Holiday Classics: Peppermint Bark

Dec 2, 2014

Handmade gifts are the best kind, particularly when they're edible and prettily packaged. Some of the season's best recipes are the ones that make delicious gifts. Offering them to friends is much more than a small gesture -- it's a personal one, showing the best sentiments of the season.
 

Jennifer Chandler's Peppermint Bark
Credit Jennifer Chandler

Peppermint Bark is the gift I make every year.

Starting the weekend of Thanksgiving, production begins. My family has even nicknamed our kitchen “The Peppermint Bark Factory”!  Year after year, we make pounds of it for friends, family, and teachers.

I first learned how to make homemade candies from a free class I took at Mary Carter Decorating Center.

Here’s Christy Roberts from Mary Carter about their classes.

“We teach classes all year long but during the holidays we have some special classes Our last one will be this Sunday and we will be showing peppermint bark, chocolate covered cherries, and petit fours dipped in chocolate.”

There are many recipes for peppermint bark. Some use only white chocolate, others use red and green candies.  I use both dark chocolate and white chocolate and top mine with crushed candy canes.  

Here are a few tips when melting chocolate:

Use tempered chocolate made for candy making. Often called “Candy Melts,” this chocolate will set up with a chocolate candy texture after melting.

Do not over heat your chocolate. “Hot water is all you need to melt the chocolate. You do not need to put it over boiling water.”

Stir constantly to help the chocolate melt quickly and to prevent scorching.

Make sure your equipment is completely dry. Moisture can cause the chocolate to seize and become hard.

Peppermint Bark

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) dark chocolate candy melts
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) white chocolate candy melts
  • 5 large candy canes

Line an 11 x 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the dark chocolate candy melts in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water and stir constantly until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the peppermint extract.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly.

Refrigerate until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate candy melts in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water and stir constantly until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Working quickly to prevent the dark chocolate from melting, spread the white chocolate evenly over the top of the dark chocolate.

Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the top.

Refrigerate until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Break into pieces before packaging or serving. Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

Cooking tip: Crush the candy canes in a food processor or place them in a heavy duty sealed bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them.