This homemade candy not only looks so pretty but it's absolutely delicious, and I'm not even a big peppermint fan. Making it yourself is quite a fun project and you can make it quite a bit ahead as it keeps well in the fridge or the freezer. I remember the first time I ever made it and tasted it and could not believe how addictive it was - so it makes great gifts at the holidays!
I always make a little treat of some kind to hand out on Christmas Eve every year and this is what I made last year. I just designed a little label and printed them out on my computer with Epson Adhesive Sheets, which let you cut out any size label.
Follow the directions carefully - it's important to use good quality chocolate and chill the candy thoroughly between each layer. The originial recipe calls for 17 ounces of white chocolate, but I have changed that to 16 ounces - most chocolate comes in 4 ounce packages and it just doesn't make sense to use 17 ounces. I used an even 16, from four packages, and it was perfect.
yield: makes about 36 pieces
- 16 ounces good-quality white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli), broken into pieces
- 30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed, about 6 oz. (I used already crushed Peppermint Snow from Williams Sonoma but I know Brach's makes crushed candy canes and King Arthur Flour sells it, also)
- 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)
- 6 tablespoons whipping cream
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Do not overheat. I take the chocolate off the heat before it is fully smooth and then use a whisk and stir it until it is completely smooth.) Remove from over water. Pour ⅔ cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with ¼ 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 even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes. Make sure your chocolate at this point is thoroughly chilled because, if it is not, the next step will not work right and you will end up with a chocolate streaked white chocolate layer on top!
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill 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. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Be sure to store this in the refrigerator - storing at room temperature does not work for this candy. It gets too soft and the pieces will stick together.
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit/Epicurious