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Peppermint Bark

December 21, 2009

Baking is something I feel comfortable doing.  For a typical cookie recipe all I have to do is mix together the ingredients, pop the pan in the oven, come back 10 minutes later and I’ve got freshly baked cookies.  Voila!

Making candy, on the other hand, scares me.  You need a special thermometer and if things don’t get to the right temperature your candy probably won’t turn out right.  I’m a fan of winging it, and it doesn’t seem like you can do that with candy.

Peppermint bark was my foray into the candy world, and I was pleasantly surprised by a) how easy it was and b) how down-right tasty it turned out. (Then again, it was essentially melted chocolate, crushed candy canes and cream– how could that not be easy or delicious?)

This is definitely going to become a holiday staple from here on out.  It was perfect for making while cookies were baking since the cooling time is flexible (it’s okay if you leave it in the fridge for another 10 minutes) and it comes together so easily.

The one down-side to peppermint bark is that it’s a bit pricey to make.  You need a whooping pound and half of high quality chocolate, according to the recipe, and I used Baker’s.  When shopping for white chocolate, make sure cocoa butter is included on the ingredient list and that the product is called “white chocolate,” not “white morsels” or the like.  Both Hershey’s and Ghirradeli white chips are not actually chocolate.  However, Ghiradelli white bars are chocolate.  Confusing, huh?

That being said, go find yourself some white chocolate and make this peppermint bark.  Chances are you already have semi-sweet chocolate and candy canes (which you can use in place of peppermint candies), so you’ve already got most of the ingredients!  Or maybe you’re looking for a last-minute addition to your holiday cookie tray or you need a quick gift for your office mates. Or maybe, like me,  you’re nervous about making a dessert that doesn’t involve flour and an oven, but you’re interested in trying to make candy.  Either way, give this peppermint bark a try and I know you’ll love it!

Layered Peppermint Bark

(Taken exactly as written from Bon Appetit)

  • 17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), finely chopped
  • 30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
  • 7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream (If you don’t like counting out 6 tablespoons, you can also measure out 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons, which is the equivalent of 6 tbsp)
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

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