Hello friends! I’m sorry for the long hiatus – year-end at work means lots of meetings and conferences and all sorts of nonsense. But fear not! The holiday season is in full swing, and I finally have some time to play around in my kitchen. Which is beneficial for everyone and everything except for tight holiday dresses.
I get to take off the whole week of Christmas (woohoo!!!) so I won’t be able to bring any treats to work during Christmas week. That being said, I was hard at work in the kitchen today to have some goodies for the upcoming week and I must say, I’m pretty pumped about this whole peppermint bark situation. It’s such a scam this time of year – $25 for a pound from certain specialty kitchen stores that may or may not sound like Shmilliams-Shmamoma? GET RIGHT OUTTA TOWN WITH THAT. For half the price, you can make twice as much *and* take the credit when your friends and family freak out over it and demand to know where it came from!
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, in 1/2-inch pieces – be sure to get a good quality chocolate, and if you decide to go the chocolate bar route be sure to chop it up
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 1 pound white chocolate, in 1/2-inch pieces – it is 100% important to make sure you get white chocolate that has cocoa butter in it, otherwise you’re not getting white chocolate!
- 5 candy canes or 15 starlight peppermints, crushed (the easiest way to do this is to put your candies in a gallon bag and smash them with a rolling pin or can until they’re broken, but not pulverized)
- Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. If you don’t have a 9×13 pan, you can use a 10×15 – that was all I had on hand, and my cookie sheet worked out just fine.
- Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.
- Put all but 3/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water, and if you do make sure to pull the bowl out immediately) NOTE: If you don’t have a bowl, you can rig a smaller saucepan as a double boiler – I had to do both, because my kitchen game is lacking.
- Stir until one-third of the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and keep the steaming water over low heat. Stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl gradually, until all of the chocolate is melted. Return the bowl to the saucepan in 5 to 10 second increments to help melt the chocolate, if necessary. NOTE: If you have never tempered chocolate before (me), be patient with this step as it may take up to 10 minutes to get your chocolate melted and shiny. It’s worth the wait!
- Wipe any moisture off the bottom of the bowl/pan. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, making sure to incorporate fully. Quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set in the freezer until almost set, about 10 minutes – you can also do it at room temperature, but the freezer will help speed the process.
- Meanwhile, put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the same melting/wiping process. Stir in the other 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. NOTE: I used a combination of spreading with a spatula and good ol’ gravity while turning the pan to get an even coat.
- Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Freeze for 2 hours, or allow to firm at room temperature for 1-3 hours. If you happen to live in a humid place like oh, I don’t know, Florida, I would recommend the freezer route.
- Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces by dropping it on the counter, breaking it with your hands, or hitting it against the counter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
There you have it! A deceptively easy and very much impressive holiday sweet treat that you can use for Christmas, Secret Santa, white elephant parties, Hanukkah, and everything in between. Enjoy, and happy holidays!!!