You know, I had every intention of taking a ton of great photos and close ups of every step of making our Triple Chocolate Extra Pepperminty Peppermint Bark, but it just didn’t happen. I have no excuse. The camera was right there. Yet somehow I took a grand total of 2 photos of the entire process.
It’s a good thing it isn’t a very complicated process.
The first step is to gather your ingredients. I’m not specifying quantities because this is a super flexible recipe. You can do this with a single chocolate bar of each type and have enough bark for one or two people to share, or you can buy an entire truckload of chocolate and send the entire neighbourhood into a sugar high that lasts for days.
Milk chocolateWhite chocolate
Peppermint flavoured candy canes
Peppermint extract for chocolate (not water based)
Grab a cutting board and a good chef’s knife and roughly chop each of the types of chocolate into chunks for easier melting. Make sure you keep each pile separate from the other – you will want to wipe down your knife and cutting board between chocolates.
You will also want to push the bowls of chopped chocolate to the far back of the counter to keep little fingers from eating it all before it can be turned into peppermint bark.
(You may also want to give yourself a stern talking to so that you don’t eat all the chocolate yourself before it can be turned into peppermint bark.)
Next, drop the unwrapped candy canes in a zipper baggie, then wrap that in a tea towel. Lay it on a sturdy cutting board and use something heavy like a meat tenderizer or a small hammer to smash it repeatedly until you have crushed candy canes. The kids like doing this part. If you are more sane and less inclined to like loud banging noises in the kitchen, you can chop the candy canes with your sturdy chef knife until they are in fine enough pieces, but be aware that whacking them with a meat tenderizer is waaaaaaaaay more fun.
Next, line a cookie sheet or three (depending on how much chocolate you are melting) with waxed paper.
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave on half power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until it is silky smooth. Add in several drops of peppermint extract and stir well to mix. Taste test – it should taste rich and pepperminty, but not overwhelmingly so. I have a photo of this part:
Pour a glob of melted dark chocolate in the middle of the wax paper and quickly spread it out over the cookie sheet. It will start to cool rapidly and become harder to spread, but don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, just mostly even in thickness. You will be adding 2 more layers of chocolate, so really just a few millimeters thick is sufficient.
I have a photo of this step, too:
Stick this pan in the freezer to harden it quickly and keep it cold.
Next, melt your milk chocolate, but do not add peppermint flavour. Working quickly so as not to melt the now-frozen dark chocolate, spread the milk chocolate over the dark chocolate in a thin layer and stick it back in the freezer.
Now it is time to melt the white chocolate. Again, we do not add peppermint flavour to this; however, we will be adding crushed candy cane bits to the top while the chocolate is still warm and soft, so you will want to have those handy as the chocolate starts to set up fairly rapidly.
Melt the white chocolate until it is smooth and spread it over the dark and milk chocolate layers. You will need to work quickly and not go too thin here as the heat from the melted white chocolate will melt the milk chocolate slightly and it will start to mix together and look muddled and murky. Once the white chocolate has been spread out, immediately sprinkle crushed candy cane bits over the top. Gently press any larger pieces into the chocolate so they do not fall out. Return the pan to the freezer until it sets up quite hard.
Take the now frozen tray out of the freezer. You have a choice here – you can calmly and rationally put the sheet of frozen chocolate on your cutting board and cut it into pieces, or you can pick up the waxed paper layer and start smashing it on the counter and hammering it with the flat side of your meat tenderizer until it shatters into random pieces. (And send bits flying across your floor. Not that I know that from personal experience. Ahem.)
And there you have it – Triple Chocolate Extra Pepperminty Peppermint Bark.
Which I do not have a photo of, except for what you saw yesterday.
I guess I’m going to have to make some more.