24 Days of Christmas Recipes & Activities – Day Five
Peppermint Bark Recipe
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without making some sort of chocolate treat. Growing up, my Grandma and I would make chocolate gifts for everyone and we’d make them all year, but Christmas was special for us. She spent a lot of time figuring out what chocolate gifts to make who to make sure that their gift was absolutely perfect, and the best part was that I got to lick the hot chocolate spoons and eat all the chocolate that I could quite possibly stuff inside of me. Nan was awesome.
This will be my second Christmas without her, but I am still carrying on the chocolate making tradition. I decided to make peppermint bark this year instead of dipping something.
Making chocolate bark is really quite simple. It just takes time and patience. Also, the higher quality chocolate that you buy, the better your results will be. Cheap chocolate is made with lots of oil, and little chocolate, so it does not melt properly. And tempering your chocolate will ensure that the chocolate is stabilized and is smooth and shiny.
Tempering chocolate is most often done when chocolate will be used for candy making or decorating. Chocolate is tempered to prevent the cocoa butter in the chocolate from forming crystals after it has been heated and then cooled. If the crystals are not stabilized by tempering, they can create a dull grey like chocolate called “bloom”, and will be crumbly. To temper chocolate follow these steps:
- Finely chop chocolate
- Place 1/3 of the chocolate in a glass bowl, and place in a double boiler. You want to make sure that the bowl does not touch the water, and that the water is just simmering.
- Stir chocolate until melted, and remove from heat.
- Divide remaining chocolate in 3-4 even piles and sprinkle each batch into the melted chocolate and begin to cool and temper. Do this with the remaining chocolate. If the chocolate has cooled too much, reheat over double boiler for 30-40 seconds.
Anthony decided not to join me on this recipe, but was very happy to be my “dishwasher” and lick the spoons and eat the chocolate out of the bowl when I was done… just like his mama! I am sure that he will be enjoying the end results though!
Be careful melting your chocolate because it can seize very easily. A drop of water in melted chocolate and you’re done for and need to start all over again.
I wasn’t paying attention to my white chocolate on my first attempt and it seized on me… this is what I came up with… Oops! Had to start again.
Peppermint Bark Recipe
8 oz dark chocolate (60%-72% cocoa), chopped
8 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp peppermint extract
4-6 candy canes, crushed
- Prepare a baking sheet by spreading oil with a pastry brush and then placing parchment paper over the top. This prevents the parchment from slipping when you add the warm chocolate.
- Set up a double boiler, and slowly melt dark chocolate. Temper using the above method.
- When chocolate is melted, slowly drizzle in peppermint extract and stir again.
- With an offset spatula, spread dark chocolate onto sheet tray and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
- While dark chocolate is cooling, melt white chocolate using the tempering method as well. Be very, very, very careful with white chocolate. It can seize really quick. As soon as it starts to melt on the double boiler, and you notice that say 75% of your chocolate is melted, and sticking together, remove it from heat, and then continue your tempering process.
- Remove dark chocolate from freezer, and let sit for a minute or so.
- Pour white chocolate over dark chocolate, and spread using an offset spatula. Be careful to work quickly because the warm white chocolate can start melting the dark chocolate and will create a swirl effect.
- Sprinkle candy canes evenly over the top and gently press into white chocolate.
- Place in freezer again to harden for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and leave at room temperature to finish cooling.
- Break into pieces and store in an airtight container, or give away as gifts.