Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Chocolate Bark is very festive, easy to make and can be made with endless combinations.peppermint chocolate barkHello 2016!

I was hoping this post would make it here during the holiday season but things just got a bit crazy and I wasn’t able to write it. Anyway, I hope everyone had a great time spent with family and friends in a loving atmosphere filled with joy and laughter. How many of you make New Year resolutions? I typically don’t, so I don’t feel bad if I fail. But I saw this picture on Facebook and I thought well, maybe I should try it.7360_10153869263082650_9213329423719885542_n

Repeat it as a mantra until you believe it. On one hand it is a bit of an empty promise and hope for a better future but, on the other hand, it might motivate you to work harder and reach your dreams.

In a last minute decision, we rented a cabin by Yosemite National Park to welcome the New Year there. It is easily one of my most favorite places to visit and I have never been there during winter. It was beyond beautiful, a real winter wonderland. There was a good amount of snow, enough for kids and dogs to play and go sledding. Temperature was between 27-30 degrees, so not too cold. The waterfalls finally had water flowing down and it was truly magical.1930572_1046303218748954_8465768486164412061_n

There was an ice rink in the Curry Village right by Half Dome and on New Year’s Eve we got to skate a bit there (well, some of us did) and make s’mores by the fire. We really enjoyed our time there. So, despite never making any resolutions, I made one: more days like that, in beautiful surroundings, close to nature, and with people I enjoy being with. After we got back to our cabin I made my Baked Salmon with Fruit Salsa since the local grocery store offers a great peach/pineapple salsa. After a busy day and a tasty meal we hardly made it till midnight. But it was fun! If you ever get a chance, go visit Yosemite during winter.944874_1046310448748231_4966842173689196821_n

Today’s recipe is very easy to make and combinations are endless. Melt some good quality chocolate chunks, chips or melting wafers. Pour it onto a parchment paper covered baking pan, smooth it out and then add the second kind of melted chocolate  (if using). Make swirls (I used a chopstick) and generously sprinkle some crushed candy canes or nuts, dried fruit, pretzels or even popcorn. Let it sit for few hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

This past holiday season I made several different batches for family, friends, coworkers and teachers. I did dark chocolate with pretzels and nuts, dark chocolate with caramel popcorn, white chocolate with cranberries, pistachios and coconut flakes, and dark chocolate with crushed candy canes. I still want to make a batch with dried strawberries or raspberries. And peanut butter. And maybe caramel. Bacon bits and crushed pepper flakes. I could spend several months making only chocolate bark since really the combinations are endless.Chocolate chips and crushed candy canesIt’s really recommended to use chopped baking chocolate, melting wafers or good quality chocolate chips. Some chocolate chips have added stabilizers and they won’t melt as easily which might result in scorching. There are few ways to melt chocolate: in a double boiler, microwave or using direct heat. If using microwave melt it in 30 seconds intervals and stir the melting chocolate often as it retains its shape well. For more tips go to this post.

melted dark chocolate on a parchment paperWhen making Chocolate Peppermint bark I added 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to both kinds of chocolate chips before melting.melted white chocolate on top of dark chocolateMake swirls using a spatula or chopstick.swirls of white and dark chocolateCrush about 15 mini candy canes (more or less). My husband recommends more so every bite has some crunch and flavor. You want the pieces to be about 1/4 inch long. Try avoiding making the pieces too small. Sprinkle them evenly. Let the chocolate set for 3-4 hours or overnight. Carefully break or cut it into pieces and store in airtight container in the fridge.white and dark chocolate swirls with peppermintPrep time: 15 minutes          Ready in: 4 hrs or overnight

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz dark, good quality chocolate chips or melting wafers
  • 12 oz white, good quality chocolate chips or melting wafers
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 15 mini candy canes, crushed

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, add dark chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Microwave at 30 seconds intervals, using 50% power, stirring well each time. If it looks almost completely melted, keep stirring and it should melt without adding more heat.
  3. Pour onto prepared baking pan and smooth it out, making sure the edges aren’t too thin.
  4. Melt the white chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.
  5. Pour it on top of the dark chocolate rather evenly and make the swirls. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes generously and evenly.
  6. Let it set for 3-4 hours or overnight before serving.

Enjoy!

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