Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Bark--And the "Good Cookie" Giveaway Continues!

The Setting: A chilly apartment with a stack of dirty dishes as big as the kitchen--I'm getting to it. And be it known that Hoosband has promised me a bottle of Billecart-Salmon rose if we ever actually finish unpacking from our move, so it's on. Operation organization will be in full force...after the holidays.

The Soundtrack: The furious frenzy of graphite on college rule and the flipping and stacking of papers as Hoosband studies for finals.

Steaming up the oven: Toast. We bought two loaves of home-ground whole-wheat bread at the bake sale yesterday, and they are delicious!

The Scenario: Wrapping up after the bake sale.

It may not have been the sale of the century, but I'd say the Village put on a good sale.

By the time we folded up the card table last night, we'd made $53.50 and sold 3 loaves of bread and 34 bags of cookies or muffins. Not bad, considering we're all a bunch of poor graduate students and spouses!

We still had a bunch of tasty treats leftover, so we set up shop again this morning to catch the post-Mass crowd, bringing the total to...drum roll please...$72.50!

My favorite treat from the sale was a sweet and spicy gingersnap with lemon icing, but the first to sell out was the peppermint bark.

Peppermint Bark
"Real" white chocolate contains cocoa butter but no cocoa solids, the parts that become cocoa powder or blend with cocoa butter to form dark or milk chocolate. Similar products containing no cocoa butter may be sold as white or vanilla "candy coating." The better the dark chocolate you use, the better the bark will be, but it's pretty darn good with just the cheap stuff!

16 oz semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped bulk semisweet, bittersweet, or any dark chocolate

2 cups hard candy peppermints, unwrapped

16 oz white chocolate chips or finely chopped bulk white chocolate

Line a baking sheet, jellyroll pan, or your kitchen counter with parchment paper.

Place dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or a large Pyrex measuring cup, and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval until chocolate is melted. Do not heat more than necessary. Alternatively, melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Pour chocolate onto the parchment paper, using a spoon or offset spatula to smooth out into large, even rectangle. 

Allow to harden slightly. For a quicker hardening, place in fridge or freezer, or place over a tray of ice.

Meanwhile, place unwrapped peppermints in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, making sure to eliminate any excess air from the bag before zipping it closed.

Using a rolling pin, a cast-iron skillet, or wooden mallet, whack the peppermints until they are all crushed. If desired, strain out the smaller pieces halfway through, and continue with the larger pieces that remain.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate evenly over the dark chocolate, and use a spoon or offset spatula to smooth out. Don't agitate too much, or the dark chocolate will melt and blend with the white. Immediately sprinkle the crushed peppermints, including all the powdery bits, evenly over the top of the white chocolate.


Once the chocolate is thoroughly coated, lightly press on the peppermints with your hands to help them adhere. Allow to harden completely.

Once hard, break into pieces with your hands, or cover with a sheet of parchment paper and whack all over with a wooden mallet. Voila, peppermint bark!

Don't forget to enter the OXO "Good Cookie" Spatula Giveaway!

This spatula rules, and it will be given away FREE to one of my lucky readers! OXO is even paying for the shipping!

To enter the giveaway, simply...

1. Become a follower of Being the Secret Ingredient either on the blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

2. Then tell Being the Secret Ingredient your all-time favorite cookie either by Tweeting @BeingTSI, commenting on the blog, or leaving a wall post on our Facebook page. Increase your chances by doing all three!

Must enter by January 15, 2012. Winner will be selected by a drawing and announced January 16. Winner must be a resident of the 48 contiguous United States.

For more information on the OXO "Good Cookie" Spatula, see this post: Cookies for Kids' Cancer--And a Giveaway!

For more info on Cookies for Kids' Cancer, visit www.cookiesforkidscancer.org.

2 comments:

fraziertoo said...

So... I tried making this today, and somehow, my white chocolate didn't stick to the semisweet chocolate. That's talent, I know. :-) I had issues with melting the white chocolate and ended up having to add a little shortening to help things along... do you think that was the problem?

Morgan Crumm said...

Oh no! In my last batch I had a similar issue with the white chocolate not sticking to the semisweet, which has never been a problem for me before. The issues might be with using different types or brands of chocolate, or it may be related to the temperature, humidity, etc. as the chocolate is setting up.

The white chocolate can be added before the dark chocolate sets, which adheres the two better, but you have to either use about 20% more white chocolate and drizzle it so that it covers the dark as much as possible before trying to smooth it (so that you're not dragging the dark chocolate up into the white as you spread it), or just plan to have marbled instead of layered chocolates--but that could be pretty cool!

As far as melting the white chocolate, I never add shortening for things like bark, mostly because I never have it on hand.

However, it can definitely be helpful, especially to get melted chocolate thin enough for coating or dipping, i.e. chocolate-covered strawberries.

I would also add, for anyone wondering if butter would be a good substitute for shortening, that in this case shortening is better because sometimes the water content in butter can cause the chocolate to seize up.

The chocolates can also seize up if they are overheated in the melting process. To avoid this, make sure you stir the chocolate every 30 seconds, even after the first 30 when it seems like the chips aren't melting yet.

I hope this helps!!