What is Christmas without a little peppermint bark? Or in this case, marbled bark… sounds fancy, but isn’t really. Like with the cranberry bliss bar, I’m kind of stretching the meaning of “cookie” again. But I’m still in the easy-does-it mode in the kitchen. So easy in fact, I didn’t turn on a stove or oven for this…
So… the writing class I’ve been taking ends next week with a student reading. We’ve all invited bunches of people and are going to stand up in front of everyone and read for 3-4 minutes each. I’m not too nervous. Yet. My nerves usually don’t kick in for real until show time… or 5-10 minutes till. Sort of late-onset stage fright.
When I was in college, I was in a ballroom dance performance group (how nerdy is that?). Yes, we dressed in costumes and did ballroom dances in front of people. And this was way before Dancing with the Stars. Anyway, I can remember a “solo” dance my partner and I did (though I suppose it would be a duet since it was 2 of us, but it was only 1 couple so we called it a solo. Whatever). 30 minutes before it was our turn to perform, my partner was freaking out while I calmly told him everything would be fine. For 20 minutes I was the image of steely coolness. Then somewhere around 5 minutes to curtain, I fell apart. My partner regained his composure before our music started, but it took me about 30 seconds into the performance to regain my composure mentally. Luckily, my feet knew where to go.
Anyway, so now I’m sitting here calmly thinking about next week’s reading knowing full well that my palms will be sweating… just not until it’s go time. I’m not sure my mouth is as good at winging it as my feet though.
What does this have to do with peppermint bark? Not a thing… But then I’m not sure how much there is to say about this bark except that it is easy and with the marbling, looks impressive.
(adapted from Holiday Desserts booklet, 1994)
about 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounce bag)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (10 ounce bag)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (*see note)
Optional: 1/2 cup crushed candy cane
- Line a sheet pan with wax paper or a silpat (silicone) mat. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, melt the semisweet chips in the microwave (or in a glass bowl over simmering water). If using microwave, heat for 1 minute then stir. Then heat for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until completely melted.
- In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate chips as in step 1. When the white chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.
- Spread the semisweet and white chocolate on the sheet pan in stripes, beginning and ending with semisweet.
- Run the tip of a knife through the stripes to create a marble effect. [I started by running my knife up and down, then side to side, then diagonally. Repeating until it was as marbled as I wanted…]
- Optional: Sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top.
- Put sheet pan in freezer for 15 minutes, or until chocolate is completely set. Break it into pieces or shards. Enjoy!
- Instead of peppermint extract, a friend of mine will sift the crushed candy canes and mix the finest bits that sift out into the white chocolate.
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract adds just a hint of peppermint to the white chocolate, if you like a stronger peppermint flavor you may want to increase this to 1 teaspoon.
- Instead of marbling, (for a more traditional looking bark) you could also layer the white chocolate on top of the semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkle on the candy canes.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, unless you plan on eating it right away. The semi-sweet chocolate could “bloom” (get a hazy white coating) if left at room temperature for prolonged amounts of time since we didn’t temper the chocolate. If you’d like to store this at room temperature without the bloom, check out David Lebovitz’s information on tempering chocolate.
- You could also skip the peppermint extract and candy cane entirely and sprinkle the top with chopped nuts (like walnuts or maybe pecans) instead.