This year was the year, and immediately two things caught my attention. First, the picture shows an equal amount of milk chocolate and white chocolate, but the recipe calls for two different amounts of chocolate. Second, The recipe says to line a pan with foil but the picture shows a beautiful square of bark cut out of a pan sans any foil anywhere. Not being a 100% confident cook, I decided to try the recipe with the chocolate amounts as written. Unfortunately, right when I poured the first layer into the pan, I knew I should have gone with my gut and used more milk chocolate...not that my gut is really complaining about the finished product though! I was really happy with how this peppermint bark turned out, and it was super easy. However, there are a few morsels remaining, and I do think the chocolate texture has changed over the course of the last couple of days (perhaps that is due to our climate or maybe it is the way I melted my chocolate (hence "easy" in the title versus carefully tempering it). I won't know until next Christmas!
I altered the recipe to reflect the amounts of chocolate I will use the next time I make it (so if you give this a try, unlike my pictures, yours brown and white chocolate should be equal). This easy candy treat is great for gifts or parties, but I do recommend consuming it within 3-4 days of making it to enjoy it at its peak freshness. As you can see by all of the *'s throughout the recipe, there are quite a few tips that will make this a successful candy-making endeavor.
Easy Peppermint Bark
1 pound high-quality semi-sweet chocolate*
1 pound white chocolate with cocoa butter*
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2-2/3 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies*
Working in 2-3 batches, place candy canes or peppermint candies in mini-food processor and pulse into small pieces. Set aside. Line a 15x10" jelly roll pan with foil extended over the sides. Grease foil with a nonstick spray. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power, 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time. When the chips are almost melted but still holding some form, take out of the microwave and stir until smooth. (It is easy to burn chocolate in the microwave. To ensure smooth chocolate, make sure no water gets into the chocolate, and take your time melting it. You can also use a double-broiler if you don't mind more dishes.) Pour evenly into pan and smooth. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup peppermint candy. Place in refrigerator until firm.
Heat white chocolate in the same way as the milk chocolate. Once smooth, stir in peppermint extract. Pour over chocolate layer and spread quickly so it does not melt the first chocolate layer. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy. Chill until both layers are firm. Lift foil out of pan and cut into squares of desired size.
1) You can use whatever milk chocolate you desire, from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. I read somewhere that dark chocolate has less issues with separating from the white chocolate, but I can't find where I read that and it is past my bedtime. Many recipes call for whichever chocolate you prefer so I think you can safely go with preference.
2) The white chocolate must contain cocoa butter in order to adhere to the milk/semi-sweet/dark chocolate. Check the ingredient list before tossing your white chocolate into your shopping basket.
3) I used my food processor. However, I did feel like I had more candy cane powder than I wanted. Larger chunks tend to be preferred for the topping, so two different suggestions:
* use a small mallet/hammer to crush your candy canes or
* use the food processor and put the smallest pieces/powder in the 1/4 cup used on top of the milk chocolate layer, saving the larger chunks for the top of the white chocolate.
Merry baking and candy making...only 10 days until Christmas!