Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipe - Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

All week I've been busy putting the finishing touches on my handmade Christmas gifts and doing the prep for my Christmas baking. Usually when I'm baking for a special occasion I like to do a test run the week before to make sure it tastes good (especially if I'm making it for the first time), that way I can make any adjustments to the recipe if needed. With the help of my Twitter friends I figured out what baked goods I want to put in my Christmas tins that I'll be giving as gifts. I finally decided on peppermint bark, gingerbread cookies, marshmallow fudge, and chocolate dipped candy canes.

This weekend I tried out the peppermint bark and it was definitely a winner! This recipe is ridiculously simple, inexpensive to make, and ends up looking gorgeous! Traditional peppermint bark is made with white chocolate but I love the look and flavor of dark chocolate so I went with that instead. I am still deciding if I want to do white chocolate swirls in my next batch. Thoughts?

And without further ado...

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

  • 12 oz quality dark chocolate. I used Ghiradelli's dark chocolate squares.
  • 7 full sized candy canes
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

First thing first, cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Then you'll need to crush your candy canes. You can use a food processor, but be VERY careful! You don't want to grind these into a fine powder; you want chunky! I ended up just using a meat mallet and a cutting board. It got a little messy but worked fine for me.

Next step, melt your chocolate. If you bought chocolate squares you'll want to break them down into small pices so they melt easier. Chocolate chips can just be poured in. You can use a microwave to melt (following the heating instructions on the package, usually 30 seconds or so) but make sure you stir frequently and don't over heat. I prefer to use a double broiler (fancy name for one pot filled with boiling water with another pot or a bowl resting on top) because it's easier to control and I can stir constantly.

Once your chocolate is melted stir in the peppermint extract. Then you're going to pour the melted chocolate onto the cookie sheet spreading it evenly using a wooden spoon. It may be easier to have a helper pour while you spread and you can make it as thick or thin as you like it. Once the chocolate is spread out evenly out to the corners of the cookie sheet you pour the crushed candy canes on top. Make sure you work slow so that you don't run out of the mixture before getting to the other side! The candy canes should cover every inch of chocolate.

Using your fingers, gently press in the candy cane mixture into the chocolate. Then place your cookie sheet in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes. When the chocolate is hard and cold it's time to break it up! You can make various sizes jagged pieces like I did, or make even square pieces. It's completely up to you! Then place them in whatever packaging you like or if you're making it for yourself just store in the fridge in an airtight container!

If you're making this as gifts for several people I would triple the recipe. It keeps well for several days if stored correctly so you can make it a few days in advance. Enjoy!

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