Monday, December 14, 2009

Peppermint Bark

PhotobucketI have a feeling this is going to become a Christmas family tradition in our home. The trick good bark is good chocolate--don't get the cheap, waxy stuff. I went to Kitchen Kneads and bought several pounds of their Guittard Old Dutch, and some of their good white chocolate (I can't remember the brand). I have heard that Bob's Candycanes are the best, not Spangler, but I found that out after I had already bought several boxes of Spangler. You can make this anyway you want--I added more milk chocolate (about 1/4 lb. more) than what the recipe called for. You can use dark chocolate, or any combination you want. Some people use all white. It's totally up to you!

1 lb (16 oz) chocolate (I like milk)
12 oz white chocolate
1/4-3/4 t peppermint extract (I only used 1/4 and it was perfect-not too strong)
Seven 6-inch candy canes (maybe more)

-Line bottom of jelly roll size baking sheet with foil.
-Bring water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler (I don't have one so I just used a pot and a stainless steel bowl over the top of it. Make sure it's a good fit so not a lot of steam gets out on the chocolate, and the water in the pot should not touch the bottom of your bowl).
-Once boiling, remove from heat. Put in milk chocolate and constantly stir until all melted.
-Pour into your lined baking sheet and spread so thickness is just under a quarter of an inch. I jiggle the pan back and forth on a flat surface to get the chocolate nice and even and flat.
-Let chocolate sit a little then put in fridge (or outside in the cold garage or porch) and let set-up for 20 minutes.
-While first layer is chilling, crush candy canes. A hammer works great--careful for a rolling pin, they will put dents in it. Freezer bags are a little stronger and will hopefully end up with less holes in them. I like the candy canes nice and fine with slight chunks here and there.
-Take pan out of fridge and let it warm slightly at room temp for a couple minutes before adding the white layer. This will help the white layer to adhere better so that when you break up the bark the layers won't separate.
-Repeat the double boiling process for the white chocolate. Don't use soap when rinsing your bowl from the milk chocolate, just rinse with hot water and melt the white.
-I added the peppermint extract to the white layer, but you can do it any way you want. Mix it in well then spread white carefully on top of milk chocolate. Careful, it will start melting the chocolate underneath it, so be careful when spreading or else you'll get a swirl effect going on.
-Jiggle pan again to even out. Immediately sprinkle candy canes on top. I completely covered the bark very generously until no white chocolate was really showing.
-Let set in fridge or cold for 20 minutes. Then stab and break apart with a knife. It will split nicely when it's really cold, but if you want more uniform pieces let it warm up a little and you can just cut with a knife how you want it.
-Makes just under 2 lbs of candy.

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