This peppermint bark is layered with mint-kissed semisweet and white chocolate and crushed candy canes. It’s so festive and makes the perfect gift for someone special!
What Is Peppermint Bark?
Peppermint bark is a confection made with a base layer of dark or semisweet chocolate, a middle layer of white chocolate, and a topping of crushed peppermint candies. It has a distinctive peppermint flavor from a dash of peppermint extract, followed by the sweetness of chocolate. The crushed candy topping adds a crunchy texture and a festive appearance.
Peppermint bark was popularized as a Christmas treat by the retail company Williams-Sonoma. In 1998, the company created ‘The Original Peppermint Bark,’ which took over 20 rounds of testing for the perfect flavor and texture. Following closely behind, chocolate companies like Ghiradelli developed their own version of this beloved confection and marketed it around Christmas time.
Peppermint Bark Video
How To Make Peppermint Bark
This classic holiday treat couldn’t be easier to make. It uses only four ingredients and takes only five simple steps — plus, there’s no baking involved!
- Prepare the pan: Line a 9×13 inch sheet tray with parchment paper that overhangs on the sides.
- Make the semisweet chocolate layer: Pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate into the tray and smooth it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Place the tray in the fridge for about ten minutes, or until the chocolate partially sets.
- Add the white chocolate layer: Melt the white chocolate and stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped peppermint candies and the peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate mixture over the partially set semi-sweet chocolate.
- Top with crushed peppermints: Sprinkle the bark with the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed peppermints.
- Set and serve the bark: Allow the bark to set completely in the fridge for about an hour, then cut or break it into your desired size and shape pieces. Enjoy!
Hot tip: You’ll need 5-7 candy canes or about 40 peppermint candies for this recipe — but it doesn’t hurt to buy a few more if you’re a peppermint lover!
Choosing the Right Chocolate
Peppermint bark typically has two separate chocolate layers. Let’s look at the most common varieties of chocolate to help you pick what best suits your taste.
- Dark chocolate: Known for its bitterness and intense chocolatey flavor, dark chocolate is not for the faint of heart. Go with at least 70% cacao for the most indulgent chocolate experience.
- Semisweet chocolate: Semisweet chocolate is the most popular baking chocolate due to its balanced sweetness and versatility. It’s not quite as bitter as dark chocolate, but it’s less sweet than milk chocolate.
- White chocolate: Is white chocolate actually chocolate? It’s a controversial question, but the flavor is delicious regardless of the answer. White chocolate tastes buttery and milky with a hint of vanilla, and it’s very sweet.
Hot tip: For the highest quality flavor and texture, buy baker’s chocolate or chocolate bars. Avoid chocolate chips, since they often contain stabilizers which prevent silky-smooth melting.
Melting the Chocolate
Did you know there are a couple different ways to melt chocolate? Whether you choose the microwave or the double boiler method, make sure to finely chop the chocolate for quick melting.
- Double boiler: Fill a saucepan with two inches of water and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Place the chopped chocolate in a wide bowl (I like using a bowl from this set) and set it on top of the saucepan (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water). Stir the chocolate over the heat until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Microwave: Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 20 second increments, stirring each time until it is completely melted. Take care not to overheat the chocolate — white chocolate is especially susceptible to splitting or burning when overheated.
Tips for the Best Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark is bound to turn out delicious even if you make a mistake. Nonetheless, keep these tips in mind to make the process foolproof.
- Line the pan with overhanging parchment paper. This allows for minimized sticking and easier removal of the peppermint bark.
- Crush the peppermints with a rolling pin. Place the peppermints or candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and bang away with a rolling pin until they’re completely crushed.
- Avoid melting the white chocolate too early. White chocolate sets very quickly. Wait until the semisweet base is set before melting the white chocolate.
- Cool the white chocolate before pouring it onto the semisweet. A distinctive base is essential to the peppermint bark’s two-toned appearance. Hot white chocolate will melt the semisweet base, resulting in swirled layers.
- Customize the bark to your liking. Are you a fan of milder peppermint flavor? Omit the 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Do you want to add more toppings? Go wild with mini marshmallows, cornflakes, and/or holiday sprinkles.
Now that you’ve made the best homemade peppermint bark, it’s time to store it properly. Remember to keep the bark away from heat or direct sunlight for the freshest taste.
- Room temperature: To store for up to four days, place the pieces of peppermint bark in an airtight container and leave at room temperature in a cool and dry place.
- Refrigerator: To store for up to three weeks, keep the bark in an airtight container in the fridge.
What is peppermint bark made of?
Peppermint bark is made of two types of chocolate (semi-sweet/dark and white) and crushed peppermint candies.
Why is it called peppermint bark?
The exact origins of the name ‘peppermint bark’ are hazy, but some speculate that it was derived from the similar craggly appearance of tree bark.
Does peppermint bark go bad?
Yes, peppermint bark goes bad if it is not stored properly. To ensure safety and quality, keep the bark in the refrigerator and toss it if you notice a sour smell or off-taste.
More Christmas Sweets
- Peppermint Meringue Cookies — Swirled meringues dipped in white chocolate and crushed peppermints
- Gingerbread Cookies — This recipe yields cookies that have crisp exteriors but are still chewy inside
- Candy Cane Cookies — Red and green cookie dough twisted into a candy cane shape
- Christmas Cake Pops — Mint Oreo cake pops decorated with festive sprinkles
- Ferrero Rocher Christmas Cookies — Flaky, buttery cookies filled with chocolate hazelnut candies
- Line a 9×13 inch sheet tray with parchment paper that overhangs on the sides.
- Pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate into the pan and spread it into an even layer. Place the pan in the fridge for about ten minutes, or until the chocolate partially sets.
- Melt the white chocolate and stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped peppermint candies and the peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate mixture over the partially set semi-sweet chocolate.
- Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup crushed peppermints and allow the bark to cool completely in the fridge for about an hour, or until completely set.
- Once the chocolate is set, cut or break the peppermint bark into your desired size and shape pieces. Enjoy!