Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipe: Peppermint Bark

 Peppermint Bark is a traditional Christmas treat.  It is sold at grocery stores, specialty store like Williams Sonoma and candy counters.  In reality, is is super easy to make and fun to personalize for a gift.
Candy "barks" can be made with almost any type of chocolate or even "candy coating"- various colored candy pellets that are used in place of chocolate.
The chocolate or faux chocolate is melted until smooth, flavorings or colors can be added if desired.  The molten candy is then spread out and studded with whatever goodies you want.  These goodies include little candies (like M&M's or Reeces pieces) dried fruit, nuts, pretzels or in this case, peppermint.

I prefer the goodies to be chopped up finely or pulverized if using a hard candy.  I like to have a small piece of bark that doesn't have large add ins... But, some people might prefer a larger texture add in.

I have a marble slab that I use to help cool the bark.  But, you can place it in the refrigerator to harden.
Either way, I put a layer of tin foil and covered that with parchment.  You can line a baking sheet this way, use a decorative mold or even an ice tray.

1 package white chocolate chips (sometimes white chocolate is sold as Almond bark, even though it contains no almonds.  I think it refers to the color).
1/4 package milk chocolate chips
4 candy canes, pulverized

Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate in separate bowls.  I used the microwave, but you can use a double boiler.  If you use a microwave, start one cycle at 50% power for 90 seconds.  Then at 50% power for 15 second intervals until melted.  Stir after each cycle.  It is better to melt chocolate at low temperatures than risk burning it.  Also, make sure all your tools are completely dry.  Any water or liquid will cause the chocolate to seize and become a mess.

Spread your first layer on the parchment paper.  My first layer was the white chocolate.  After I finished with the white chocolate layer, I melted the milk chocolate and immediately formed the top layer by drizzling it back and forth.  Some people prefer to let the first layer set up and harden.
Then, sprinkle the crushed peppermint onto the still wet chocolate and let harden.
Cut into jagged pieces when done and store in a tin or plastic bags.

Some people like to add peppermint oil to the chocolate.  I think that the addition of crushed peppermint is enough mint flavor, but alter the recipe as you see fit.

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