To me, the flavor of peppermint truly embodies the essence of the Christmas holiday season. Those old fashioned red and white stripes and the cool, wintery tingle on your tongue signal that Christmas is just around the corner. Peppermint bark is a classic holiday treat that Williams Sonoma has somehow laid claim to. I remember the first time I saw peppermint bark on the shelves, I thought it was a Christmas food miracle. Prepared to pay the outrageous sticker price, I grabbed a brightly colored box and skipped eagerly to the register. Luckily, I never made it there. A sage and not-so-susceptible friend pointed out the simplicity of the ingredients and suggested we try to make peppermint bark at home in order to save our pennies. The idea was genius- the true Christmas miracle of this story. I promptly replaced the box of peppermint bark on the shelf and went home to my kitchen laboratory to concoct the enticing confection. It was a success and I’ve been making it nearly each Christmas ever since.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Parchment paper (this isn’t an actual ingredient, but I hate when recipes truly require parchment, but don’t list it as an ingredient so I don’t realize I need it until I’ve gone to the store and picked up all the ingredients, only to get home and realize I don’t have any parchment)
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermints (hard candy discs or you could use candy canes as well)
- 1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
- 1 bag (or 2 baking bars) Ghirardelli milk chocolate
- 1 bag (or 2 baking bars) Ghirardelli white chocolate
To start, line a cookie sheet or pan with parchment paper. Next, on low to med heat, melt the bag of milk chocolate on the stove top. You could use a double boiler for this, but if you use quality chocolate with high cocoa butter content you don’t need a double boiler to melt it. It will melt beautifully on its on so long as you keep a close eye on it and stir frequently. This will only take a few minutes.
Next, pour the melted chocolate on the parchment and spread out into a nice, long and thin rectangle, like painting a canvas.
Pop the tray into the freezer. While the chocolate is freezing, get started crushing your peppermints. You could use this method.
I prefer using the food processor. Pulverize into a magical peppermint fairy dust.
Sift out any of the bigger pieces and re-chop if necessary. If you prefer bigger pieces, you could certainly use them as is.
Move on to the white chocolate. Melt the white chocolate using the same technique as the milk chocolate. Add the peppermint extract at this point.
Remove the pan of frozen milk chocolate from the freezer and pour the white chocolate over top. Spread it out evenly so that it makes a thin top coat.
Sprinkle the peppermint dust on top (pat it down gently with your hand so that the peppermint crumbs set into the chocolate) and place back into the freezer until the white chocolate has frozen through.
While you wait, dip the white chocolate spatula into the leftover crushed peppermints and enjoy. Yum.
Once the chocolate is frozen (after 30 min or so), remove it from the freezer and use your fingers to break it into misshapen pieces of bark. You may want to cover it with an extra piece of parchment or a paper towel so that the peppermint bits don’t fly everywhere.
Serve on a bed of crushed peppermints or in your favorite holiday tin. Peppermint bark is a delightful holiday treat for parties and also makes a wonderful guest for any host. Plus, it’s a breeze to transport.
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