Merry Christmas! Hopefully by now everyone has gotten their present shopping well and truly done and are needing to focus on what is really important about Christmas -- the food. Christmas is definitely the time to indulge, so here is a classic, simple recipe for Peppermint Bark, a chocolatey treat literally sprinkled in Christmas festiveness.
ALL you need is:
dark chocolate chips
white chocolate chips
peppermint essence (or peppermint extract)
12 large candy canes (or 20 small candy canes)
The peppermint essence is not completely necessary for this recipe so depending on you or your kids personal preference you can omit it, however I feel like it just makes the bark that little more fresh tasting and festive.
NOW for the METHOD:
1. Line a sheet of baking paper with tin foil, folding the foil securely over the back for a smooth surface. I found it was also a good idea to put the baking sheet on top of a tray or a chopping board.
2. Bring a large pot of water to simmer over the stove element. Put the dark chocolate chips into a metal bowl and rest it in the water, stirring it as it begins to melt. Once it has melted, use a spatula to smooth the melted chocolate mixture over the tin foil, remembering that it does not have to look perfect nor cover the entirety of the sheet. The mixture should be a little under a centimetre in height.
3. Pop this into the fridge for 10-15 minutes so that it cools and just begins to set.
4. While the dark chocolate layer is cooling, clean the metal bowl ready for the white chocolate chips to go in, and if you haven't already, crush the candy canes.
You want the candy canes to be a little more crushed than the image above. It is easiest to place them in a large plastic zip lock bag, cover it with a tea towel (particularly the bottom) and hammer it into bits. The bits don't have to be refined down like sugar but it is best to have an assortment of larger and smaller candy chunks.
5. Similarly with the dark chocolate, rest the metal bowl now filled with white chocolate chips into the simmering pot of water, stirring it so that it melts. The moment it is all melted, thoroughly stir in about half a teaspoon of peppermint essence and remove from heat.
6. By now the dark chocolate should have just started to set. It needs to be cool enough so that it doesn't marble with the white chocolate layer, but not so set that they two layers don't fuse. Using a spatula, spread the melted white chocolate mixture over the dark layer, smoothing it out to the same thickness.
6. Now take the crushed candy canes and sprinkle all of it over the chocolate, lightly pressing it into the mixture so that it fuses. Put the baking sheet back into the fridge until it is set, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
7. Once set, using a sharp knife break the bark up into bits. A little slice at the corners or in the middle should crack it and if it is too difficult to snap then it needs longer in the fridge.
AND IT IS DONE!
Store the bark in a container in the fridge, you can either snack on it as is or you can use it in your Christmas baking-- cookies, cupcakes, cakes. I will be using mine tonight to make dark chocolate peppermint bark brownies for Christmas Day.