Many years ago, my Aunt gifted me a jar of peppermint hot chocolate. That holiday season I drank several steaming mugs of hot cocoa, and a new passion for this refreshing, peppermint-and-chocolate combo was born. While delectable hot chocolate may be a “necessity” in any cold (or cool…) climate, in warmer climates, I find it difficult to consume hot beverages to my heart’s content. The only solution was to eat it instead in the form of Peppermint Bark! This homemade peppermint bark recipe is a wallet-friendly way to satisfy your holiday cravings, or you can package it to gift to friends, family, coworkers and your secret santa this holiday season.
Since my Aunt’s initial gift of that first tin of peppermint hot chocolate, I have invested in a hot chocolate pot and glass mugs, candy cane stir spoons, fresh cocoa bricks from around the world, and varieties of cocoa mixes. My favorite flavor is still the peppermint chocolate though, and I am always looking for new ways to satisfy this craving.
Now you can buy prepared peppermint bark from a variety of producers in many packaging styles from the attractive tins at Williams-Sonoma to the Christmas-cottage-shaped paper boxes by Ghirardelli. It comes in bars, bricks, and nuggets. Oh the options! You may be content with spending that kind of money on yourself for a treat, but peppermint bark also makes an excellent holiday gift. But buying that much mass-produced candy can really put a dint in your holiday shopping budget. And, as long as you have a full-proof recipe and a basic skill in the kitchen, homemade peppermint bark not only saves you money, but also satisfies your friends’ taste buds and adds a personal touch to the gift-exchange tradition.
The following homemade peppermint bark recipe is so simple to make and the flavor is spot-on; not too pepperminty and not too plain chocolate. It is also simple enough for childrens’ helping hands to participate in the holiday-gifting experience.
A few tips for following this recipe:
- Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a plastic freezer bag and freeze them for about 30 minutes; this should reduce some of the stickiness. Crush the canes while in the baggy.
- The recipe claims the bark will be hard and ready after about an hour; if you intend to let it set at room temperature, plan on waiting about 3 hours.
- Be careful if you try to set the bark by putting it in the fridge. Unless you know how to temper chocolate, the fridge can make “spots” appear on the chocolate surface. You may be able to get away with refrigerating the chocolate at the start, just until it is set and firm, but do not refrigerate it after that.
- Store in an air-tight container and it should be good for two weeks.