Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark makes a great holiday recipe. Dark or semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed peppermint candies. What could be easier, or tastier?

It's also a perfect homemade holiday gift, and much cheaper when you make it yourself.

Step 1: Gather tools and ingredients

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
You'll need:peppermint1 candy (Candy canes, sticks, whatever you can find that's cheap and tasty.)1 pound chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or milk)1/2 pound white chocolatewaxed paperglass bowlheat-proof spatulafood processor, blender, mortar and pestle, or bag and heavy whacking object2 glass or metal pans, 9"x11" or larger1Note that it doesn't have to be peppermint- this recipe works equally well with any hard candy, so peppermint haters should feel free to substitute spearmint, cinnamon, or fruit candies as taste and availability dictate.

Step 2: Prep pans

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Line your pans with waxed paper.
It should curl up to protect the sides, too. Crease the corners so it behaves.

Step 3: Crunch peppermint candies

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Crunch up your peppermint (or other favorite) candies into small bits.I used a food processor, but you could use a blender, a plastic bag and heavy whacking object, or even a mortar and pestle.Whir or whack away, making sure to break down all of those big pieces into small-enough chunks. You can dump out the small bits then re-process the big ones until they're useful.Mechanical means will likely produce a fine powder as well (we call this "weaponized"1 peppermint), which you'll want to separate from the small chunks by means of a sieve. It's too fine to sprinkle on top, but is great for adding directly into the chocolate for extra pepperminty flavor.1 Do not inhale powder. It burns the mucous membranes. And no, it's not anthrax.

Step 4: Melt chocolate

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chop your chocolate (the dark stuff) into smaller chunks, and add to a dry1 microwaveable bowl.Microwave in 15-sec bursts, stirring between. Total time will vary depending on quantity of chocolate and microwave strength, but it's still only a couple of minutes.Optional: stir in bits of weaponized peppermint for extra kick.1Water interferes with proper chocolate-melting, so keep it out of your bowl!

Step 5: Pour

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Pour your smooth, melted chocolate into the waxed paper-lined pans. Use the heat-proof spatula to spread it evenly about the pans.

You want it to be about 1/4" thick. Much thinner and it will crack; much thicker and it won't be bark.

Step 6: Melt and add white chocolate

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chop the white chocolate into meltable chunks, add to a dry microwavable bowl, and microwave in 15-sec bursts, stirring between. (Yup, same as the regular chocolate.)

Optional: stir in a couple of scoops of peppermint candy powder for added pepperminty flavor.

When the dark chocolate layer has thickened but is still a bit tacky to the touch, gently pour in the white chocolate, then smooth it out with a heat-proof spatula.
(If the dark chocolate has set too far the layers may delaminate (separate) during cutting, but if it's still soupy you might accidentally mix the layers.)

Try to pour it over in a smooth layer to minimize the amount of necessary spatulation. You don't want to disturb the dark chocolate layer- just skim the white chocolate over top of it.

Step 7: Sprinkle with candy

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
As soon as possible, sprinkle your crushed bits of peppermint candy over the still-soft white chocolate.

Press large pieces down a bit to make sure they stick.

Set aside in a cool, safe place to allow chocolate to solidify.

Step 8: Chop, serve, and store

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Remove the entire chocolate brick in its waxed paper wrapper from the pan, and set it on a cutting board. Gently peel off the waxed paper.

Use a large, thin, sharp knife to cut the block of chocolate into squares, or use your hands to break it into manageable chunks.

Pile on a plate to serve, then store leftovers (if you've got any!) in an airtight plastic container.
 
 

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