-fitting bowl over the opening of the pan.
- Fill the bowl with chocolate and heat on low stirring often until melted.
- Or you can melt the compound chocolate (candy melts, almond bark, etc.) in the oven if you are careful!
- Heat your oven to the lowest temperature it can go for 5 minutes.
- Then turn off the heat.
- Set a bowl of compound chocolate into the oven and let it slowly melt.
- Remember, the wafers will hold their shape as they melt. Remove the bowl and stir after about 30 minutes.
- If needed, reheat the oven.
- DO NOT leave a bowl of chocolate in a very hot oven or when the oven is heating up. It may burn.
Check out my chocolate making tips page for a more detailed tutorial discussing the differences between the types of chocolates and their melting methods.
Let's make dark chocolate bars!
Now that you know how to melt your chocolate, you are ready to make handmade chocolate bars.
making candy bars using silicone molds
Silicone candy bar molds come in several fun designs including a traditional break-apart candy bar design.
- You can pour your melted chocolate into a disposable pastry bag or squeeze bottle and pipe the chocolate into the mold.
- Then, tap the mold on the countertop a few times to allow any trapped air bubbles to rise to the surface.
- Pop the air bubbles using a toothpick or knife.
- Then, tap the mold a few more times to smooth out the surface of the chocolate.
- Wipe any chocolate off around the edge of the mold.
- Chill your candy bars for about 10 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
- If you are using pure chocolate you always want to chill the candy bars in the refrigerator.
- If you are using compound chocolate (candy melts), you want to chill the candy bars in the freezer.
- Remove the hardened chocolate from the mold. When using silicone molds, turn the mold upside down, and peel away the mold.
See the picture below to see some other silicone candy bar molds. My favorite is the bubble mold that I used to make OREO and white chocolate candy bars.
how long to chill a homemade chocolate bar?
- It will depend on the thickness of the candy bar mold and on how hot the chocolate is, to begin with.
- Always be sure to chill pure chocolate in the fridge and compound chocolates like candy melts or almond bark in the freezer.
- Only chill until the chocolate hardens. This can take 5-15 minutes depending on the thickness and heat of the chocolate.
- If your chocolate bars chill for too long (over 30 minutes in the freezer and over an hour in the refrigerator) they may crack or become sticky (this is especially true for compound chocolate chilled in the freezer).
Help! My chocolate bar won't come out of the mold.
If your chocolate bar is stuck inside the mold, the chocolate may not be completely hardened. Chill it for a few more minutes.
If you used pure chocolate and you've waited over 30 minutes or even up to an hour for your chocolate to harden and it simply won't come out of the mold, your chocolate was probably not tempered properly.
Untempered chocolate will not retract (shrink) from the mold. You can try freezing it for a few minutes but that may not work. It may simply be stuck. You'll have to wash the chocolate out of the mold using hot water.
NOTE: Chocolate typically will not get stuck in a silicone mold. You can peel the mold off soft untempered chocolate but untempered chocolate will eventually streak. If you begin to unmold your chocolate and realize it's still wet. Chill it for a few more minutes and try again.
candy bar mix-ins
You can stir any of these ingredients into your melted (and tempered) chocolate or you can place them on top.
- cookie pieces like crushed OREO Cookies or Biscoff Cookies
- Rice Krispies Cereal
- Heath Toffee Bits
- Kraft Caramel Bits and optional sea salt to sprinkle over the top of the candy bar
- dried fruits like cherries, blueberries, apricots, mangos, pineapple
- nuts like cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans
- freeze-dried fruits like strawberries or raspberries
- banana chips
- potato chips
- mini marshmallows
Get creative and add any of your favorite sweet or salty ingredients to these candy bars.
cookies and cream candy bars
- Stir crushed OREO Cookies into your melted and tempered pure white chocolate or melted candy melts or almond bark.
- I used about 1 crushed cookie for every 2 ounces of chocolate.
- Then, pour the chocolate into your mold.
- Smooth it out using an offset spatula or spoon.
- If needed, wipe or scrape any excess chocolate off around the edge of the mold.
- Chill, then unmold.
making swirled candy bars or multicolored candy bars
You can use two or even three types of chocolate to make cool-looking swirled candy bars.
- Pour one chocolate into a bowl, then drizzle on the second chocolate and swirl together using a skewer or knife. Do not swirl too much!
- Then, pour the swirled chocolate into the mold.
- You can also put two colors of chocolate into a pastry bag and pipe the chocolate into the mold.
- Or, you can paint one color of chocolate into the mold then pour another color over the top.
making candy bars using plastic candy molds
- Add your mixins to the melted chocolate. I used Heath Toffee Bits in milk chocolate to make these Toffee Crunch Candy Bars.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into the mold.
- Tap the mold a few times on the counter to remove air bubbles and to allow the chocolate to fill in the entire candy bar cavity in the mold.
- Wipe any excess chocolate off along the top edges.
- Chill to harden.
- Unmold by turning the mold upside down, while covering the chocolate bars with your hands or a cutting board, and allow the chocolate bars to fall out.
Plastic hobby-grade candy molds work great and are quite inexpensive. You can also use sturdy polycarbonate chocolate bar molds. They are wonderful molds to have if you plan to make a lot of homemade chocolate bars.
making chocolate bars without a mold
No mold, no problem! You don't have to use a specific candy bar mold to use this chocolate bar recipe. If you have some non-stick loaf pans or even rectangle plastic containers (like a Rubbermaid container or a plastic carryout container) you can make candy bars at home.
