Friday, December 01, 2006

Peppermint Bark

picture from Williams-Sonoma

Every Christmas I make candy to send to grandparents and take to neighbors. I slave over the caramels and toffee, carefully stirring and watching the temperature and then cutting and wrapping each individual caramel. But the candy that gets eaten first and gets the best reviews is the peppermint bark, which embarrassingly is soooo super easy I can't even call it MAKING candy. It really is just reworking existing candy. For these reasons I'm reticent to give up my recipe. Years ago I started with a recipe and reworked it a little, but don't really use exact measurements, sorry. You can't really mess it up. Just experiment with the proportions until you get something you like and everyone else will too. Depending on where you live, gathering the ingredients might be somewhat of a chore. Try craft stores or candy making supply stores if you can find what you need at your regular grocery store. This candy makes super great teacher, neighbor, co-worker, bus driver gift; just package it in a cellophane bag with a cute ribbon or in a fancy box or tin.

Erin's Peppermint Bark
1 pkg. candy canes, unwrapped and crushed (place in thick ziploc and bang with a rolling pin or hammer)
4+ cups white chocolate (look for one that has cocoa butter in it, use the white chocolate wafers for candy making that you find at craft stores only as a last resort)
1/2-1 t. peppermint extract (you can use mint, but peppermint is better)
1 bag milk chocolate chips (you can use semisweet, but I prefer milk)

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Melting the chocolate won't take long. Take off the heat before chocolate is entirely melted and stir until smooth. Add peppermint to taste. Spread in ungreased 12x7 jelly roll pan. Place in freezer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle top with milk chocolate chips. Completely cover the white chocolate if you want layers of chocolate, or sprinkle in rows if you want a more marbled look. Place in warm (350) oven until milk chocolate is nearly melted (2-5 minutes). Spread with rubber spatula to smooth or marble. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Place in freezer until hard (12+ minutes). Break from pan and store. (If you want yours to look like Williams-Sonoma bark, start with the milk chocolate in the oven, then pour the melted white chocolate on top and sprinkle with candy.)


liz s said...

i was just going to call you today about this recipe! they were SO YUMMY last year when you made them. Thaks! I'm totally going to try it this year.

Megan said...

Thanks Erin, I'm so excited to try it.

Elizabeth said...

What is a jelly roll pan? Thanks for the idea - they will be perfect to give my mean neighbhor who smokes and drives us crazy, maybe he will join the church and stop making our house stink (see Dec. Ensign) :)

Design Mom said...

This is my favorite part of Christmas.

liz s said...

okay questions:
1. block white chocolate or chips? what brand do you recommend?
2. do you mix cream or anything with the white chocolate when you melt it?
3. what is a jelly roll pan, is that a cookie sheet with sides?
4. don't you think it would be easier if you came over and made it for me?

Erin said...

jelly roll pans are the big cookie sheets with high sides, what most people think of as cookie sheets. I've used both chips and blocks. In general I think blocks are better but chips are good too. Just look for cocoa butter in the ingredients. Don't mix anything with the white chocolate, it will melt nicely on it's own, just don't get it too hot. Yes Liz, I'll make some for you.

Lindsey said...

I'm so happy you posted your recipe. Every year I try to make peppermint bark by experimenting on my own, but it never works! This is what I've been needing. Thank you. I can't wait to make it.

laura bu said...

mmmm. i love peppermint bark. i'll bring you some dipped and drizzled pretzels if you bring me some of that!

Elizabeth said...

Ok I made this and it turned out horrible...I forgot to put the white chocolate in the frezer before adding the milk chocolate and the milk chocolate never melted and the white chocolate ended up burning. I guess that teaches me to read the directions better. Sometime I will try it again and hopes it works out better.

Erin said...

K- I think both Elizabeth's had the same problem. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lou Ann,

I have enjoyed reading your site and plan to try the peppermint bark. Does the bark need to be refrigerated after being made?

Erin said...

Once you make it, you don't need to put it in the fridge. It will stay solid at room temp, just like the chocolate and chips did before they were melted down.