Saturday, December 26, 2009

as promised, peppermint bark

So on Tuesday when I was Howard Hughesing it (or being a hermit, if you need the translation) I peeled five boxes of candy canes in preparation for making peppermint bark. If you haven't ever had peppermint bark, prepare to meet an easy, delicious treat that is so simple to make you can't even believe it.

Here I am in my Santa apron. Now, I only wear this thing at this time of year. And, if you remember, I don't like Santa, but it seemed appropriate while showing you the recipe for peppermint bark. Don't mock. (and please ignore the two bottles of chocolate syrup, the bag or potatoes and assorted other junk on my counter...if you remember, I had a bad morning making this stuff.) (See previous post if you don't remember!) And no, I'm not showing you the bruise I got from running into the open microwave door.

Now, I make five batches of bark, because I give bark to all the relatives and all our neighbors. It's eagerly anticipated by everyone, and because it is so easy to make, I am able to get it done in a short amount of time. And everyone is happy. It takes one package of white almond bark to one box of candy canes.

I peel the candy canes and put them in a gallon ziploc bag. I use my hands to break them into smaller pieces. Then I use the meat tenderizer to smash the candy canes into little teeny tiny pieces. Smithereens. The definition of smithereens: a noun that refers to the dust in to which I smash the candy canes.

I do this on a cutting board, because the sharp broken candy inevitably pierces the bag and I end up with peppermint dust on the board. And it gets sticky. So don't just do it on the counter, unless you like sticky peppermint covered counters. I also wouldn't recommend pounding more than one box of candy canes in the bag, because I have no idea what amount of candy cane smithereens you need for each batch. It could be a cup, it could be more. Who knows?

Break the bark into a couple of big pieces and place in a microwave bowl. Microwave for three minutes. Stir.

Dump your bag of candy cane smithereens into the melted bark. Stir.

Spread onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Now, I don't like my bark to be too thick, so spread it thin. It makes it easier to crack later, after it hardens. Place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator or the freezer. It hardens faster in the freezer, but sometimes I don't have that much space. You'll know it's hard when it loses the shiny look.

When it hardens you pull it out and break it into pieces. I use my hands for this, and start at the edges and work my way to the middle. Five batches probably made about three gallon sized ziploc bags full of peppermint bark. But I divided it into smaller bags and put it into sandwich bags and then into gift bags. Using those special holiday bags would be cute too.

Note: I make one batch at a time. Because of freezer and refrigerator space, and because of how many cookie sheets I have, I do one and then another. If I made two batches together, I would need twice as much space. But a warning, you must wash the bowl in between batches. The bark doesn't react well being re-microwaved once it has melted and hardened on the sides of the bowl. Don't think about the chemical make-up too much, just wash the bowl. Trust me.

Now, Williams-Sonoma makes a really great bark if you don't want to make it yourself. Theirs has a milk chocolate layer underneath, which makes it more Andes mint flavored, but nonetheless wonderful. You could probably make the two layer peppermint bark if you tried, but I haven't yet and can't speak to the ease.


2China4Ayla said...

Yum! Love this stuff and wondered how to make it - thanks!!!

Alison said...

I love peppermint bark.
I made the Williams-Sonoma, two toned, kind last year. It was easy, too. Just one extra step.

I have almost no extra refrigerator space so I have to make things in batches, too.

We don't do Santa either, but your apron is quite festive...and quite appropriate for peppermint bark making.

LenaBug said...

You are my new HERO!! I adore peppermint bark, and can't afford to buy the good stuff. Now I can MAKE my addiction!!! :) Thank you!!