This year, I am a TOTAL slacker. We just had a baby and moved into a new house and the most I can muster is to try to remember to move the elf every night (a task to which I have failed a few times this year). We did get a tree and it has lights, but all of our ornaments remain in storage. The one tradition we did manage to pull off this year is our annual making of peppermint bark. I kid you not, this is the absolute best peppermint bark you will ever put in your mouth. It makes great presents for neighbors and friends and it is so easy. Unfortunately, I can’t say the recipe is my own. It is actually from the 1998 December issue of Bon Appetite and given to me by dear friend Emily. Thank God she did, because it is seriously one of the things I have come to look forward to most during the Holidays!
What are some of your favorite Holiday treats?
Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into three sections and each section diagonally into two triangles. (Can be made two weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.