Regardless of holiday party plans, as host or attendee, no matter how long or short (or nonexistent) gift and wishlist’s may be, I have two words for you: Peppermint Bark.
All it takes is chocolate and crushed candy canes, yet it can elicit the same level of enthusiasm as a laborious multi-tier Christmas cake. You’d think the stuff was sprinkled with pure gold judging by the way some people clamor to snap up piece after piece, as if they had struck it rich at the dessert buffet.
Something about the combination of creamy chocolate slabs, festooned with crunchy red and white striped mint confections seems to strike a chord with everyone, young, old, jolly, and curmudgeonly alike. It’s all about the ratio and quality of ingredients that always hits the sweet spot.
For all the breathless praise this classic confection receives, the real beauty is in its simplicity. Even the fanciest renditions, decked out in layers of dark and white chocolate, can be made by the pound in a matter of minutes, for pennies on the dollar. If you’ve forgotten someone in need of a sweet holiday greeting, or need a last-minute contribution for a party, peppermint bark has your back.
This year, my bark is even better than a quick little bite. Blending cocoa butter with brilliant, full-bodied vanilla, freshly ground candy cane, and rich cocoa, I’m starting from scratch, building my bar from the ground up. Maybe I took it a bit too literally at that, but I couldn’t resist the double entendre of making it look like bark of the earthier sort while I was at it.
- 6 Ounces 100% Food-Grade Cocoa Butter, Melted
- 3/4 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Candy Cane, Very Finely Ground
- 2 Teaspoons Beet Powder (For Color)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 1/4 Cup Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
- Set out three candy bar molds that can hold approximately 2 ounces each; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted cocoa butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla, mixing thoroughly until completely smooth. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into your molds, dividing it equally between them.
- Divide the remaining mixture in half, pouring an equal amount into a separate bowl. Into the first bowl, add the ground candy cane, beet powder, and peppermint extract. Once smooth, pour it into the molds, right on top of the first white layer.
- For the remainder, whisk in the cocoa, and pour it right on top, filling the molds. Use a toothpick to gently swirl all three colors together, marbling the layers without completely blending them. Carefully move the molds into the fridge and let rest, undisturbed, for 1 - 2 hours or until set.
- Pop out of the molds, wrap in plastic, and store in a cool place.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 658Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 1g