I make lots of sweets this time of year. Partly because it reminds me of my grandmother, partly because I want my kids to remember the homemade treats as one of the joys of Christmastime, and partly because I believe in homemade gifts.
Anyway, I thought it was time to extend my repertoire, so yesterday I tried my hand at making peppermint bark. You know, a layer of dark chocolate, then a layer of peppermint-flavored white chocolate, topped with crushed peppermint.
It turned out delicious! It's intense, so a little goes a long way.
And it's easy. There's not any real cooking involved. You do have to be patient when melting the chocolate so it doesn't scorch, but really anyone can make this. Wrap some in a cellophane bag, tie it with a festive ribbon, and you've got a great gift! (If the kids do't eat it all first!)
All you need is semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint extract, and some peppermint candies. The key is to use the best quality chocolate you can get. I used Ghirardelli (which I highly recommend), and it was fabulous!
Here's what you do:
Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with foil. Crush some peppermint candies (you'll need about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, crushed, depending on how chunky you want it).
Melt 8 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate (chop it into pieces first). You can do this in the microwave, following the directions on the package. But be careful! You will ruin the chocolate if you overheat it. If it's melted even halfway, start stirring, keep stirring, and then stir some more, and the rest will probably melt. Once it's smooth, pour the melted chocolate into the foil-lined pan (spread into an even layer) and let it set up (about 20 minutes).
Melt 6 ounces of chopped white chocolate. Just like with the semisweet chocolate, follow the directions on the package. Stir, stir, stir. When it's smooth, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. (I tinted it pink with food coloring, but I'm not sure I would do that again.) Pour this over the hardened semisweet chocolate (spread it into an even layer), and sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies over the top.
Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Use the foil to lift the peppermint bark out of the pan. Place it on a cutting board, and break it into pieces. You'll probalby need to use a knife to help break it apart. Like I said before, a little goes a long way, so I made small pieces. (You can always eat more than one!)
Keep some for your family, and give some to your friends. It's a merry Christmas confection!