Monday, December 04, 2006

Dark Peppermint Bark

Last Thanksgiving I was in Chicago when some family friends gifted us a tin of Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark. It was so frighteningly addictive that I was eating sheets of it a day. My mother forced me to take it home to New York City and it was gone in a matter of days.

Little did I know that this might just be the easiest dessert to put together. I'll be making it again in white chocolate/ dark chocolate layers (a la Williams Sonoma for a fraction of the cost) for my ceramic studio's holiday sale, but just had to get this out to you now to create and be swayed by paying $25 for a box at the store! If you have some chocolate lying around and some peppermints piled up nabbed from restaurants, this is perfect use for them.

It is one of those recipes people will think you bought or spent all day laboring over and you will tell them you did and laugh to yourself. It would make a perfect holiday gift for friends—just buy a nice tin at the dollar store!

I will not even put quantities down because however much chocolate you have can be used and the peppermint quantity will depend on how strong you want the final product.

Qty Depends on amount of chocolate used. Active time= 10 minutes. Inactive time= 6 hours-overnight.
* 1 bar dark chocolate
* peppermint canes or candy, crushed
* 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

1) Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
2) Put peppermint in a paper bag and wrap with a clean dish towel. Use a hammer to crush the peppermint into pieces from dust to chunks.
3) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler*, add the peppermint extract and mix as it melts.
4) Once melted, pour onto parchment paper and use a spatula to spread chocolate about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle with peppermint and allow to dry 6 hours to overnight.
5) Once dry, break chocolate apart into uneven chunks, store covered.
* If a double boiler is not available use two non-stick sauté pans. One should be larger and filled half way with water, brought to a boil. Place the smaller pan on top of the water, without it touching the other pan and melt chocolate in the smaller pan.

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