In Good Taste: ‘Bark’-ing up the Right Tree

If I were going to hibernate for the winter, my number one source of sustenance would probably be peppermint bark. Since high school, I’ve made it every winter, and it has gotten me through some very dark cold days: an ice storm, a snowstorm, the college application process and studying for exams.

It is the perfect treat because it doesn’t require many ingredients, much patience or any baking prowess. The gist of making peppermint bark is simple: melt chocolate bars into liquid form so that crushed candy canes will stick to it, like gluing sequins to a costume. Then let the chocolate return to solid form, and voila: peppermint bark.

 

Ingredients

Semisweet chocolate bars (I used 15 ounces of mixed bars – Ghirardelli, Green & Black’s and Scharffen Berger)*

White chocolate (I used 8 ounces or 2 bars of Ghirardelli)*

Candy canes (12-24, depending on how much peppermint flavor you prefer)

*Be sure to use chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips because they melt better.

 

Steps

1. Line a metal baking sheet with aluminum foil. (The larger the baking sheet you use and the more you spread out the chocolate, the thinner the bark will be.)

2. Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Put this bag in another bag (otherwise your kitchen will be covered with minty powder). Crush the double bag of candy canes using a can, jar, mallet, hammer or chemistry textbook. Be sure that the larger pieces of candy canes are crushed into flakes but that you haven’t pulverized the candy canes all into dust.

3. Chop up the semisweet chocolate bars into small pieces so that they melt faster. Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or via a double boiler (this means placing the chocolate in one metal bowl or saucepan over another saucepan of boiling water). Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted, and be sure not to burn it, especially if using a microwave.

4. Remove the chocolate from the heat, and with a spatula, pour it onto the lined pan, spreading it to your desired thickness.

5. Repeat step 3 with the white chocolate – be sure to use a clean pot.

6. Pour the white chocolate on top of the semisweet chocolate. (I like to flick the white chocolate using a fork, a la Jackson Pollock, on top of the smooth bittersweet chocolate).

7. Sprinkle the peppermint flakes on top. Stick the pan in the freezer, do 30 minutes to an hour of homework, and then check on it. If it has hardened and returned to chocolate bar form, then it’s ready to be eaten!

About Rachel Zarrow