Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Not-Quite-Perfect Peppermint Bark

For a few years now, I've been working on perfecting my peppermint bark recipe, with the twinned goals of deliciousness and minimal labor. I thought I had the formula just right this time:

  • 2 bars Green & Black's white chocolate
  • 2 bars Green & Black's mint chocolate 
  • small package Annie's chocolate bunny grahams
  • a couple of scoops of tiny peppermint candies from the candy store
Unfortunately, I ran into a couple of problems when assembling my ingredients:

  • The grocery store did not have G&B's white chocolate, so I had to buy the much more expensive bars at the health food store.
  • I accidentally bought dark chocolate rather than mint chocolate
  • I couldn't find chocolate bunny grahams anywhere and had to settle for Newman's Own chocolate alphabet cookies, which contain palm oil and left me feeling guilty about the rain forests
  • the peppermint candies from the candy store were not as tiny as I had remembered

Undeterred by these setbacks, I forged ahead. My first time-saving plan was to break up the first bar of white chocolate and melt it on the pan in the oven. I pictured the pieces getting all soft and gooey, and easily spread with a spatula. Unfortunately, they turned brown and crunchy and not at all melty.

Not willing to waste that pricey bar of white chocolate,  I transferred the brown chunks to a hot water bath and added a couple scoops of coconut oil to help smooth out the mixture as it melted.

I then smashed up a couple tablespoons of the not-quite-small-enough-to-use-whole peppermint candies and added them to the white chocolate to help disguise the brown color, and spread it all on a sheet of parchment and placed the pan outside in the cold to firm up.

I then placed both chocolate bars in a hot water bath and Z helped me bash up the cookies, right in the bag (with a small hole to let out air) with a hammer. I added several drops of mint flavor to the melted chocolate (a step I could have skipped had I bought the mint bars) as well as the cookie crumbs, spread the whole mixture over the first layer of light brown white chocolate, and placed the tray back outside.

Then I melted the last bar of white chocolate (in a hot water bath, having learned my lesson), added a few more spoonfuls of crushed peppermints, and spread it over the hardened chocolate layer. Over the top, I sprinkled more mint candies, not bothering to smash those up, which I think might have been a mistake, because the final result is a lot for the teeth to handle.

I placed the tray outside one last time for a few minutes and then transferred it to the refrigerator while we all went to go see Fantastic Beasts. When we got home, I broke the bark into hunks and squirreled it away for holiday season munching.

And the best part about the bark being not-quite-perfect? We'll have to eat it all ourselves, in the privacy of our home, where no one else can see the brown layer, or break a tooth on the over-large peppermint bits, or notice how the chocolate cookies end up a little more soggy and less crunchy than the bunny grahams would have.

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