• Peppermint Bark

    December 23, 2015

    Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice! I have a sweet treat for you. This is my favorite Christmas splurge, and I usually cough up a ridiculous amount of money each wintry season to nibble away at a box. This year, I went for homemade. A neighbor of mine made this for an Open House, and I cadged the recipe. Make a tray, and then cut bite-size pieces. A little goes a long way. This recipe originally appeared in Bon Appetit.

    Monday was the shortest day of the year, which means today and all days following will be fractionally lighter. I will take it, every last bit of light. Every day of December has brought us rain, and we broke some records along the way. We have already exceeded the December record rainfall of 1996! 13+ inches. Maybe Mother Nature is getting it all out of the way. I have surrendered to the rain and watch in amazement as the river rises and the ground soaks it up and … fingers crossed, my basement remains dry. I will be headed to Mt. Hood to x-c ski and frolic in the precipitation I like best – snow!

    Wishing you many successful experiments in the kitchen in 2016! Thanks for reading!

    Peppermint Bark

    Makes a lot!
    Ingredients

    17 oz. white chocolate (white chocolate chips work well)
    30 peppermint candies or about 10 candy canes (crushed)
    7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    6 T heavy cream
    3/4 tsp. peppermint extract

    1.  Use a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet or butter a 9-by-12 baking pan. Melt white chocolate chips by heating in a metal or other heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. You can also melt the chips in the microwave. Remove from the heat. Pour 2/3 cup of  white chocolate onto a silicone baking sheet and roughly shape into a 9- by 12-inch rectangle (you can trim it out later). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the crushed peppermints. Sprinkle quickly, before the white chocolate sets up. Cool in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
    2. Combine chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Cool until lukewarm. Remove baking sheet from refrigerator and pour the bittersweet chocolate mixture over the white chocolate base.Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate across the candy cane field. Chill until cold and firm – about 25 minutes.
    3. Rewarm the white chocolate (microwave or back on the stovetop) and pour the white chocolate over the bittersweet layer. Spread using the spatula and again, work quickly to sprinkle the remaining candy pieces over top. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
    4. Trim the raggedy edges and eat them. Then cut into life-size or bite-size pieces. Enjoy! Indulge. Salads await you in January!

    Notes:

    * I used white chocolate chips as they contained cocoa butter. A lot of white chocolate bars contain no cocoa butter and are hence, just sugar and palm oil. Get the real deal.
    * The middle chocolate layer is meant to be soft between the two harder layers of white chocolate. I freeze the extra to keep myself from eating it and to store it for guests!

     

    Peppermint Bark

    Peppermint Bark