As soon as Thanksgiving is over I go into full-on, mad scientist, baking mode. I’m not even joking. I stock pile butter, chocolate, and all things peppermint and just go crazy in the kitchen. I’m one of those people that thinks homemade gifts are best. I mean, do we really need more crap in our lives? Probably not. More food stuffs? Always. If someone wants to provide me with a box of totally wanted calories, I’m not going to refuse that. This is why I’m a rower: so I can eat all the things.
So let me bring you my new series: 12 Days of Christmas Treats. I’m still eating and rating cupcakes, but I’m also baking so many things. For the next 12 days I’ll be showing you my favorite things that I make every year, without fail, and also some new additions to the list. And up first is a holiday favorite, synonymous with the holidays as The Rockefeller Tree, holiday shops in Bryant Park, or spiked hot chocolate. I do live in New York City, after all.
Peppermint Bark is the easiest thing to make because it involves 4 ingredients and also limited cooking. Actually all you need is a microwave. Or you can get all fancy and double boil this into amazing layers of pepperminty chocolate. This is always the first thing I make and ultimately have to make more because I go through half a batch before I actually get to making gift boxes for friends and family. I’m actually on my 2nd batch as we speak. I’m in love with this and you will be too.
12 oz. dark chocolate
12 oz. white chocolate
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
butter or shortening, as needed
Crushed candy canes
Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler until smooth. Add 3/4 tsp peppermint oil and mix.
Pour and spread in prepared 9×13 pan. Allow to set at room temp for 10-15 minutes, then set in refrigerator for 5 mins. Chocolate should be set but not hard.
Add white chocolate in a bowl, add 3/4 tsp of peppermint oil.
Melt white chocolate over double boiler or in microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals. See note below, if your chocolate begins to seize (turn into a clump)
Working quickly, spread white chocolate over dark chocolate, spreading carefully with a spatula so layers do not mix.
Sprinkle crushed candy canes over top and press in gently
Allow to set at too, temperature for 10-15 minutes, then place in fridge to harden.
Break apart and hoard all the chocolatey goodness.
Note: after several years of making this multiple times, I’ve developed some tricks to make sure your peppermint bark is picture perfect and doesn’t separate:
- Make sure you use white chocolate, not chips. White chocolate chips do not contain cocoa butter which helps in melting chocolate into smoothy goodness. Ever had a problem with melting white chocolate and having it seize up? That’s because there isn’t any cocoa butter. It can be hard to find pure white chocolate so you can use a combo of white chocolate (containing cocoa butter) and white chocolate chips. I’ve done that before and the layers didn’t separate. I prefer to use Bakers Bar for my white chocolate which I find at Target.
- White chocolate can be finicky and has a tendency to seize, but if this happens, there is a quick fix. Add a little bit of bitter or shortening (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to mix. Your white chocolate will turn back into glossy goodness in no time.
- Another trick is to make sure you add the white chocolate layer while its still slightly tacky. If it has already hardened completely it will be more likely to separate.