Thursday, January 1, 2009

Peppermint Bark


For the last month and a half, I have seen postings about peppermint bark everywhere. I love this stuff! It just doesn’t get better than peppermint and white chocolate in my book. But all of the recipes that I came across seemed kind of basic. The recipes didn’t seem to be adding value to the raw ingredients – the final product was the same as the recipe, white chocolate, dark chocolate, peppermints - until I visited my newest, favorite, drool-worthy blog, Orangette.

This recipe layers a bittersweet chocolate ganache in between layers of white chocolate and peppermint. YUM!

I had originally planned to make these treats with my other Christmas goodies, but I was so overwhelmed with everything else, I never quite got around to them. So even though I felt a little silly, I made a Christmas treat the week after Christmas. And I am so glad that I did!

These are GOOOOOOOD!

Did anyone ever see that Friends episode where Rachel makes the trifle for Thanksgiving but accidentally includes a layer of beef and onion? Joey eats it and says, “What's not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Gooooood!” This peppermint bark totally channels that moment.

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Three-Layer Peppermint Bark
17 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
6 candy canes, coarsely crushed
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ teaspoons peppermint extract

Line a 9- by 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the white chocolate a double boiler over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the chocolate lumps have all melted, and the chocolate is smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Pour 2/3 cup of it onto the parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the parchment paper.

Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the crushed candy canes. Using a piece of parchment paper, gently press down on the candy to imbed it in the chocolate. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the bittersweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator, and pour the bittersweet chocolate mixture over the white chocolate. Using a spatula, spread the bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Chill until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Re-warm the remaining white chocolate over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour the white chocolate over the firm bittersweet layer, using your spatula to spread it to cover. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes. Using a piece of parchment paper, gently press down on the candy to imbed it in the chocolate. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Carefully lift the parchment paper from the baking sheet out of the baking sheet. The bark can easily be broken into pieces by hand, into either bite sized or larger chunks.

Pack into an airtight container, with sheets of wax paper between layers of bark to prevent them from sticking to one another. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: This bark will keep for up to 2 weeks, if not more. Separate the peppermint bark from other treats in the package with parchment paper.

Yield: about 36 pieces

(source Orangette)

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