Peppermint Bark

A traditional and quintessential Christmas treat, peppermint bark is ridiculously easy to prepare and can be done in a few minutes. Sweet white or dark chocolate holds in place broken chunks of peppermint candy. Eat it straight, place it in a bag or tin and make it a gift, or break it up into chocolate cupcakes or chocolate cookies.

Peppermint Bark Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. of high-quality white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips
  • 5 regular sized candy canes, crushed up
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Method

1 Break up peppermint candy into little pieces. Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir.

2 Pour the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in with yours hands.

3 Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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Links:
How to temper chocolate - useful advice from David Lebovitz if you are planning on making the dark chocolate bark and not eating it right away

46 Comments

  1. Mary

    I made peppermint bark the other day with white and dark chocolate to use in chocolate cookies, but I think the idea of adding to cupcakes might be even better! Yours looks delicious.

    Any tips for breaking up the candy canes? I made a real mess of mine when I tried to crush them up in a plastic bag and they ripped it to shreds…

    I usually just do the whole smash-them-in-a-bag method myself. You can do it in a food processor, but you’ll get a lot more of a powder with only a few larger chunks of peppermint candy. ~Garrett

  2. Corynne Escalante

    Hey Garrett,
    What would you classify as “quality chocolate”? I never know, when I read that on recipes, what they might consider as quality chocolate…just wondering, because I don’t know if what I use would be quality or not. I usually use Guittard chocolate…
    Thanks,
    Corynne

    P.S. Thanks for the recipe, I’m excited to try it out. Great gift idea!

    Guittard, Valrhona, Callebaut, and Scharffen Berger are fine examples of quality chocolate (Nestle will work great if it’s all you have). Plus most offer various cacao percentages so you can make the flavor as dark and bitter as you prefer it. ~Garrett

  3. Brian

    Hi Garrett!
    Glad to see this recipe…while holiday shopping I could not believe what some specialty stores were charging for their peppermint bark! I would like to attempt a layer of white chocolate on top of the dark vs. one or the other. Any tips on how I can keep the layers from mixing when I prepare the bark? Thanks!

    Follow the recipe as above. Once the candy is in place and the chocolate hardened, pour the next layer of chocolate over it. Don’t try to do both chocolates melted at the same time (unless you want a marbled effect). ~Garrett

  4. jonathan

    Always a fave. I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s been my experience that white chocolate (yes, even the good stuff) can be a pain to work with. It doesn’t melt completely or well enough, seizes up easily, etc. Sometimes a little shortening melted along with it helps, or using white almond bark (no worries – there’s no almonds in it) from a craft or candy store to sub for the white chocolate will work.

    My druthers calls for using a nice dark chocolate (60 – 70%) to make this, however.

    Will ya look at that…
    I used the word “druthers” in a sentence. Excellent! :)

  5. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    Great timing! I made bark today and plan to make some of the peppermint variety this week (after I found candy canes with no corn syrup in them yesterday!). I went a bit exotic with the ones I made today; one kind is dark chocolate mixed with garam masala, curry powder, and a touch of ground salt, topped with toasted coconut; and the other is dark chocolate mixed with chopped (dried) guajillo peppers, cinnamon, and orange peel, and topped with pink salt chunks and toasted almonds. This is my first holiday season since going gluten-free and allergen-free (casein-free, egg-free, soy-free), and it’s fun to have naturally gluten-/allergen-free holiday treats to spice up.

  6. Anonymous

    Where can you find high quality chocolate chips? What stores?

    Most grocery stores carry them in the baking aisle. ~Garrett

  7. Vic

    Breaking up the peppermint sticks in a bag can be a little easier if you use freezer weight bags and crush them with a rolling pin. Kinda like you do for vanilla wafers.

  8. Amy

    Quality chocolate – that’s easy to identify and find. Do you have suggestions for quality candy canes? Every year, I can only find one or two brands and they are pretty dreadful. Mrs. See’s used to have good candy canes, but I don’t think they sell them in boxes anymore.

  9. kkmack

    I have been making this since I was a little girl in the 70’s. I thought I was being so clever when I discovered adding a bit of peppermint extract all those years ago! Hmmm!
    It amazes me how much the stores charge for this confection – even the super cheap stuff at Target fetches $8 and that could buy the supplies for 2-3 times the quantity! If anyone wants to try candy-making, this is a great first recipe. It branches out easily into other combos also!

  10. Irene

    I have a question — when I buy the chocolate in the store, it is not refrigerated, nor are the candy canes. What is it about melting it, then adding extract & candy that makes it need to be refrigerated afterwards? The reason being that I plan on making cookie trays/boxes as gifts with at least 6 or 7 different types of cookies/candy in them, including this, and want to avoid things that need to be refrigerated for storage reasons, since it will be nearly impossible for me to make everything all at once.

