2 December, 2015
Marbled Peppermint Bark
I like the holiday season because I really like peppermint. Peppermint tea, peppermint sticks, why not some peppermint bark, too? Peppermint bark is great because it’s easy, relatively quick to make, and it makes a great addition to a party, stocking, or any meal (candy for breakfast is totally acceptable if you’re an adult).
Speaking of stocking stuffers, I actually made this recipe for a grab bag party. I put the ingredients, a sample of the finished product, and a recipe card in a festive oven mitt. I won’t tell anyone if you want to recycle the idea, promise. I won’t even tell me.
So, you may ask, “Peppermint bark? Isn’t that the easiest thing to make, after cereal?” And I would reply, “Yes, friend. As long as you know how to melt chocolate.”
And therein lies the catch.
Do you know what happens when you don’t melt chocolate correctly and let it get too hot? You release the demon of broken hopes and shattered dreams and every kind of sadness imaginable. Why? Because you would have just burnt chocolate, and that is a crime. A horrible, devastating crime. To avoid releasing the demon (let’s nickname him Chocifer), you can either take the time to set up a double boiler and wait half an eternity for the chips to melt, or you can microwave responsibly. As a food blogger and college student who is finishing out her final year, I believe I have earned an honorary degree in microwave cooking (that’s why I haven’t tried to microwave a thermos any time in the past few years). Read on, young Padawan, and I will teach you my ways.
1 cup crushed peppermint candy (I recommend using regular sized or mini candy canes)
1 pound dark chocolate
1 pound white chocolate
Before we get started, I just want to provide you with another one of my many PSAs: don’t buy one of the big candy cane sticks. To the recipient of my gift bag, I’m terribly sorry, as I didn’t realize this issue until after the fact and because I thought the big candy cane looked nice. While these giant candy canes look cool and are fun to hit people with (What? I didn’t say anything…), they are a real pain in the potstickers when it comes time to break them into topping-size pieces. Sure, you can crack one of those peppermint poles in half or maybe quarters if you’re lucky and have a good corner to whack it against, but beyond that, breaking them down takes a set of industrial crushing plates; an ice pick and mallet; or a can of soup, a towel, a Ziploc bag, and a high tolerance for finger injuries. Oh, and patience. Lots and lots of patience. Bearing that in mind, I’ll let you choose your peppermint candies and crushing methods yourself and get on to the recipe itself.
Alright, let’s go:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Using any of the aforementioned methods or some clever combination of your own conjuring, crush the candy canes until you have about a cup’s worth, and then set that aside, too.
Into two different microwave safe bowls, pour the white chocolate chips and the dark chocolate chips. Microwave them for 1 minute 30 seconds, then take them out of the microwave and stir them thoroughly with a spatula or a spoon. Once you’ve done that, put the bowls back in the microwave for another 30 seconds, then take them out and stir them again until everything is mixed together and smooth.
Pour one bowl of chocolate in a sort of thick wavy line down the length of the parchment, keeping about two inches from the edges. Pour the other bowl of chocolate in a similar squiggle, mostly on top of the other chocolate. Take a spatula and gently spread the two chocolates out so it’s in a rectangle with roughly an inch and a half border from the sides of the paper/cookie sheet. When spreading, use long, sweeping motions, like you’re painting the chocolate onto the pan. This should give you a marbled look without mixing the colors together too much. To add to the marbling, use the back end of a spoon or a knife to draw squiggles and swirls up from the bottom layers.
Once the chocolate has been spread out, sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies over the top and stick the whole pan in the refrigerator for about an hour (depending on how thick the chocolate layer is and how cold your fridge is, this may vary). Once the chocolate is solid again and you’re ready to serve it, either break the bark into pieces or cut it with a knife for more even shapes.