Posted by: njbrown | November 28, 2011

Christmas Peppermint Bark


Christmas Peppermint Bark

With about four weeks until Christmas, I’ve been getting catalogs that offer peppermint bark as one of their gift suggestions.  I’m always amused and amazed by the $25+ price of the tins, and I have often thought how simple it must be to make the bark.  Sure enough, recipes are readily available, and it is as easy as I imagined.  Even using high-quality chocolate, the result is a fraction of the price of what the specialty stores sell.

Since the recipe below does not call for tempered chocolate, the bark needs to be refrigerated, but I think that is a manageable limitation.  For those who are comfortable tempering chocolate, modifying the preparation would be straightforward.

Stephanie Jaworski who has the Joy of Baking.com site with a multitude of excellent recipes points out that the better the chocolate, the better the bark.  She recommends Ghirardelli, Guittard, Lindt, Perugina, Scharffen Berger, Callebaut, and Valrhona for dark chocolate, and Lindt, Callebaut or even Baker’s for white chocolate.  It is important when buying white chocolate to see that it contains cocoa butter to get the delicious flavor you want.  Unfortunately, I still have not found a source for other than Callebaut in large quantities in this area.  For my bark, I used Callebaut for the first batch of white, but having used it up, resorted to Baker’s white for the second batch.  I think both were equally enjoyable.

Peppermint Bark

(Makes about 20 pieces)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 oz. high-quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Approximately 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (or red and white peppermints)

Directions:

  1. Put candy canes or peppermint candies into small plastic bag and seal.  Use meat mallet or heavy rolling-pin to crush.  Pour into mesh strainer to separate the candy “dust” from the pieces, and tap strainer gently against one hand until candy “dust” is strained out.  Reserve candy pieces.
  2. Melt dark chocolate with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in bowl over almost simmering water
  3. Pour melted dark chocolate into 8 by 8 inch baking pan lined with tin foil – use small off-set spatula to smooth and work into corners
  4. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until set
  5. Melt white chocolate with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract  in bowl over almost simmering water
  6. Pour melted white chocolate over set dark chocolate – use small off-set spatula to smooth and work into corners
  7. Immediately pour candy pieces over the white chocolate layer, and gently press pieces into the warm chocolate.
  8. Refrigerate until firm.
  9. Remove from baking pan and peel foil off.
  10. Break into irregular pieces.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Can be kept in refrigerator for up to two weeks)

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