    It’s more for just temperature control. Candy canes and chocolate can get a bit melty if it gets warm. Generally, try to keep at or below room temperature.

  11. DianeN

    A Word of Caution… When you put the peppermint extract into the chocolate, do it with the gas flame off. I just had a friend’s daughter get burned yesterday because while she was adding the extract, some of it spilled onto the gas burner and ignited. This stuff is 86% alcohol and as cooks, we all know what that can do. I would change the recipe to make sure that you do that step either off of the stove, or with the burner off.

  12. Jeff

    I made this yesterday, and it came out great. Has anyone ever tried making this with milk chocolate? I wonder if it would be too sweet…please give me your opinions.

  13. robyn

    Where do you find corn-syrup free candy canes???

  14. Andrew

    Garrett, I made these last night and they turned out perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe and responding to everyones comments. I usually buy bark every year for 8-10 dollars which gets me the same amount that 2.50 worth of ingredients did this time. I’ll be making this and giving it out as presents for sure.

  15. Miss J

    Oh, this looks so yummy. Quick question though, I am living overseas and don’t have chocolate chips. Can I just use chocolate bars? Thanks. Can’t wait to try this.

  16. Garrett

    I’m not sure where to find high-quality or corn-syrup free candycanes. The ones I used were the generic drug store brand. You can probably find a higher quality at high end food stores or candy shops, but you don’t need too.

    If you are in an area where they don’t sell chocolate chips use whatever form of chocolate you know can be used for candy making. ~Garrett

  17. LDubs

    Does the peppermint extract have to be included? I want to try this recipe but I’m not sure where to get the extract and not sure that I want to invest in a whole bottle for only a 1/2 teaspoon’s worth…
    No, it just gives the candy some extra pepperminty bite. Though personally, I think it’s better with it. ~Garrett

  18. Monica

    To the question about peppermint extract, check your local Walmart, or large grocery store chain. I can tell you now, at Walmart, where they sell the holiday baking items, like the tins, baking dishes, sugars, ect, it should be in there, or with the other extracts. I mostly do my shopping at Schnucks, so will be looking there. (However, I’m sure Walmart will have a better price!!)

  19. Marjy

    This was great! I noted that someone was looking for candy canes without corn syrup. They’re called soft peppermint sticks. The texture is different, almost buttery, rather than hard and crunchy, but they should work just fine. They’ll probably break up more easily, at any rate.

  20. Celia Zou

    Hi, Can you tell me what is the equvalient in your recipe if you use 1 cup of butter (i.e. what is the weigh in kilogrammes? What is the conversion for 350oF to celsius?

    Thanks

    Hi Celia – please see the conversion tool in the left sidebar of this website. ~Elise

  21. Kate

    Is semi-sweet chocolate chips the same as dark chocolate chips? And do you think this would be good with a white chocolate layer?

    Semi-sweet is usually less bitter than bittersweet. Dark chocolate is a general category for them both. As for the white, well, you’ll have to decide that for yourself. ~Garrett

  22. C

    I made this this weekend and made the mistake of turning off the burner before I was ready to spread in the pan. I used a double boiler and was still (over) concerned about burning the white chocolate, and I turned down the heat before adding the extract and getting help with pouring. The chocolate immediately started to harden, and wouldn’t spread. I made it anyway, but it’s super lumpy, and not really “bark.” Still good, but I’ll probably have to take a rolling pin to the finished product before it’s ready for consumption…

    Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to re-try it. I like the idea of layering white and dark chocolate.

  23. Suzanne

    I once found a tip for easier crushing of the candycanes is to place them in the freezer for about 2 hours before you need to crush them – I find this helps to make a finer crush, rather than a chunkier one, if not frozen beforehand.

    Also, I’ve always made this recipe without the peppermint extract but I just tried it this weekend with the extract and as soon as I added it to the melted chocolate it siezed up into a mushy/lumpy mess (I used expensive Callebeau chocolate too!). Nothing I did helped fix it so I ended up rolling it into a bunch of little chocolate balls and dusted them with cocoa powder… but any tips to help stop the seizing up?

    Hmm… is your extract at room temperature? I’ve never had a problem with the chocolate siezing up . Just be sure the chocolate is still quite warm, if not hot, when you add the extract. ~Garrett

  24. Jill

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. I had never tasted peppermint bark before making this. It was wonderfully easy and so delicious.

    Thank you!

  25. Anne Marie

    Hooray! A simple and delicious recipe that can be made quickly with kids. While I melted the chocolate in the microwave the kids kept busy unwrapping the candy canes and had a great time crushing them up. We made white and dark chocolate bark and drizzled the opposite on top. Gorgeous and yummy! Who would have thought-four pounds of candy in less than a half an hour. Thanks.

