Have you ever taken a vacation in early December? It’s a great time to travel, because its after the Thanksgiving rush. There are lots of good deals on hotels and flights. But there is one major downside – it puts you way behind on the holidays.
I recently took a nearly 2 week vacation with my husband, which was very fun. But returning home well into December had us both in a bit of a panic. There was a tree to find and decorate, presents to buy and wrap, and holiday cards to send, on top of all the normal stress of returning home after a long vacation. It was worth it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again.
One of the biggest things to suffer due to my vacation was my holiday baking schedule. I normally spend much of December experimenting with different new holiday recipes, but this year there has not been enough time. I’ve mainly had to fall back on making tried and true recipes for gifts and parties.
This Chocolate Peppermint Bark is one of those classic recipes. A layer of semisweet chocolate and a layer of white chocolate are infused with peppermint extract, and then topped with crushed candy canes. But because I can’t leave well enough alone, I also added some sparkling sanding sugar to the bark. I think we can all use a little more sparkle at this time of year!
This is a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, so its key to use the best quality you can get. For white chocolate, I prefer the taste of Guittard or Callebaut; for semisweet chocolate, Callebaut or Ghirardelli are both good.
Sparkling Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- 12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 lb white chocolate, chopped
- 8-10 candy canes
- Red and green sparking sanding sugar
Line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat (such as Silpat), or a piece of greased parchment paper. Crush the candy canes in a freezer bag with a rolling pin, or in a food processor. Place in bowl and set aside.
Place all but 1 cup of the chopped semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds, then remove the bowl and stir with a clean spatula. Repeat 2-3 more times until chocolate is melted (chocolate should be around 100 degrees F). Add the remaining chocolate and stir. Microwave in 15 second intervals, followed by stirring, until melted (chocolate should be 88-90 degrees F). Stir 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate.
Spread melted chocolate on prepared sheet pan in an even layer (an offset spatula is good for this). Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator to set for 15-20 minutes.
Melt the white chocolate. You can use the microwave method above, or put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until chocolate is melted. Add the remaining white chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to the white chocolate and stir. Let it cool for a few minutes (or it will start to melt the chocolate layer beneath it when you add it).
Pour the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes and sanding sugar, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Put the baking sheet back in the refrigerator to chill for another 20 minutes. Break the candy apart into pieces with clean hands.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.