peppermint bark - 5 days of candies - xmas 2013

I put out a call to my friends for Christmas candy ideas and an old school friend who'd spent last Christmas in the States, suggested I make chocolate bark. Now I love after dinner mints and I admit I may have a box or two stashed away in my cupboard for a rainy day. Chocolate and mint go so well together and as Williams Sonoma has recently opened a store in Sydney, I couldn't go past recreating their peppermint bark. Now I've never seen their peppermint bark before nor tasted it so I relied solely on the internet for help. 

The recipe I used is adapted from here and it's more an assembly job than cooking. There's a bit of melting and some crushing but seriously that's as stressful as it gets. Good chocolate is important here so please don't skimp.

Here's the recipe for you.

Peppermint Bark
4 oz pack candy canes
250 g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
250 g good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Peppermint extract

Line the base and sides of a lamington tin with baking paper.
Place candy canes into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or the back of a heavy knife to crush into pieces, about ¼ inch long. Separate the larger pieces by shaking the candy through a sieve. The cook gets to eat the crumbs.

Dark Chocolate Layer
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts. Stir frequently until the chocolate has just melted; do not overheat as the chocolate can burn easily. When the chocolate has melted, add ½ tsp of peppermint extract and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan with an offset spatula. Place the pan in the fridge and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the refrigerator while melting the white chocolate.

White Chocolate Layer
Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second bursts at 50% power and stir frequently until the chocolate has just melted; white chocolate chocolate melts more quickly than dark chocolate. When the white chocolate has just melted, add ¼ tsp of peppermint extract and stir thoroughly. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer. Use an offset spatula to quickly spread the white chocolate evenly. While the white chocolate layer is still soft sprinkle the larger candy cane pieces evenly over the top. Use the back of a large spoon to lightly press the candies into the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to rest in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes until just set. When the chocolate has set, remove from the pan before breaking into irregular pieces or use a sharp kitchen knife to cut into rectangular pieces about 2 by 4 inches. Store the bark in an airtight container.

P.S. Don't tell any of my friends this but they'll be getting some peppermint bark from me this Christmas.

I'll be back tomorrow with day 4 of Christmas Candy Week.

Bye for now,


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