Wed
17
Dec 08

DIY Peppermint Bark

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My undisputed favorite holiday treat is peppermint bark. I'm not a big chocolate-lover, but there's something about the combination of chocolate and mint that just hits me in the right spot. After noticing that various purveyors have been jacking up their prices for peppermint bark, I set out to make some of my own.

plated peppermint bark

Here's the tricky thing. I've not yet learned to temper chocolate. The chocolate you purchase in the store is already tempered. However, the act of melting it breaks down the crystal structure of the chocolate effectively removing it from temper. In order to temper it again, its cooling must be carefully controlled as the chocolate is worked to allow its crystal structure to form fully. This dense crystal structure is what gives the cooled chocolate a shiny surface, a pleasant snap when bitten into or broken, and a minimally increased resistance to melting in your hand.

peppermint bark

The following recipe will produce peppermint bark that is best stored in the refrigerator and consumed while still cool. If left to come to room temperature, it's very likely to become a pliable, melt-quickly-in-your-hand mess. Fortunately the cool refrigerator temperature enhances the minty peppermint, and once the bark is in your mouth, it melts just as luxuriously as plain chocolate does. And it tastes just like Christmas.

PEPPERMINT BARK

6 oz dark chocolate (I used 70% cacao content El Rey chocolate) – cut into small pieces if in block form
8 oz white chocolate – cut into small pieces if in block form
1 teaspoon peppermint oil, separated
¼ cup crushed peppermint

Begin by preparing an 8" x 8" pan by carefully lining it with wax paper. I did this by cutting out two pieces that were roughly as wide as the pan and about twice as long. Then I laid them in the pan perpendicular to each other, taking care to allow the long edges to hang over the pan edges.

Next, melt the dark chocolate and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the peppermint oil.

Carefully spread this along the bottom of prepared pan, smoothing it and working it to the corners with a rubber spatula. Place this in the refrigerator till firm, at least 30 minutes.

If you haven't done so already, crush your peppermint. (There are many methods for doing this. My approach is to put the intended amount of peppermint into a heavy freezer bag, then squish the air out of the bag and seal it. Next I take my favorite heavy implement - in this case, my meat tenderizer though a pub glass or a frying pan would work - and pound on the peppermint till it's as crushed as I like.)

Next, melt the white chocolate and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint oil. You will notice that I call for more white chocolate than dark. I've tried the recipe with equal amounts, but when dumping the hot white chocolate on the dark, it's very easy to get dark streaks of melted chocolate showing through the white. Making that layer a bit thicker makes it easier to spread out without causing streaking.

Spread this on top of the chilled dark chocolate, again smoothing and working it into the corners with a rubber spatula. As soon as it's spread out, sprinkle the peppermint on top. Place this into the refrigerator till completely chilled, at least an hour.

Break the chocolate into serving-sized chunks. If the chocolate bends when you try to break it, stick it back in the refrigerator for a while longer.

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» Comments

  1. Judy says

    That looks really good! I think I made bark last year and had some trouble...

    December 17, 2008 8:40 AM
  2. Jessie says

    Thanks so much for the great recipe. It looks amazing! I'm with you on the chocolate tempering, tho maybe I'll see if I can figure it out if I have time after the holidays...

    +Jessie

    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

    December 17, 2008 11:32 AM
  3. HoneyB says

    yum, yum, yum, yum!

    December 17, 2008 6:52 PM
  4. This looks really wonderful. Thank you for the recipe :)

    December 18, 2008 7:40 AM
  5. April says

    Thanks, all of you - I appreciate the kind words. I have the goods to try it again to see if I can convince the chocolate to keep its temper. Wish me luck!

    December 18, 2008 10:07 AM
  6. White chocolate and peppermint - how delicious!

    December 18, 2008 6:33 PM
  7. Jude says

    It's really difficult to temper chocolate -- probably one of the hardest skills to do in the kitchen.

    December 22, 2008 2:31 AM
  8. noobcook says

    How beautiful... I absolutely adore peppermint =)

    December 23, 2008 12:12 AM
  9. April says

    @Natasha @noobcook - thank you! It was fun to make and easily my favorite dessert from the holidays.

    @Jude - That makes me feel better - I appreciate it. I do still have the goods in the cupboard to try it again - will see how it goes.

    December 29, 2008 9:01 AM
  10. James says

    www.amazon.com/.../b

    February 4, 2014 11:59 AM

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