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Swirled Peppermint Bark

Tips: This is pretty and festive-looking, and, depending upon how you make it, can be a good project for little kitchen elves at holiday time. There are two ways to go here: you can use supermarket chocolate and candy canes, or, for a more adult or sophisticated crowd, use best-quality chocolate and better candy canes. Where to find the latter? I order my candy canes from Hammond’s in Colorado (www.hammondscandies.com); they’re large, beautiful, and quite pepperminty. Conveniently, however, each Hammond’s candy cane weighs in at 2 ounces, so you needn’t weigh or measure them; just use two for each batch of this. To crush candy canes, I break them up while they’re still in their wrappers by whacking them on a table several times. Afterwards, unwrap them, and place the pieces in a resealable one-gallon plastic bag. Close the bag, forcing out any air. Enclose this bag in another gallon bag and seal the second bag, pressing out any air. Place bags on a table or flat work surface. Whack the candy cane chunks with a rolling pin or cooking pot until most pieces are no larger than pea-sized (you’ll have a few larger pieces and many smaller; you’ll also have some pink dust, all of which are OK).

The bark should be stored airtight in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature just before serving; it also freezes nicely on a short-term basis (thaw and store in the fridge). If it is not stored airtight, the crushed candy canes may pick up moisture from the refrigerator and become soggy. This would be a nice gift, and I’m sure you can substitute milk chocolate for the dark chocolate if you wish. Incidentally, I can make a batch of this in less time than I can explain how to do it.

Yield: 1-1/2 pounds

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or as chips
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped or as chips
  • 4 ounces candy canes, crushed

Method:

Line a 15 by 10 by 1 inch pan with two lengths of aluminum foil; there should be enough foil so that the entire inside of the pan is lined. Fold any overhanging foil back against the outside of the pan. Place the semisweet chocolate in one medium microwaveable bowl and the white chocolate in another.

Heat the semisweet chocolate in the microwave at medium (50%) power for one minute. Remove from microwave; stir thoroughly (about one minute). Microwave at 50% (medium) power for additional shorter intervals, stirring thoroughly after each, just until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside at room temperature. Repeat melting instructions with white chocolate.

Pour the melted semisweet chocolate in a thin stream onto the bottom of the lined pan, moving the bowl around as you do so. Try to keep the chocolate about one-half inch away from all of the edges (if you can’t, it’s no big deal; doing so just makes handling the finished product a little bit easier). The melted semisweet chocolate won’t cover the entire bottom of the pan, but that’s OK; just get as large an area covered as you reasonably can. Repeat the pouring with the melted white chocolate, again covering as large an area as possible and trying to stay about a half-inch away from all edges.

Using a toothpick or flat knife, marble the chocolates together, trying to fill in any gaps so that you have one layer of two types of chocolate that covers the bottom of the lined pan (except for that half-inch on all the edges). Don’t marble so much that the two chocolates become blended together, and don’t dig into the foil lining the pan! Sprinkle the crushed candy canes all over the layer of melted chocolate, as evenly as possible.

Tear off a single sheet of foil about the length of the 15 by 10 pan. Place it directly on top of the candy canes you’ve sprinkled on the chocolate. Gently press down on the foil sheet to firmly embed the crushed candy canes in the chocolate layer. Leave the foil sheet on top of the bark, and refrigerate the whole thing for about 30 minutes. At the end of that time, the top sheet of foil should easily peel off the bark. If it doesn’t, refrigerate the bark about 10 minutes longer, then try again.

Once the top sheet of foil is peeled off, quickly break the bark into small pieces (I wear plastic gloves to do this, as the heat of your hands can melt the candy if you don’t work quickly enough). Place the bark pieces in an airtight storage container, and refrigerate until about 10 to 15 minutes before serving (you can also serve the bark cold from the fridge).

 

Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you MAY not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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