  26. Robert

    Peppermint extract can be found at Hobby Lobby in the candy making section.

  27. suzanne

    To get the candy canes crushed but not powdered, try putting the canes into a freezer bag and then hitting them with a heavy china or pottery mug. You can use the bottom edge of the mug to target larger pieces. Once the pieces are small enough, pour them into another plastic bag so that you can sprinkle them over the melted chocolate.

    I used a double boiler to melt Trader Joe’s dark chocolate chips, a heaping half teaspoon of peppermint extract, and “release” tin foil on the cookie sheet.

    With small, pretty evenly sized candy pieces, this makes a really good bark.

  28. Melissa M Erickson

    Everyone loved this its easy to make and light tasting, I made it with white chocolate and added lots of crushed candy canes it was a big hit and now it will be on my Christmas baking list for years to come. Thanks.

  29. Kari

    After years of giving my sister chocolate for her birthday and never receiving a comment, I received accolades this year when I sent her a few pieces of this Peppermint bark. My children (ages 13, 7, 4, 1) all had jobs (like opening the candy canes and beating them with in a bag with a rolling pin). I was short on extract so I added 3 drops of peppermint essential oil along with a 1/2 teaspoon of extract. I used the Ghiradelli 70% bittersweet oversized chips to melt for the chocolate with success.

  30. Kelly

    I love this site and the recipes on it, and welcome to Garrett as well! I’ll be checking out your site, shortly :)
    My question is about tempering… a few days after making the bark (Belgian dark chocolate) it was spotty, though tasted fine of course. I also made it with white chocolate, and that batch looked fine as I would have predicted. Anything I can do to keep it looking great a few days after making it? I’d like to give some away next holiday season, and want it to keep beyond the first couple days I make it. Thanks!

  31. Amy

    Thanks for this great recipe! I made it easily on my college student budget in my tiny apartment kitchen, which is rare for candy. Definitely will use this again in future.

    For any other budget/space/equipment limited people – I used bulk chocolate chips and Starlight mints (candy canes aren’t exactly in season this time of year).

  32. Stephanie

    I love peppermint bark, but would it work if I used the soft type of peppermints?

    Never tried using them. Give it a try and let us know! =) ~Garrett

  33. Lori

    How can I ship this? Does it have to be stored in the fridge?

    SInce this chocolate isn’t tempered, a process that allows chocolate to keep it’s stability, it may not ship well so I wouldn’t suggest it. As for the fridge, not per se’ but it will last longer.

  34. James Radcliffe

    I plan to make this as a gift to mail out to family and I was wondering if it’s necessary to temper both the white and the dark chocolate if I plan to layer them? Also, is dark chocolate best for layering or will semi-sweet or any other chocolate be a better fit? Thanks for your help. Love your site!!!!

    James, this recipe does not temper the chocolate. You should be able to layer them just fine though. Personally, dark chocolate is best as there will be fewer milk solids to deal with in the melting process, which may affect how long the bark will last. Note that since this isn’t tempered it does have a limited shelf life, still, I doubt anyone can keep it around for long without it being devoured. =) ~Garrett

  35. Elise

    Because the dark chocolate in this recipe is not tempered, it will get “spotty” after a few days. It’s still good to eat, it just doesn’t look good. If you want to make the dark chocolate peppermint bark for gifts, you will want to temper the chocolate first. David Lebovitz has some advice regarding How to temper chocolate. Otherwise, I suggest sticking to the white chocolate peppermint bark for gifts.

  36. Caroline P

    I made this recipe:
    it smelled good,
    nice and easy
    but once i added the Peppermint Extract the white chocolate solidified!
    Has anyone else had this problem?
    And, what to do to prevent
    other than omitting the extract?

    Make sure the extract is warm and not cold, otherwise yes, it will freeze it up. Furthermore, you have to act quickly in this recipe. Add it, stir it, then spread it out flat. ~Garrett

  37. Dan

    I made 700 peppermint bark cookies last year, so I had plenty of time to perfect the peppermint bark recipe. Follow these tips and your peppermint bark will be far superior to anything you can find in a store.

    The expensive chocolate (I used Ghiradelli) did not produce a good bark texture, and crumbled badly. However I also tried melting the Ghiradelli in a saucepan, which may have been the real problem. SO:

    1) Buy chocolate chips, not chunks (much faster and more even melting). Nestle, the cheapest stuff I could find, worked perfectly but I suppose the taste would be better with a less-sweet chocolate. Soft peppermint is available in the checkout lanes of Walmart stores. I did not even bother trying the corn syrup variety because it would melt in baking, the texture is inferior, it’s sticky, etc.

