Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! This post was supposed to go up a few days ago but then life got in the way and my iPhoto wouldn’t cooperate. Now it’s 2:25am on Christmas Eve and I’ve still got wrapping to do!! Not to worry I’ll be resting soon…
Despite having a very productive, very organised Christmas run up, I haven’t had time, or haven’t made time to write up this ridiculously easy but beautiful recipe for Peppermint Bark. I think it’s an American Tradition, and I first had it about 3 years ago in LA from Williams Sonoma in a lovely red tin. But I’ve since seen it for sale here in Ireland too.
This year I made my own and it is the highlight of my Christmas food gifts! All credit goes to the Joy of Baking website for the recipe – and they have a better version of it over there complete with recipe video so I highly recommend you look at that too. I hope Stephanie doesn’t mind me using her recipe – I’ve changed it slightly to suit my own preferences.
I made a batch last week with cheaper chocolate from Marks and Spencer, but the milk chocolate was far too light and sugary. I then found the best baking shop ever – Decobake – and stocked up on great quality Belgian Chocolate chips for a fraction of the cost. Seriously, they were about €8 for a kilo of excellent quality white and dark 55% chocolate chips! If you were buying bars of Green & Blacks or even good quality supermarket chocolate that would be the equivalent of 10 bars i.e. €30 for 1 kilo!!
So try and find a similar shop near you and save yourself a lot of money! I also used organic peppermint extract, which was oil based. It doesn’t seem as strong as the alcohol based one, and the recipe that I used says to add a teaspoon of vegetable or other flavourless oil to the melting chocolate, so I just used the peppermint extract and killed 2 birds with 1 stone. It worked perfectly.
Lastly, I crushed up some peppermint candy canes roughly and sprinkled them on top of the still melted white chocolate layer. To speed things up, I chilled each layer in the freezer, making sure not to get any ice or food crumbs on the setting chocolate!
This is definitely one of the best homemade gifts you can give this Christmas. Wrap it up in brown greaseproof paper and put it in a lovely tin if you have it. Or else you can put them in clear plastic bags and tie them with Christmas ribbon or whatever you like.
You can of course vary the chocolate ratio – I kept it 50% dark chocolate and 50% white, but if you are giving this to someone who has a different preference, then by all means change it. I recommend you make a small batch first to test – and peppermint extracts vary by brand so add a little first and taste to see if it’s strong enough.
I hope wherever you are that you have a safe, warm and very Happy Christmas! Remember it’s only one day and try not to stress too much. Easier said than done, I know, believe me! But it can be done. If you can, please support your local homeless charities, not just at Christmas but all through the year. I tend to support Simon Commutiy but there are so many people doing such important work so please get involved!
See you all over the next few days for some more Christmas recipes!
Ms. Cooksalot xoxoxo
200g good quality white chocolate chopped into chunks, or better still in buttons
200g good quality dark chocolate (same as above)
4 – 5 natural peppermint candy canes or the peppermint sweets or candy
2 teaspoons of good quality peppermint extract – NOT ESSENCE!
strong tin foil (aluminium foil if you’re in North America)
some baking pans or any kind of oven dish (about 12 x 9 inches, or similar)
two glass of heatproof bowls
boiling water – about 2 inches in the pot
heatproof spatulas or wooden spoons
greaseproof paper / tins / plastic gift bags and christmas ribbons etc to store
Boil your water and turn down to a low simmer. Put the candy canes in a plastic sealed bag and smash with a rolling pin of other blunt instrument! Be careful they might break through the last so go easy. Keep the chunks nice and rough and not too small.
Cover the outside of the tins with the foil and then invert the foil so it’s inside the in, shiny side up.
Melt the chocolate very gently in the bowls over a low heat. Make sure the boiling water never touches the bottom of the bowl as it could ruin the chocolate.
Add the peppermint extract as well. Taste to test the strength and add more if necessary.
Pour the dark chocolate into the lined tin and tap the tin on the counter a few times to knock out any air bubbles.
Tilt the pan to cover the bottom evenly with chocolate. Spread with a spatula too if you need to. Chill in the fridge or freezer until set – about 20 minutes.
Melt the white chocolate in the same way, taking even more care not the let the hot water touch the bowl.
Take off the heat and let it cool slightly before pouring on to the first layer.
Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top as evenly as possible and chill in the same way until set firmly.
Chop into large shards or break it up with your hands, being careful not to melt it with the heat of your hands.
Store in an airtight tin lined with greaseproof paper or in a clear plastic gift bag tied tight with string, ribbon or whatever you like. These will keep for a while but I doubt they’ll last long!!
Enjoy! Don’t eat it all at once! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! xoxoxo