Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark is one of my favorite holiday treats.  And since the main components are the white and/or dark chocolate--the type of chocolate you use really matters!  I like it plain with just white chocolate.  I like it with the dark chocolate drizzle.  And I like it with a light crunch from Rice Krispies.  Over the years I've become quite opinionated about how to make it and blended several recipes.  I prefer the taste of peppermint oil over peppermint extract (but extract works too).  I like Bob's candycanes best.  I only use Ghiradelli white chocolate chips.  But I like to mix those with with high quality melting wafers or white chocolate bars from specialty shops--I don't ever use almond bark.  So here's my favorite recipe:

12-15 candy canes
1 pound white chocolate (I use a 12oz bag of ghiradelli white chocolate chips and 4-6oz. of melting wafers, you could also chop a block of white chocolate)
4 drops peppermint oil (or 1/2 t peppermint extract)
1 1/2 - 2 cups crispy rice cereal
**1/3 dark chocolate chips or 3-4 oz. of chopped high quality dark chocolate

1.  Spray a rimmed cookie sheet.  Then line with wax paper.  (The spray is strictly to help the wax paper stick to the cookie sheet).
2. Crush candy canes.  Place unwrapped candy canes in a quart size ziploc bag.  Place that ziploc in a gallon size bag.  Smash into pieces using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer.  Sift candy cane pieces through a fine mesh seize and toss or set aside the dust to use with hot chocolate.
3.  Melt white chocolate and wafers.  I prefer to heat in the microwave at 50% power for 30-60 second intervals, stirring in between.  (Confession, I always do the first minute at full power without the chocolate ever burning).
4.  Add the peppermint oil/extract and half of the crushed peppermint and stir.
5.  Gently fold in crispy rice cereal.
6.  Spread out in an thin even layer on the wax paper.  (**If adding a dark chocolate drizzle, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle on with a fork in zig-zag motions before the white chocolate sets).  Then generously sprinkle with the remaining candy cane pieces on top.  Press gently into the bark.  Chill for at least an hour.  Break into pieces.

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