I never made peppermint bark when the kids were growing up. It wasn’t something that was a family recipe and it never really made an appearance in my own childhood, so it was pretty much off the radar for me as an adult. The year before Cody went into the Marine Corps, though, he had some peppermint bark at a friend’s house and came home raving about it.
He’d always had a sweet tooth.
I became determined to provide him with some of the stuff in his stocking. I drove around town to all the places I thought one might score some peppermint bark. Nothing. I drove up to Charlotte and hit the World Market, convinced I would find it there, if nowhere else. Nothing. I turned to the Google Machine and typed out my woes. They had a whole bunch of options at ungodly prices (I really need to find out what’s considered a godly price) plus shipping. Also, it was too close to Christmas to get it without paying for premium shipping.
I don’t know why I expended all that energy instead of looking up recipes in the first place. Because, people, this one isn’t rocket science. It’s not even build-a-volcano or dye Easter eggs science. This is caveman simple.
Why is this stuff only around at Christmas?
- 12 ounces very good quality semi-sweet chocolate (or a 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips if you’re cool with it. I’m typically cool with it.)
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 16 ounces very good quality white chocolate (or a 16oz bag of white chocolate chips.)
- Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (if it is near Christmas)
Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. I use the non-stick type of foil even though this stuff peels off pretty easily. The thickness is just about perfect. Make sure you smooth out all the wrinkles so the candy looks pretty when it’s done.
Bring about an inch of water in a saucepan to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Put the semi-sweet chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and set it over the water. DO NOT let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Slowly stir the chocolate until it is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir in half of the peppermint extract. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly.
Repeat this process with the white chocolate (with a new bowl … don’t wash and use the same bowl unless you are sure you can get rid of any moisture on the inside of the bowl before you put the chocolate into it.) After pouring the white chocolate over the semi-sweet chocolate in the baking dish, immediately sprinkle with the peppermint candy pieces. Gently press them down a bit to embed them in the white chocolate.
Set the dish aside until it has cooled completely (or stick it in the fridge if you’re impatient like me.) When it is cool and hardened, lift the candy out of the dish and peel off the aluminum foil. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Try not to eat all of it before you give it to your son.