    2) Melt your chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave on medium or low heat depending on the strength of your microwave. Stop melting as soon as the chocolate starts to look soft (don’t wait for it to get entirely melted into a pool). The test of whether it is melted is whether it yields entirely to touch.

    3) Add room-temperature peppermint extract and stir in well with rubber spatula. If your ratios are good and you used Nestle this SHOULD NOT ruin your texture.

    4) Spread over large cookie sheets lined with freezer paper (this worked great and did not stick at all). Spread thinner if you plan to do a double layer. Add crushed soft peppermint in variety of sizes to produce varied texture. Freeze completely.

    5) Remove from freezer and if desired add a second layer of chocolate over the first layer (I used chocolate and vanilla). This will produce a much thicker and robust bark than the single-layer variety.

    Good luck breaking up the bark; this is really difficult when the bark is thick. When frozen it is hard as rock, and when not frozen it melts all over your hands. I used new rubber kitchen gloves and kept having to run cold water over the gloves and dry them to keep them from getting all messy.

    Save the dust created from your crushed peppermint to sprinkle on top of the bark, or cookies, or whatever.

    Just put some wax paper over the top if the bark and break it that way. Much easier. Great extra tips! ~Garrett

  38. Lo

    I tried the recipe today, and like another commenter (above), my chocolate seized up into one big clumpy, expensive mess. My peppermint extract was at room temp. It could be variations in the extract contents – I didn’t notice at the time, but mine has water in its list of ingredients, so of course it seized up. In the future, I will use Peppermint Oil instead.

  39. Janet

    I have been making other bark and homemade chocolates for Christmas this year and am looking forward to trying this one out later today.

    When I was researching how to make my homemade chocolates they mentioned if adding food coloring drops (which have water content) that it is really important to add it one drop at a time and mix well before adding more to prevent the chocolate from seizing up. I followed their advice and had no issues. I assume this same method would apply to those having problems with their chocolate seizing up when adding their extract. I don’t have peppermint extract so am going to try it with a little peppermint shnapps instead. Fingers crossed. :)

  40. Jenny

    Perfect holiday recipe! I’m wondering how thin to spread the chocolate out. Do I spread it to cover the entire cookie sheet? Thanks!

    Between 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Using an offset spatula is especially helpful for this. ~Garrett

  41. Stephanie

    I made a similar recipe last year, but layered dark chocolate- let it harden in freezer, then put a layer of white chocolate on top. When I went to break it up, the layers separated- any idea why? It still tasted great though (just didn’t make a pretty gift).

    Chocolate is finicky. It doesn’t really adhere to other forms of chocolate all that well unless you temper it. ~Garrett

  42. Amber

    I just thought I would share my observations after trying this great recipe!
    Dark chocolate worked well when mixing in the peppermint extract, as mentioned by others, you just have to be quick with it and stirring it in while it is hot!
    I layered white chocolate on top, but found that when I tried adding the extract, it DID seize up and get crumbly. I added a little bit of oil to it and had to mix it quite a bit until it became workable again (Putting it into the microwave for 20 second intervals if needed). The second batch I did not add the extract to, just did plain white chocolate on top and this worked much better. Didn’t really lose any of the peppermint taste!

    For breaking up/cutting up the chocolate what I did was lifted the chocolate off of the wax paper, then flipped it over and cut it over the wax paper, by scouring the underside of it with a sharp knife, and then breaking it by hand. This seemed to work quite well!

    PS I tried to make this also with Carob chips (as I personally can’t eat anything with Dairy), and this definitely did NOT work. First experience with Carob chips, and they do not melt well!!

    Cheers!

  43. Karen

    Hi, these look wonderful, but for those of us cooking abroad, who do not have access to candy canes – or at any rate, only candy canes of various sizes – approximately how much would 5 regular-sized candycanes weigh?

    Thanks so much!

    Karen (baking in denmark)

    About 16 grams. ~Garrett

  44. BELINDA WILLIAMSON

    I used a bag of semisweet chocolate chips and melted them over low heat. I then poured it onto wax paper and placed it in the fridge for 30 minutes. I then melted some white chocolate and added some crushed peppermint candy to it. I then poured that onto the semisweet chocolate and let it all set. Yummy!

  45. Rachel

    Hi I was wondering if I make a few weeks ahead of time but keep refridgerated will that help the chocolate from looking dull since tempering is not called for in this receipe. Thank you.

    This is best made the day of or night before. ~Garrett

  46. JC

    I always buy peppermint oil (available at any cooking store) rather than the extract you can get in the grocery stores. I’ve never had a problem with the chocolate seizing up.

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