Cooking Corner: Peppermint Bark, a sweet holiday treat

Nicole Stock

Chocolatey bliss with a hint of mint and candy cane crunch makes for a perfect treat this holiday season. With only four ingredients, even a novice chef can whip up this seasonal dessert.

To begin, clear a workspace in your kitchen and prepare a baking sheet with lined parchment paper.

peppermint bark infographic

Next, assemble your ingredients: 24 ounces of semisweet baker’s chocolate, 16 ounces of white baker’s chocolate, six candy canes, and peppermint extract. While the recipe actually calls for half of this amount, I found that if your intended yield is a baking sheet size amount, the results are tastier if you double the ingredients.

However, although you’re doubling the ingredients, do not double all aspects of the recipe. For example, do not try to fill two baking sheets full as this will make your bark too thin—stick to filling one sheet.

Break up both the white and semisweet chocolate bars into approximately six sizable chunks per bar, and then set them aside. Although any baker’s chocolate will do, I recommend using bars of chocolate broken into pieces which melts better in the pan than when you use chocolate chips.

Next, place the candy canes inside a small plastic sandwich bag and use a mallet or wooden spoon to crush the candy canes into small pieces without converting them to peppermint dust. Set the bag aside for later use.

Now you’re ready to heat the chocolate. Using a double boiler pot, let the water come to a boil and place about three quarters of the semisweet chocolate in the top pot. If you do not own a double boiler, you can fill a saucepan with water and then place a heat-safe bowl within the pan for a makeshift solution.

peppermint bark (web)

Setting the heat to a medium level, slowly stir the chocolate continuously and gradually add in the remainder of the semisweet pieces. Once the chocolate is about three quarters melted, take the top pot off of the water and continue to stir until the chocolate is melted thoroughly.

Now add in about a teaspoon and a half of peppermint extract to give the chocolate an extra hint of mint. This is a little less than what the original recipe calls for, but I found that if you add too much extract, the mint is overpowering, especially once the crushed candy cane bits are layered on top.

Spread the melted chocolate on top of the parchment paper in the baking sheet and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool. Making sure it doesn’t harden completely, repeat this process but this time with the white chocolate. After melting the white chocolate and adding the appropriate dose of peppermint extract, spread the white chocolate layer on top of the semisweet chocolate.

As you spread the white chocolate on top, you may accidentally mix the white chocolate and the semi sweet, but don’t worry! This often happens, and could be a result of the semi sweet chocolate not being firm enough. Regardless, it all tastes the same in the end.

Once your white chocolate layer is spread out, sprinkle the crushed up candy canes on the top to your liking. Try to do this right after the white chocolate is placed on the pan, because if you wait too long, the chocolate could harden and the candy cane pieces may not stick!

After you finish sprinkling on the peppermint treats, let your new masterpiece set and cool. After about an hour, the peppermint bark should be cool enough to break into pieces and put on display (or if you’re impatient or hungry, to eat right away!).