Hello new readers!
Thanks for stopping by! We promise you won’t regret this, do you know why? We do: peppermint bark!! This bark was suggested and we were absolutely thrilled at the idea of trying to improve our photographing skills (iPhone 4…we’re missing a fancy camera :(…). What better subject than this bark!?
You know why else this bark was the best idea ever? It’s a great opportunity to talk about a disliked subject: tempering. Tempering is what you have to do to make your melted chocolate harden up again. Ever try to dip anything in melted chocolate chips and realize the only way you could get that chocolate shell was to stick it in the fridge but if you wanted to eat it at room temperature…forget it!!
Did it ever drive anyone else crazy that none of the recipes ever specified how to get the chocolate to harden? Did they just assume we all knew to how to temper? Well – we personally were infuriated and frustrated by it. What is that missing step? Tempering!
We forewarn you – you can get around this quite easily by buying candy coats at your local craft store – those melt and reharden like a charm but they do have a bad side: heart attacks. Did you hear us? H.e.a.r.t. A.t.t.a.c.k.s. They’re made with heart stopping palm oil so if you love your friends and family – it’s worth it to temper. Just read the notes in the recipe below and you’ll never have to wonder again how the chefs on tv magically got their chocolate to solidify at room temperature.
But seriously – back to more important things – like this bark. Black under white under RED AND WHITE!? Creamy and crunchy at the same time? Textures and colors!? Ahhhhhhhhh! It’s too much! No, it’s not – it’s beautiful, not to mention delicious.
1 lb dark/semi/milk chocolate
1 lb white chocolate
smashed up candy canes
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1 candy thermometer (with measurements around the 80-100F marks) **must have**
1 rubber (not wood) spatula
Before we start – make sure your chocolate is in bar form not the chips that you get in bags (very important).
First: Temper the semisweet/dark chocolate. Reserve 1/3 of your chocolate for seeding (don’t melt it). Melt the rest of your chocolate to 115F over a double boiler. If you don’t have one – ghetto it up as described in my previous entry. Use that thermometer! Do NOT bring it up over 115 and keep stirring with your rubber spatula. Once you’re at 115, quickly remove from heat and add in 1/2 tsp of your extract (at this point, feel free to get lost in the blissful smell that is chocolate and peppermint) Transfer to a heat proof surface and keep stirring adding in that last 1/3 un-melted chocolate. Stir, stir, stir until the temperature has dropped to 80F. Use that thermometer! Then the most important part! Return the chocolate to heat for a few seconds until it’s back up to 88-90F. Do NOT go above 90F.
Now your chocolate is tempered! You can use this now for dipping anything and it will get that beautiful hardened shell!! Secret revealed! For this bark, spread it out evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer for 5 mins.
Second: Temper your white chocolate. Do the same thing as for the semisweet but bring it up to 110F, lower down to 80, and only back up to 87F. Use the remaining 1/2 tsp extract and layer it on top of the semi-sweet sheet.
Finally: sprinkle that crushed peppermint on it, cool to harden, and break into bark
Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!!!
***you can make these bars like we did with two chocolates, or you can do it with just one! Just adjust the extract accordingly **