Friday, December 18, 2015

Recipe: Peppermint White Chocolate Bark with Crushed Candy Cane

Nothing says Christmas like candy canes and sweet chocolate treats.  And although chocolate candy cane bark seems to available everywhere during the holiday, the price on it can seem insanely high. Especially when you find out just how easy it is to make.
It is also easy to make chocolate bark look extra pretty, making it great for homemade gifts or holiday parties. You can make your chocolate bark more 'gourmet' by using a few simple and inexpensive tools, like the plastic fondant imprint mat sets that Cake Boss started selling last year. These sheets are inexpensive, and not only help you jazz up your chocolate creations, but they also are handy when you need to decorate a cake.

For the last month, I have been perfecting my recipe for Peppermint White Chocolate Bark and spreading it out on various imprint sheets, so I have one side that looks beautiful, with lovely patterns on it from the imprint sheets, and the other side sprinkled in festive-coloured candy cane pieces.  No matter how you package or display it, you can't go wrong.

This recipe has only three ingredients, and takes no time at all. So let's get to it...

Peppermint White  Chocolate Bark:

You need:
  • 1/16 tsp of peppermint oil (make sure you get the oil, and NOT extract! liquid will ruin the chocolate, but oil is fine - see below for recommendation)*
  • 16 ounces white chocolate (see suggestions below for what chocolate to use)+
  • 6 candy canes, crushed (lightly whirl in the blender or single blade coffee grinder - careful not to turn it into fine powder, you still want some chunks of candy cane for colour, texture and taste. Or, if you don't have a device from crushing them, simply place them in two plastic bags and pound with a rolling pin).

  1. Prepare your imprint sheets (if no imprint sheets, just lay out waxed paper on the counter and spread bark on that or in snowflake or other festive moulds as mentioned above)
  2. Ensure your candy canes are ready and in a dish by your side for sprinkling.
  3. Melt and temper your white chocolate. Check it to be sure it is in temper. For tempering instructions, click here.
  4. Once tempered, add the oil and stir quickly. Pour quickly on waxed paper, on imprint sheets or into molds. Immediately sprinkle candy cane pieces on top over your entire batch of bark.
  5. Let set for 5 to 10 minutes on counter, and then before it is hard, make slice marks with a flat-edged knife in portioned or bite-sized pieces (see photo on right).
  6. Place in the fridge for exactly 20 minutes (set the timer! Too long in the fridge can mean humidity problems and sticky chocolate!).
  7. Remove and break up the bark into pieces.  Package however you like and seal in plastic containers or bags until ready to serve!  No need to freeze, as this chocolate will last you six months, if well sealed.

*Peppermint Oil: You can buy peppermint oil from specialty ingredient companies, such as Vanilla Food Company.  Find it online here. If you can't get some in time, simply go without, your candy cane is likely minty enough.

+Chocolate Recommendations: I used Camino brand of white chocolate couverture, but Bulk Barn sells nice white chocolate discs (please do not use 'candy melts' which are filled with hydrogenated oils and no cocoa actual cocoa butter - check the label on the bins) or Joe's brand at Walmart is nice too. Green and Blacks is always good, but in this case you might not want the vanilla bean mixed in with your peppermint. And you can order from websites like Vanilla Food Company  - a large bag of Cacao Barry or Callebaut will go a long way!

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