Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peppermint Bark

Happy belated holidays! Given our family's conflicting schedules our holiday gatherings tend to be a bit belated.  To get back in the holiday spirit I turned a nostalgic peppermint treat that seems to have made a come back.

adapted from...really? I need a recipe to melt chocolate and layer chocolate?

yields about 3lbs

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs milk chocolate
1 1/2 lbs white chocolate or white confectioner's coating
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp peppermint extract
crushed peppermints (about 20 mini candy canes)

The Process:
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Smooth out any wrinkles and set aside.

Coarsely chop the milk chocolate and add to a double boiler placed over medium low heat.  Stir frequently.  As the chocolate begins to melt, stir in 1 tsp of canola oil (the oil can be omitted.  It is added to help the chocolate maintain an appealing luster after it hardens, in lieu of attempting to temper the chocolate.  More experienced candy makers may choose to temper instead).  Continue to stir frequently until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate into the prepared baking sheet and gently spread with a spatula.  Gently shake the sheet to smooth. Cool at room temperature or refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour.
Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in a double boiler over medium low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.  Ladle or pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly and spread quickly.  The white chocolate will begin to melt the chocolate underneath.  Shake the pan gentle to help distribute the layers.  Sprinkle the crushed candy over the top and gently press into the soft white chocolate surface. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve. 

The Review:
The quality of the chocolate makes all of the difference.  You can use white confectioner's coating for the top layer, but the result will be more waxen and sickly sweet.  I usually despise white chocolate, and find the only thing that makes it palatable is the cocoa butter.  White confectioner's glaze, while an inexpensive alternative, does not have said cocoa butter...but to each their own.  There is something incredibly nostalgic about using Ambrosia chocolate.  Maybe it's a Milwaukee thing...

Regardless of what chocolate you choose, when mixing chocolate and peppermint you really cannot go wrong.  Some people swear by round peppermints often offered with the check at restaurants as their crushed candy preference.  My peppermint candy of choice is Spanlger's mini candy canes.  

Regardless, the little bit I had set aside for us to not give away as gifts was consumed in a heartbeat.  With the simplicity of the recipe, I'll be sure to  make this again next year.

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