Williams-Sonoma has it for $26.50 (see photo). Crate & Barrel has it for $15.95. And my personal favorite: Neiman Marcus has it for a whopping $40. They can't be serious. Sorry, but isn't peppermint bark just a combination of melted chocolate and crushed peppermint sticks?
Instead of buying peppermint bark this year, I decided to make it. I'm not a huge white chocolate fan, so instead I made it with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate topped with a thin layer of white chocolate. No matter how you make it, peppermint bark makes a wonderful gift, is incredibly simple and only takes about 15 minutes. Not to mention, you can save your hard-earned dough for something else. Truffle salt stocking stuffer, anyone?
Here's what you need to make peppermint bark:
- 1 pound (16 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I got them at Trader Joe's)
- 1 pound (16 ounces) white chocolate chips
- 1 cup of crushed peppermint sticks (aka candy canes), plus 1/2 cup for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Don't have a double boiler? Neither do I. I filled a 3-quart stock pot halfway with water, brought it to a boil and then placed a big glass bowl on top of the pot. The heat from the boiling water creates heat under the bowl, melting the chocolate. No need for fancy double boilers here.
Stir the chocolate with a wooden spoon every 30 seconds or so until it has completely melted and is smooth. Keep a close eye on the chocolate so it doesn't burn. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread until it covers the entire pan in an even layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator and let rest until the chocolate is cool and solid to the touch (about 5-10 minutes).
While the first layer of chocolate is cooling, clean the double boiler and replace over medium heat. Add the white chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth. Add the peppermint extract and combine until it is fully incorporated into the chocolate. Stir the crushed peppermint pieces into the chocolate. Remove from the heat.
Remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate evenly over the semi-sweet layer. You may want to do this in sections, as the white chocolate will quickly melt the semi-sweet layer and risk creating a swirled chocolate texture. This doesn't bother me, but anyone wanting the "pure" white chocolate top layer should remember this tip.
Once the white chocolate layer has been applied, sprinkle the remaining crushed peppermint pieces over the top. Place back in the refrigerator until hardened (about 30 minutes) and then break into pieces. Serve to your family, give as gifts or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yum!