Monday, December 17, 2012

how to make peppermint bark

Cheers to a brilliant, easy, Christmassy gift idea that doubles as a dessert!    I've never tried making (or  eating) peppermint bark before, but I've recently become acquainted with it and I reckon it's a common holiday treat.  I learned this recipe from a girl named Allie, whom I've had the privilege of meeting during my short stay in Vegas.  

You Will Need:

8 oz semisweet chocolate
8 oz white chocolate
Candy canes or peppermint candy

How To Make Peppermint Bark:

STEP 1: Crush the candy canes (or peppermint candy).  Make about 1/3 cup of crushed candy, then set this aside.

Note:  The finer the candy bits are, the less they will stick to the chocolate later on, so you'd want to make the pieces rather coarse, not pulverized.  About the size of rice grains.  We used a kitchen knife today, but I think using a mortar-and-pestle is a smarter option.

STEP 2:  Melt the brown chocolate using a double boiler.  If you don't have a double boiler, improvise with two saucepans:  boil water in one saucepan, and put another pan on top of that one.  Place the chocolate in the top pan.  The steam from the bottom pan will rise to the top pan, melting the chocolate nicely.

It's important to use this double-boiling method so as not to scald the chocolate.  Burnt chocolate = gross = not good.

(Uh ...  I'm really no good at photo-documentation because I get distracted so easi... oh look, a teddy bear!  I'm so sorry I wasn't able to take shots of the other steps. *sheepish grin*  )

STEP 3:  Pour the melted chocolate in a cake pan. Spread with a spatula to make a nice, even first layer.

The size of the pan you use would depend on how thick you want your peppermint bark to be.  We wanted ours to be real thin, so we used a 10x12 pan to make quarter-inch-thick pieces.  A smaller pan of course will yield thicker layers.  A rectangular or square pan is ideal, but I suppose a round one will do if you're not the type of person to obsess over even-sized pieces.

STEP 4:  Stick the pan into the freezer until the chocolate hardens.

STEP 5:  Melt the white chocolate this time.  Pour the molten white chocolate over the hardened brown chocolate layer - and similarly, spread to make it even.  Let cool.

STEP 6:  Before the white chocolate hardens, sprinkle the crushed candy canes over it.  Let this sit in the freezer awhile to let it solidify completely.

STEP 7:  Slice into neat, even-sized 2-inch squares.

Okay, fine.  It isn't so easy to slice them neatly.  Irregular, uneven pieces are an excellent idea too.  You can tell your friends later that this adds character.  :)

6 to 8 regular servings, or
2 candy-lover servings

Prep time:1 hour (it depends on your freezer's capabilities, actually)

Serving Suggestions:

I think peppermint bark is pretty straightforward, but I imagine it would look good with green jellybean garnish and / or those edible sparkly thingies.
Several pieces in a clear candy bag tied with Christmassy ribbons would make nice giveaways.

* All photos in this entry are mine.