Peppermint bark is such a traditional and quintessential Christmas treat. It's also ridiculously easy to prepare in just a few minutes!
How to Make Peppermint Bark
Ready for the grand instructions? Ok, here you go:
Melt chocolate. Pour onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill until firm.
That's it! Told you it was easy.
If you want to get fancy and temper your chocolate, check out this tutorial from David Lebovitz. Tempering will make your chocolate look glossy and have a nice snap! when you break it apart or bite into it.
White or Dark Chocolate?
Peppermint bark is fantastic with either white or dark chocolate. Choose your favorite, or make batches of both!
Either way you go, use a chocolate that you enjoy eating. It's the main ingredient, after all!
Want to get really crazy? Try layering the white chocolate and dark chocolate!
If you decide to layer, double check that your white chocolate is made with cocoa butter. If it's made with palm oil or another kind of fat, it has a tendency to separate from the dark chocolate layer once the chocolate has set.
It also helps if you add the top layer while the bottom layer isn't totally cold and set when you pour on the top layer.
The Secret Ingredient
Simple melted chocolate topped with crushed candy canes is wonderful, of course, but I also like to add a splash of peppermint extract to the melted chocolate before pouring it out. The extra kick of peppermint flavor really makes this treat feel special for the holidays.
How to Break Your Bark Into Pieces
Once hardened, just lift the bark off the baking sheet and crack it into pieces with your hands.
If you'd like a more uniform look, do this: Wait for the chocolate to just barely start to harden (it will hold your fingerprint if you press down, but won't make your finger wet). Use a paring knife or a chef's knife to gently score the top of the bark into uniform squares or rectangles. Let the chocolate finish cooling completely, then break it apart along the score lines.
How to Store Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark will keep for weeks if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. This makes it a great gift idea around the holidays -- make a big batch at the beginning of December and grab what you need for easy gifts for teachers, neighbors, and friends.
On the odd chance that you actually get tired of eating peppermint bark straight from the cookie tin, try chopping it up into pieces and make these Peppermint Bark Cookies or sprinkle them over a batch of brownies!
Looking for More Holiday Treats?
- 5 regular sized candy canes, or about 15 mini candy canes
- 12 ounces white chocolate or dark chocolate (chips, wafers, or chopped up chocolate bars)
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Prepare a tray for the bark
Line a cookie sheet with a silicon baking mat or with wax paper and set aside.
Break up peppermint candy into little pieces
Break up the candy canes with your hands first, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. Put that zip-top bag in a second zip top bag (the first one tends to tear when you start crushing the candies).
Place the bag on a cutting board and pound the candy canes with a kitchen mallet, meat tenderizer, or a hammer. You want chunky pieces for sprinkling over the chocolate, about the size of peas or slightly larger; don't crush them into too fine a powder.
Transfer the crushed candy canes to a bowl.
Melt the chocolate
Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir occasionally with a heat-proof spatula until the chocolate is completely melted.
Alternatively, melt the chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Stop microwaving when you see just a few small lumps of chocolate remaining. Stir until those lumps have melted completely.
Stir the peppermint extract into the chocolate
Spread out the chocolate
Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet and spread it out as thin or as thick as you like using a spatula (an offset spatula works especially well for this.)
Sprinkle with candy canes
Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in with yours hands.
Freeze until hardened
Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month.