Peppermint Bark

What is it about peppermint and chocolate that just screams Christmas? It’s a classic combo, and for good reason. If you’re looking for a holiday treat that appeals to the eyes and the tastebuds, this Peppermint Bark is perfect. Layers of semi-sweet and white chocolate, cool mint and crunchy candy canes – it’s great for gifting, sharing or snacking. Nut and gluten-free too!

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I know promised you cookies all of December, but in a twist of events, you’re getting a couple of easy Christmas candy recipes. I had a carefully planned blogging calendar, but a crazy sub schedule, a week of being sick and a few recipe fails have thrown wrenches into my plans. I’m on plan C or D at this point and kind of flying by the seat of my pants from here on out (which totally goes against all my instincts, but I’ll make it work!)

Peppermint bark was one of the first items on my Christmas baking list. It’s so festive, and since it’s nut free, it’s perfect for sharing at school.

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You’ll need white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, crushed candy canes, peppermint extract and a little bit of oil.

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Chocolate chips work in a pinch, but baking chocolate will melt more smoothly. Here I’m using white chocolate wafers from the bulk food store and Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (that I sent my husband to get mid-way through this recipe when I discovered I didn’t have any!)

 

Chop half the white chocolate into small chunks and melt it with ½ teaspoon of the oil. You can use a double boiler if you have one, but I prefer the microwave. On defrost (or 50% power), heat the chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring with a rubber spatula each time. Take it out when there are still a few small chunks, and stir until smooth. It takes about 1:20 in my microwave, but they’re all different, so keep a close eye on your chocolate. This helps avoid the trauma of scorched chocolate!

When the chocolate is melted, stir in half of the peppermint extract.

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Pour the chocolate out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into a smooth, even layer.

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Put the baking sheet in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes. The chocolate should be firm but not completely set. You want the layers to stick together, but not to mix together or separate.

In the meantime, chop up the semi-sweet chocolate. A large, sharp serrated knife works best. Wash the offset spatula and dry thoroughly, you’ll need it again!

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Melt it with another ½ teaspoon of oil and stir in the rest of the peppermint extract.

Pour the semi-sweet chocolate over the hardened white chocolate. Try to drizzle it over the surface, rather than in one big blob, to make spreading easier.

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Spread the chocolate evenly over the first layer. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t perfect – bark is all about looking a little rustic.

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Chill for another 20 minutes.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and oil (we’re not adding extract to this layer.)

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Pour the white chocolate over the semi-sweet layer. This layer can be a little finicky – but a few swirls of chocolate in the white chocolate is not the end of the world! When you’re pouring the melted chocolate on, cover as much of the surface as you can to make spreading easier. Use your offset spatula and work gently but quickly.

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Sprinkle crushed candy canes all over the surface of the bark.

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You can certainly crush them yourself (work out some of the holiday stress!) but I just buy them pre-crushed from the bulk food bin. Now I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the bag…

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Chill the bark until fully set, about an hour.

Remove the bark from the parchment paper, and cut into pieces with a sharp knife (or break into pieces.)

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Doesn’t that look just like Christmas!

 

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Some variations:

Use semi-sweet chocolate for the top and bottom layer, with white chocolate in the middle. Just swap the required amounts of chocolate. You can also just make one layer of semi-sweet and one layer of white.

 

Instead of a baking sheet, make the bark in a 8 or 9 inch square pan (lined with parchment or foil.) This gives you a thicker bark with straight edges – great if you want to cut into nice clean squares.

Enjoy!

 

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped and divided
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ½ ounces canola, vegetable or coconut oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 3 tablespoons crushed candy cane

Directions:

Melt 6 ounces of white chocolate with ½ teaspoon oil.

When the chocolate is melted, stir in ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract.

Pour the chocolate out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into a smooth, even layer.

Put the baking sheet in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes, until firm but not completely set.

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate with another ½ teaspoon of oil, then stir in the rest of the peppermint extract.

Pour the semi-sweet chocolate over the hardened white chocolate and spread it evenly over the first layer.

Chill for another 20 minutes.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and oil.

Pour the white chocolate over the semi-sweet layer and spread it evenly.

Sprinkle crushed candy canes all over the surface of the bark.

Chill the bark until fully set, about an hour.

Remove the bark from the parchment paper, and cut into pieces with a sharp knife (or break into pieces.)

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