PONYT'UDE Gets Cooking: How To Convince Your Friends & Relatives That You're Basically Martha Stewart
|That's a big 'ol bucket of YUM.|
And as busy and crazy as this time of year can get, I love it! I love to cook, bake, and create in the kitchen, and am always game to bring an elaborate dish to a Christmas party or create an impressive-looking dessert for a get-together, but do you know what kinds of recipes are my favorite?
The kind that look SO FANCY and complicated but are, in reality, so simple a toddler could make them. If you're scrambling for that last-minute hostess gift or something to bring to a holiday party, this Peppermint Bark recipe is the recipe for you!
We've all seen the (exorbitantly priced) fancy tins of Peppermint Bark in gourmet shops at Christmastime. That stuff is DELICIOUS, but who wants to pay $30 a tin when you can make it yourself for a fraction of the cost and impress everyone you know!?
No one, that's who.
Surprise your loved ones with boxes of bark this year, and you'll have a loyal following of hangers-on who will gape slack-jawed in amazement at your candy-creating prowess.
Let's get started!
- 1 bag of dark chocolate chips. My personal preference is Hersey's Special Dark, but something like a Ghirardelli would be great, too.
- 1 bag of white chocolate chips. Again, go a little higher quality here if you can.
- Approximately 6 peppermint candy canes. None of this rainbow-fruity-nonsense! CLASSIC. PEPPERMINT.
- Peppermint Extract
Start by pre-heating your oven to 250 and lining a small sheet pan with aluminum foil. Dump the entire bag of dark chocolate chips onto the lined pan and spread them into a single layer with the chips all touching each other. Don't spread them all the way to the edges, otherwise your bottom layer will be too thin. Once your oven is heated up, pop the pan in there for a few minutes until the chocolate turns glossy and shiny. Use an offset spatula to spread and smooth the chocolate into one cohesive layer, and pop the pan in the fridge for 30 min - 1 hr to harden.
*Bonus Tip - If you don't have access to an oven, you can also melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave and then pour onto the foil-lined pan, but I like the way dumping & melting the chips flat in the oven gives you a nice shape to work from. But do what you gotta do.
While you're waiting for the bottom layer to set up, unwrap your candy canes and place them in a ziplock bag. Grab a heavy wooden spoon/hammer/meat mallet and go to town smashulating those things into tiny pieces. Set aside for now!
|It's fun to hit things.|
Once your dark chocolate layer is hardened, dump the entire bag of white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl, and add approximately 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. WARNING: peppermint extract is stiff stuff, so go easy! You don't want your candy to taste like toothpaste. That would be terrible. Use closer to 1/4 tsp if you want a more subtle mint flavor.
Microwave the white chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between zaps until everything is melted and smooth. It usually only takes 2 30-second trips for mine to melt.
Once you have your white chocolate layer all spread out, sprinkle generously with the candy cane bits and then gently press them into the soft white chocolate. Your hands will get sticky. Just lick them off. It's fine. Put the whole sheet back in the fridge for several hours to set. Overnight is better if you can wait! Your layers need time to meld together, and may split if you aren't patient enough.
|How festive is that!?|
After the bark has hardened, peel it off the foil and use your hands to break it into big, irregular pieces. Put in baggies or boxes for gifting, set it out on your dessert table, or, you know, just eat the entire batch yourself.
PONY'TUDE is not responsible for any marriage proposals, fan clubs, or long-lost relatives coming out of the woodwork that may arise as a result of making and giving this Peppermint Bark. You're about to become very, very popular.
Merry Christmas and Happy Candy-Making!