peppermint bark – a perfect homemade gift
This homemade peppermint bark recipe is so easy and a fraction of the cost of the bark sold at Williams Sonoma (theirs is $28 per lb, mine is closer to $6 per lb or £2 per 450g). When we lived in California I became addicted to the free peppermint bark samples Williams Sonoma had around Christmas, so I wanted to bring a version over to England. It’s a great thing to make with children while they’re off school and makes a lovely gift.
Peppermint bark is my favourite American christmas taste
If you were to sum up the taste of Christmas in America I’d say that chocolate and peppermint is the one that stands out for me the most. In England I’d say it is mulled wine and spiced mince pies. Although most Brits grow up with After Eights, or (if you are posh) Bendicks of Mayfair or Elizabeth Shaw mint chocolates being rolled out after Christmas dinner. This bark would be lovely to serve after dinner. We also mixed some broken pieces with hot milk to make yummy hot chocolate.
Which chocolate makes the best peppermint bark
In England I’ve been amazed at how good the chocolate from Lidl is for making this. I’m a bit of a Green and Blacks addict usually but I took a punt on the Lidl bars and they are perfect for this and have a really good flavour – and they’re less than 50p each so it really helps keep the cost down if you’re making a bit batch.
For those of you in America, don’t even think about using Hersheys for this please! I think the big blocks of Trader Joe’s Pound Plus milk and dark chocolate would work – although I’m not keen on their white chocolate as it has an artificial vanilla flavour. My preferred white chocolate is Green and Blacks (available at Whole Foods) or Ghirardelli.
Peppermint bark ingredients
Makes enough for two people to have around 200g (7oz) each as a gift. I usually make a triple batch of the recipe below.
100g (3.5oz) bar of dark chocolate. See notes above.
100g (3.5oz) bar of milk chocolate. See notes above.
100g (3.5oz) bar of white chocolate. See notes above.
3 peppermint candy canes
a pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
- Don’t unwrap the chocolate. Starting with the dark chocolate, just bang the unopened packet on the kitchen counter so that all the bits inside break then open it and dump it into a bowl.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave. One bar usually takes 90 seconds in my microwave. Stop it when it is 90% melted and stir until it is all melted. This avoids it over-heating.
- Lay down a silicone sheet, foil or parchment – no need to oil it. Ideally put it somewhere cool – I do it next to my window.
- Use a silicone spatula to scrape every last bit of the melted chocolate onto the silicone sheet. Because you are scraping your bowl so well, you can re-use it to melt your milk chocolate. I know know how much you love it when I save you dish washing!
- Spread the chocolate thinly on the foil or parchment, using the silicone spatula. Get it as thin as you can, around 2mm. This quantity will make a dinner plate size slab. Leave the slab to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Break and melt the bar of white chocolate then spread it over the solid dark chocolate and leave again.
7. Repeat using the milk chocolate as the final layer. Crush up the peppermint candy canes in the food processor or in a bag wrapped in a tea towel then hammered with a rolling pin. Then sprinkle the resulting fragments over the still wet chocolate. I like to sprinkle some Maldon sea salt on at this stage to balance out the sweetness. Trust me.
8. Put the whole thing in the fridge or a cool place until it is set. This usually takes half an hour.
9. When it is set, put it on a cutting board. Use a sharp large knife to chop it into rough pieces or squares.
10. I usually wrap mine in foil and then, if I’m giving it as a gift, I wrap it in baking parchment or a striped paper bag and tie it with red and white bakers twine or string. Keep it in the fridge for a week – but I doubt it will last that long.
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