December 17, 2009

Peppermint Bark and Christmas Gift Bags {Webisode #5}

My Day So Far: Manic Thursday! Visited Macy’s Santa-land (can’t help it, I promised my daughter!), picked up gift packaging materials, bakery for fresh baguettes.

Naptime Goals: Finish Peppermint Bark and assemble gift bags, laundry, book sitter for date night.
Tonight’s Meal: Paprika Pork Stew I made last night – it always tastes better the next day.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: It is unwise to let a toddler sample peppermint bark before bedtime.

I know I’ve been clamoring on and on about this all month, but edible Christmas gifts are a thing of mine. I’ve already told you about Apricot Jam, Spiced Walnuts and Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce, and today I’m going to tell you about Peppermint Bark. I adapted this recipe from one I found in Bon Appetit years and years ago. Since then I’ve seen it turn up on other people’s sites, including here and here. It appears this recipe has many fans, and rightly so. Then, leave it to good ole’ BA, they ended up giving us a recipe on how to use this bark in cookies in the December 2009 issue! They are amazingly delicious, I tell you, but I’ll leave that post for another time.

Peppermint Bark is ubiquitous this time of year, and after sampling many many varieties I can confirm, with a great deal of authority, that this recipe is indeed the best. It has just the right balance of chocolate, sugar and peppermint. It is neither too hard, nor too soft, and I love the way the crushed candies add a nice crunch that won’t break your teeth.

As I mentioned above, I purposely planned ahead with dinner, making Paprika Pork Stew the evening prior and leaving it the fridge for the flavors to marry overnight. This way I had all of my daughter’s naptime to make my batches of Peppermint Bark and get them ready for distribution. In this webisode I show you how I make the peppermint bark – whilst tackling several loads of laundry and catching up on emails – and how they fit into my finished gifts bags. (Parents note: I fit in my chores while the chocolate is chilling.)


Three Layer Holiday Peppermint Bark

adapted from Bon Appetit December 1998


16 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped (make sure it has “cocoa butter” in the ingredients!)
30 hard peppermint candies, crushed
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, (at least 60%), finely chopped
6 T. heavy cream
¾ t. peppermint extract


1. Line a 9×13 baking pan or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

2. In a double-boiler, or heatproof bowl set on top of a bowl of simmering water, add the white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove chocolate from the heat.

3. Pour 2/3 of the chocolate onto the aluminum foil and spread the chocolate to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle this chocolate with ½ of the crushed candies. Place pan in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan combine bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract. Warm, stirring frequently, until chocolate and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool until it is room temperature.

5. Remove baking sheet from the fridge and spread the dark chocolate on top of the white chocolate and candies. Return pan to fridge and chill again for 25 minutes.

6. Finally, remove baking pan from fridge and reheat white chocolate. Spread on top of dark chocolate layer and sprinkle with remaining candy. Return to fridge and allow to chill for 30 minutes.

7. Once bark is completely chilled break into pieces as large or small as desire.

Storage/Packing Notes: It is really best to store this in a cool, dry place. I always wrap it in parchment paper before putting it in a gift tin. Also, don’t store it with other foods or they will absorb the peppermint flavor!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This one of the best, and easiest, edible gifts to give. If you want to make this two-layer, simply omit step three.

Naptime Stopwatch

As you can see, making this takes about 45 minutes, because of the chilling involved, but a lot of that time is free time when you can do other things.

Naptime Reviews

Everyone I have ever given this to raves about it. In fact, some years I give the recipe along with the gift!