To me, Peppermint Bark is the ultimate Christmas candy, full of Chocolate, White Chocolate with Peppermint, and Candy Canes. What could be better? I must confess to being unwilling to pay the small fortune it costs to purchase it, however. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and figure out how to make it myself. This resulted in a few semi-failures (all of which I ate), but now I’m at the point where I can unsqueamishly share all of the quirks and secrets of this super simple holiday treat.
You will have a couple of different ways to go in the crushed candy cane department – one simple and one not so much. If you are lucky enough to have access to a WinCo or other supermarket with bulk items, chances are quite good you can already find crushed peppermint candy in bulk – this is a very good thing.
If you are not so lucky, we shall resort to doing things the old fashioned way, which is peeling candy canes by hand. Maybe it’s just me, but I usually end up breaking all the candy canes and being covered from head to foot with celephane which has the remarkable ability to stick to a person like glue. They look innocent, but they are not. Luckily, you’ll only need about half a cup of crushed candy, so I’m guessing about 10-12 candy canes should do the trick. Once you’ve peeled the cellophane off and taken a shower, you are ready to proceed. If you are like me, you will still be harboring some anger toward the candy. This actually is perfect timing, since you get to find your favorite kitchen implement of destruction (I like a meat mallet, but a rolling pin or hammer will also be just fine) and go to town. I must caution you however: Please TAP the implement on the candy, and try to avoid POUNDING because if you do much of your work will go to waste and the candy canes will disintegrate into powder. I have done this. Photo #1 below is the hammer option; Photo #2 is the happy bulk food option.
You’ll need one pound of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted. Add a couple of tablespoons of canola oil to the chocolate chips and microwave in 20 second intervals until it looks like this:
Now give it a good stir and wait a minute to see if the residual heat will melt the rest of the chocolate. If it doesn’t, microwave for another 10 seconds or so. When all is said and done, you want super smooth chocolate that looks like this:
Time to get down to business. You’ll need a ‘Half Sheet’ cookie sheet (18×13 inches), lined with foil and liberally sprayed with cooking spray. This is essential to avoid cussing later when you try to remove the candy from the foil.
Using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly over the entire cookie sheet. Then put the cookie sheet into the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. This is important because if the dark chocolate is not set, the white chocolate will run into it when you add it, which will result in everything turning mocha and no layers to speak of. And yes, before you ask, I have done this also…I still ate it.
Pop this into the refrigerator while you move on to the white chocolate layer. He should stay in the fridge until set up and firm to the touch Next up: white whocolate layer. You’ll need one pound of white chocolate chips. I use Guittard because of the high quality and extremely creamy finish. I add 2 tablespoons of canola oil, but also add 1 teaspoon of Peppermint Extract (if you feel like it – no big deal if you don’t). Same routine as before: microwave for 20 seconds, etc. You might find that these guys melt slower than the darker chocolate, but keep you eyes peeled.
Now it’s time to work fast. Grab your set semi-sweet chocolate out of the refrigerator and pour the white chocolate over the top. Spread as fast as you can because the coldness of the semi-sweet chocolate will start to set up the white chocolate. We need the white chocolate to be soft because we still need to get those candy cane pieces on there, and they need to stick.
Let’s get that candy on there as fast as you can. I sprinkled in on, then took the back of a spatula and pressed them in firmly. They won’t all stick, but that’s OK. Really. Don’t fret over it.
And now, everything goes into the refrigerator to set up. This will take at least 30 minutes, but I like to wait for an hour or two just to make sure they layers have time to adhere to each other and also want to give the candy plenty of time to decide it wants to stay put for the long haul. At the end of the set-up time, remove from the refrigerator and the foil will peel right off the bottom of your creation. Using a big sharp knife, run it in lines down the width of the sheet, then just break off with your hands. If you want the ultimate rustic look, break the whole thing by hand. Remember: a rustic look is a very good thing when it comes to Peppermint Bark.
Let’s get that cookie plate out and be so proud of ourselves at what we accomplished at a fraction of the cost of the mass-produced stuff!
Keep refrigerated until ready to devour!! The happiest of holidays to all of you and yours!! xoxoxo
- 1 pound good quality semi-sweet chocolate (chopped into ¼ inch pieces) or chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
- 1 pound good quality white chocolate (chopped into ¼ inch pieces) or white chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
- ½ cup chopped peppermint candies or candy canes
- Line an 18 x13 inch-cookie sheet with aluminum foil (Grilling Foil, which is nonstick, works well). Liberally spray with cooking spray.
- Place semi-sweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20-second intervals until chocolate is melted.
- Pour onto cookie sheet and smooth out into an even layer. Refrigerate until set (about 10 minutes).
- When the semi-sweet layer is set, place white chocolate, 2 tablespoons oil and peppermint extract in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20-second intervals until chocolate is melted. Pour over the semi-sweet chocolate and quickly spread in an even layer.
- Sprinkle with chopped peppermint candies, and press into white chocolate as best as you can.
- Place in refrigerator until firm.
- Break or cut into pieces, your choice.
- Store in the refrigerator.