Homemade Peppermint Bark: An Easy Recipe for DIY Holiday Gifting – Wall Street Journal

December 2, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized



Danny Kim for The Wall Street Journal

AS A CHILD I liked only one holiday treat better than candy canes snitched off our Christmas tree: the peppermint bark my mother brought home from a local chocolatier. The cool flavor and crunch of the minty hard candy contrasted so irresistibly with the rich layers of semi-sweet and white chocolate that I invariably gobbled up my allotment long before the actual holiday rolled around.

As an adult I bought my bark from Williams Sonoma for years. It never occurred to me to whip it up myself until a friend made me a gift of her handiwork a few years ago. If culinarily challenged Ginny could produce a bang-up peppermint bark at home, why not me?

Calling for only four ingredients, Ginny’s recipe is absurdly easy to pull off. I like to combine white and dark chocolates, but you can use just one, or replace one or both with milk chocolate, if you prefer. The only imperative is to use good chocolate, as the quality of the ingredients will come through clearly in the finished product.

If you like the idea of lightening up the chocolate with a little crackle and pop, consider swirling some Rice Krispies, crushed Oreos or Nilla Wafer pieces into the bottom layer of chocolate while it’s still hot. Avoid adding these to the top layer, which should be reserved for the defining blizzard of red-and-white peppermint candy.

I’ve found that peppermint bark always makes a welcome gift, packaged in a nice box or tin. If you end up with a surplus, chop up the odd pieces and use them as an add-in for cookie batter and ice cream. Or brighten a spread of holiday desserts by strewing colorful shards of bark over frosted cakes, cupcakes and brownies.

Peppermint Bark

Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 1¼ hours Makes: about 2½ pounds bark

  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
  • ½ pound white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups peppermint candy canes, cut into chunks with a large knife or placed in a plastic bag and lightly broken up with a rolling pin or kitchen mallet

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing some excess to hang over sides.

2. Spread semisweet chocolate chips in an even layer on parchment paper. Place in oven until almost melted, 5 minutes. Remove from oven and smooth with an offset spatula or knife. Set aside.

3. Set a metal bowl over a pot to create a double boiler. Add enough water to pot to reach just below bottom of bowl. Heat water to a steady simmer. Add white chocolate chips to bowl. Heat until almost melted. Remove bowl from pot, add peppermint extract and stir until chocolate is completely melted.

4. Pour melted white chocolate over still slightly soft semisweet chocolate and, working quickly, spread to cover. (The two layers may marble a bit.) Sprinkle crushed candy over top, then use your hands to press candy into chocolate.

5. Chill bark in refrigerator until both layers are firm, 1 hour. Grip paper to lift bark out of pan and transfer to a cutting board. Insert tip of a large heavy knife into bark and apply pressure to break into pieces. Bark will keep in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or refrigerated up to 6 weeks.