Beyond Christmas trees and lights, what screams Christmas more than candy canes? They’re a seasonal treat that traditionally are very festive in their colors and flavor. Ah, peppermint … delicious! I won’t get into all of the new candy cane varieties out there. None top the traditional red and white peppermint variety – none!
So what’s better than candy canes? Desserts that call for crushed candy canes or splashes of peppermint flavoring. Oh my. There are so many possibilities; cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, fudge and drinks. I’ve even seen breakfast items like pancakes and waffles.
In my search for new holiday items to try and share, I came across peppermint bark. It’s definitely festive so I asked the Mr if he has had it and liked it – the answer was YES! So I added it to my to do list for the season. The recipes I came across were a mix of just white chocolate or layered, meaning a split of a brown (dark, milk, semi sweet etc) chocolate and white chocolate. Some called for added peppermint flavor and others not. The one thing that was the same throughout was sprinklings of crushed candy canes or peppermint candies.
Beyond the flavor and layers I was wondering just how people were getting such clean lines for their bark. Typically bark is made in a large sheet pan and then broken once hardened. While I was on Wilton’s site one night I came across a neat little package that included everything to make peppermint bark. But their twist is to make it within cookie cutters, specifically snowflake cutters. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $10 on the package plus shipping, especially when I already had chocolate at home. I only had a few snowflake cutters and went on a search for more. My luck, I didn’t find what I wanted but what I did find turned out better. I found a multi snowflake silicone mold. It’s really meant for cupcakes, bread, muffins… that kind of stuff but I figured it was worth a shot. For those in the select few states that have a Christmas Tree Shop, that’s were I found my silicone mold… in case you’re wanting to recreate this design. Each cavity has the same pretty snowflake shape and a neat little pattern on the bottom that leaves an impression in your chocolate (or any other item you would bake or make with this).
It’s not the typical way to make bark but I think it’s so pretty and even more festive. I love snowflakes… that is of course until we have 3 or 4 feet of snow outside but that’s a complaint for another day, hopefully much much later this season. So when it comes to bark, you can go the traditional pan route or you can use cookie cutters or silicone molds. Obviously individual pieces will take slightly more time than a full sheet, but isn’t the end design worth it?
*Recipe note: I halved this recipe to make 6 small snowflakes. Following the full recipe for 1 full sheet of bark or 12 regular sized shapes.
8oz brown chocolate (your favorite)
8oz white chocolate
2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 tsp peppermint extract, divided
candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed
If making one sheet of bark, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Smooth out any wrinkles. Prepare candy canes by unwrapping and tossing in a plastic bag. Smash with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin or other heavy object. Don’t pulverize the candies but do make sure any huge chunks are broken down. Over a bowl, transfer contents of plastic bag to a mesh strainer. Gently tape and shake the strainer. The purpose of this is to remove any candy cane dust, only leaving the chunks to be used for the bark.
In a heat safe bowl, add brown chocolate and half of the vegetable oil. I used candy melts because it’s what I had on hand. Melt chocolate at 50% power in 30 second intervals. Stir well after each heating. When fully melted, stir in half of the peppermint extract. Pour milk chocolate (or whichever variety you’ve chosen) onto prepared pan and spread out evenly. Alternately, divide equally among molds or cookie cutters. I used a small cookie scoop to divide among my snowflake cavities. Sprinkle with a small amount of candy cane pieces, preferably some of the smaller pieces. Transfer to the fridge for 30-60 minutes or until fully set and hardened.
Repeat melting process with white chocolate: white chocolate plus 1 tsp vegetable oil in a heat safe bowl. Heat at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stiring well each time. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp peppermint extract, stir well. Pour over brown chocolate, or divide equally among molds or shapes. Tap tray or mold to spread chocolate out. Sprinkle with remaining candy cane pieces. Transfer to the fridge for an additional 30-60 minutes or until fully hardened.
Break sheet bark with a heavy object or carefully remove chocolate from molds. If using silicone molds, they should easily pop out or peel away. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
These are perfect for packaging up and gifting during the holidays