This past Monday I finally got around to making something I've been meaning to make for years. What is it, you might ask? Well, delicious peppermint bark, of course! When we took down our (sad, dried up) Christmas tree this past Sunday I was left with a handful of uneaten candy canes. What better way to put them to use than by making peppermint bark.
My true interest in this minty confection was piqued after reading Molly Wizenburg's write up on her blog, Orangette. I followed Molly's recipe, which is actually her sister's, who is famous and loved for the peppermint bark that she adapted from a recipe published in the December 1998 issue of Bon Appétit. Whew! I think a book of recipe family trees would be quite interesting, don't you?
The whole process was a cinch, and took a minimal amount of effort. The three different chocolate melting steps for the 3 layers did, however, remind me once again how much I need a double boiler. Why do I never remember these things when I am in a cooking store?
This minimal amount of effort on my part resulted in a delicious minty treat that I've been snacking on ever since. The texture of the bark is quite nice both cold, straight out of the refrigerator, and room temperature. The dark chocolate ganache-like filling is wonderful and has just the right amount of minty zip when paired with the candy cane crunch. I think it would serve as the perfect medium for mint chocolate truffles, perhaps dipped in white chocolate and left as is or rolled in crushed chocolate wafers. They'd be the Thin Mint counterpart to these Oreo Truffles I've also been meaning to make.
The recipe calls for 17 ounces of white chocolate but I only had 12 ounces. Rather than run to the store to get more, I made due with what I had and I don't think they suffered aside from the fact that my white chocolate layers are a bit thinner than called for. I also used candy canes rather than the mint candy rounds called for.
Three-Layer Peppermint Crunch Bark
adapted from Bon Appétit, December 1998 via Orangette
17 ounces of good quality white chocolate, finely chopped- Molly recommends making sure your chocolate is made with Cocoa Butter as not all are, sadly.
7 ounces of bitter sweet 60% dark chocolate, chopped
30 red and white striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces) - I used candy canes.
6 tablespoons of heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract- I may have added a tad bit more, accidentally.
Turn large baking sheet upside down and cover securely with foil. Mark a 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. (I used my sheet right side up and marked a rectangle slightly smaller than 12 x 9-inch because I was short on white chocolate.)
Stir white chocolate in a double boiler or metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water or in your double boiler if you, unlike me, have one. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover and immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles or you can break up the ark into pieces. (I carefully removed the foil before I started cutting.)
The bark can be made two weeks in advance. Chill in airtight container. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving, or serve cold, straight out of the refrigerator.