We made it to Louisiana yesterday to celebrate the holidays with my family. This morning, I gave one of my goddaughters her apron, so she could wear it for our annual marathon Christmas cookie-baking session, and she loved it! As children, my siblings and cousins and I would decorate Christmas cookies to leave for Santa every year. Now, we bake cookies with our cousins’ children, who love to load their cookies up with so many M&Ms, chocolate chips, and sprinkles as to render them completely inedible, much as we used to do when we were little (and some of us still do…not me, of course!). The cookies usually come out of the oven looking like colorful blobs, completely unrecognizable as the gingerbread men, Christmas trees, and angels they were meant to be. I’m sure half of our cookies quietly made their ways into the trash within a few days because Santa couldn’t possibly stomach them, and we didn’t have any business consuming that much sugar.
This peppermint bark, on the other hand, is a treat sure to please Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his elves. It’s fun to make, and simple to throw together. I struggled with the white chocolate and ended up just using white bark (don’t knock it…I promise you can’t tell the difference when mixed with delicious semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled with candy canes). Inspired by the pretty peppermint bark you see in stores like Williams-Sonoma, I swirled the chocolates together. The first batch I made this year (and I’ve made many!) was, though still tasty, a minor disaster. I poured the semi-sweet chocolate into the pan first, then added a layer of white chocolate, and finally sprinkled the broken candy canes on top. When the bark cooled, and I tried to break it apart, the layers sadly separated. Unsure of what caused this issue and unwilling to experiment and figure it out, I swirled the chocolates to create a much prettier effect certain not to separate.
I’m off to make my last batch of peppermint bark now. I hope all of you enjoy the holidays and lots of delicious goodies, no matter where you are!
makes two cookie sheets of bark
1 package (10-12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or solid chocolate, chopped)
1 package (10-12 oz) white chocolate chips or white bark (or solid chocolate, chopped)
1 package candy canes (6 oz)
1. Line two jelly roll pans (cookie sheets with lips all the way around) with waxed paper or parchment paper. Unwrap candy canes and break into pieces. I placed candy canes in a ziplock bag and crushed them with a meat mallet.
2. Fill bottoms of two double boilers, or two pots with heat-proof bowls on top, with water. Bring water to a simmer. Melt white chocolate in one boiler and semi-sweet in the other. Stir until smooth.
3. Spoon dollops of the two chocolates into each pan, then use a fork to swirl them together until the chocolate is evenly distributed and the desired pattern is achieved. Sprinkle tops with broken candy cane.
4. Let bark cool, then break into pieces.