- Pour a thin layer of chocolate into your loaf pan or container.
- Sprinkle on nuts, dried fruits, cookie pieces, etc. If you prefer you can mix them into the chocolate.
- I topped my white chocolate candy bar with macadamia nuts, coconut, and dried pineapple. YUM!
- Other bars were topped with trail mix, cashews, and banana chips with freeze-dried strawberries.
- Chill until hardened. (pure chocolate = refrigerator and compound chocolate = freezer)
- Then, unmold. Simply place your hand over the opening, turn the loaf pan or plastic container upside down, and allow the chocolate bar to fall out into your hand.
NOTE: It's always best to wear food-handling gloves when you are touching chocolate so that you don't get fingerprints on the chocolate.
chocolate candy bar hearts
You can even have fun for holidays like Valentine's Day by making your candy bars in shaped molds.
To make a chocolate bar heart, just pour the chocolate into a heart-shaped candy mold or silicone mold, sprinkle on the toppings, chill, then unmold.
You can even use shaped cookie cutters to make chocolate bark hearts.
wrapping homemade candy bars
You can package your candy bars in cellophane bags once they warm to room temperature. Do not try to put a cold chocolate bar into a bag. It will stick to the bag if it's too cold.
Printed cellophane bags are available for every holiday as well as lots of other special occasions. You can make Christmas Candy Bars topped with crushed candy canes and wrap them in Christmas bags or you can create fun Halloween Candy Bars topped with holiday sprinkles and wrap them in Halloween bags.
Or you can wrap them in colored tin foil like I do when I make my homemade chocolate Easter eggs. You can even print out homemade labels to wrap around your candy bars.
how to store chocolate bars
Store your chocolate bars at room temperature away from heat, sunshine, or odors. Chocolate has a shelf-life of about 12 months from the date of manufacture but it takes years to actually spoil. So, your candy bars will stay fresh up until the best-buy date listed on your package of chocolate and mix-in ingredients.
If you use fresh ingredients, your chocolate bars can keep for up to a year at room temperature so there's no reason to refrigerate them!
It is not recommended to store chocolate in the refrigerator as chocolate can easily pick up other food odors. Refrigerating chocolate can also affect the texture. Your chilled chocolate can become chalky or sticky.
You can freeze these homemade chocolate bars if your house is really warm. Wrap the chocolate bars tightly in plastic wrap, tin foil, or Glad Press 'n Seal then place them in a zip-top bag.
To thaw frozen chocolate, be sure to set it out on your counter and let it thaw slowly in its wrapping. Do not unwrap until the chocolate feels like it has come to room temperature.
chocolate bars recipe
Make homemade chocolate bars using silicone, plastic, or polycarbonate candy bar molds or make them using a loaf pan or plastic container. It's easy and you can add your favorite mix-ins like toffee bits, cookie pieces, nuts, dried fruits, caramel, and more.
- 2-8 ounces chocolate, melted (and tempered if needed)
- optional mix-ins or toppings like toffee bits, cookie pieces, nuts, dried fruits, caramel bits, and more
Pour your melted and tempered pure chocolate or melted compound chocolate (candy melts, melting wafers, confectionery coating, and almond bark) into a candy bar mold, non-stick loaf pan, or rectangle plastic container.
If desired, you can stir your favorite candy bar toppings into the melted chocolate before pouring it into the mold or you can add the ingredients on top of the wet chocolate.
Tap the mold a few times to allow any trapped air bubbles to come to the surface of the chocolate.
Pop the air bubbles using a toothpick or knife.
Then tap the mold a few more times to smooth out the top surface of the chocolate.
Chill pure chocolate candy bars in the refrigerator or compound chocolate (candy melts, etc.) in the freezer for about 10 minutes just until the chocolate hardens.
Remove and un-mold the candy bars.
- Let the chocolate bars come to room temperature before packaging.
- Store homemade chocolate bars at ROOM TEMPERATURE for up to 6 months, depending on the shelf-life of your mix-ins. If you use nuts, it's best to consume the candy bars within a few months.
- The calories listed in this recipe are for one ounce/serving of dark chocolate. The calories in your candy bars will be dependent on the mix-ins and chocolate you use.
- Be sure to check out the blog post for detailed instructions on melting compound or pure chocolate and on tempering pure chocolate. You cannot simply melt pure chocolate that contains cocoa butter to make candy bars. You must temper the chocolate (bring it up to a certain temperature and cool it down to specific temperatures) in order for the chocolate to harden properly so that it can be removed from the mold.
more chocolate recipes
If you don't have any candy bar molds or a loaf pan, you can make chocolate bark instead by spreading your chocolate on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
Chocolate Bark isn't limited to the thickness of a candy bar mold so you can add a variety of toppings or mixins that might not work well in a candy bar mold including potato chips, pretzels, marshmallows, and more.
If you prefer bite-sized chocolates, be sure to check out my Peanut Butter Balls recipe. I had a group of friends taste-test the peanut butter fudge filling to find the very best recipe to use to make homemade peanut butter balls and buckeyes.
If you love Reese's Cups, you've got to check out my Giant Reese's Cup "Thanksgiving Pie" Recipe.
I use the same delicious peanut butter fudge filling to make this jumbo candy bar. You can use the exact same technique to make smaller peanut butter cups too.
If you just aren't into making homemade candy bars, but you want to create a delicious snack using your favorite candy bars, be sure to check out this recipe to make Candy Bar Popcorn.
It's sweet white chocolate popcorn topped with chopped candy bars. It's amazing too! b