Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to: Icy Peppermint Bark Recipe

Williams-Sonoma sells Peppermint Bark. I have read that it is one of their most popular holiday items. When I was a girl, there was a Fanny Farmer Candy Store that sold Peppermint Ice. I remember thinking that I would find out how to make it when I grew up. At first I made it without a dark chocolate layer underneath. About thirty years ago, I added a chocolate layer.
 My technique is slightly different than theirs, but easily converts to resemble the store variety.  
 Start by prepping your candy canes for crushing. Here's a tip: Mini candy cane wrappers come off much easier than the larger, shrink-wrapped varieties that I demonstrated in yesterday's post. 
 Crush the candy canes once they are all in a sealed plastic storage bag.  Power on Kirsti has a kitchen mallet, but I use a hammer or rubber mallet from the tool box.
 There should be a good mix of tiny candy shards and larger, pretty pieces.
 Melt two cups of chocolate chips. I use either the dark chocolate chips or double chocolate bark. If you use a lighter chocolate bark, add two ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate as you melt it to give it more flavor.
 We like chocolate to be minty this time of year so add 4 drops of peppermint oil to the melted chocolate. 

Do not try to pour drops into your chocolate. Rather pour out a little in a measuring spoon and then add it drop by drop to the chocolate. Stir it in. 
 Pour melted chocolate onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Use a rubber scraper to smooth to desired thickness. 
Melt 2 cups of white chocolate bark or chips.
 I add a tiny bit of food coloring to this, but William Sonoma does not.
 I dip a toothpick into my coloring paste, then swirl it into the chocolate. Do not reuse the toothpick. If you need more coloring, use a fresh toothpick.
The bark that is our family tradition is has a pink top layer and all of the peppermint is incorporated into the white chocolate. 
 
Remember how I mentioned you want a few larger, prettier pieces of candy cane? Separate a portion of those pieces from your cup of crushed candy canes. Set aside for the Williams-Sonoma top layer.

Fold one cup of crushed peppermint sticks into the white chocolate.
If you are trying to duplicate the commercial bark, pour white chocolate onto semi set layer of dark chocolate then sprinkle with peppermint while the white chocolate is still warm. If your layers don't meld together well, you can soften the candy after it is assembled by placing it in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven for a few minutes to soften. Gently tap the pan on the counter when you remove it.
Using my method, work quickly to fold the peppermint into the chocolate. As soon as it is adequately mixed, pour onto the chocolate layer and swirl together.

Sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces on top of the layers of chocolate.
Gently press the peppermint candy into the still-warm bark. Allow the bark to cool. To speed up the process you can place the cookie sheet outside. All the world is a deep freeze during North Dakota winters. 
Our family favorite bark is pink swirled into the chocolate with no crushed candy on top. The top layer of crushed candy cane mixed into melted white chocolate is the Peppermint Ice that I remember tasting from Fanny Farmer when I was a girl. 

Fanny Farmer, Williams Sonoma, and everyone who tastes this easy to make candy falls in love with Icy Peppermint Bark as the bells start to jingle in GriggsDakota.

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