I’ve had Peppermint Bark on our advent calendar every year, and it’s always a HUGE hit, the kids look forward to making it AND eating it. I have a complicated, fancy recipe on this blog (here, way down at the end of the post), suitable for making gift-type boxes for teachers and whatnot, but last year I said screw pretty, let’s do easy instead! And it was great – this is my quick and dirty way of making peppermint bark and I don’t think we are ever going back.
Quick and Easy Peppermint Bark, suitable for all ages
For EACH kid, you will need:
one 8×8 square cake pan, or a 9 inch round cake pan
1 cup white chocolate chips (see note below)
1 Tablespoon canola oil
12 to 15 miniature candy canes
some parchment paper or wax paper
* About the chips: peppermint bark is traditionally made with white chocolate, and you will get the best results that way. But the Captain can’t have white chocolate due to allergies, so he makes his batch with Enjoy Life brand dark chocolate chips. It’s not as pretty, but just as delicious, and since each kid is making their own pan here, we can mix it up easily (the girls use white).
Step 1 – Hand your kids their set of candy canes and have them unwrap them. This may take a while – grab yourself a cup of tea and a magazine. If you have very young kids who cannot unwrap the canes themselves, then do this step ahead of time, otherwise your wee ones will get extremely bored watching you pick wrapping off for 20 minutes.
Step 2 – Line each kid’s cake pan with parchment paper. Bring it right up the sides; don’t worry if it’s popping up and shifting all over the place.
Step 3 – Put the unwrapped candy canes in a large freezer bag (you may want to double bag if you have enthusiastic hammerers). Put the bags on the kitchen counter and let the kids hammer away at them. You’re looking for chunks, maybe about 1 cm in length at the most, but not powder (some dust is okay).
Step 4 – Put each kid’s chocolate chips in their own microwave safe bowl. Put one bowl at a time in the microwave. Microwave the chips for 1 minute at 50%. Remove, stir (probably won’t see much results yet), and drizzle the 1 Tbsp oil on top. Return to microwave and nuke for another minute at 60%. Give it a good stir – this should be enough to melt the chips completely, but if you still have chunks you can put it back in for 30 second intervals at 50% (for some reason the Enjoy Life chips do take this extra amount of time).
Step 5 – Pour each kid’s candy cane bag into their bowl of melted chocolate and have them stir it up.
Step 6 – Dump the contents of each kid’s bowl into their cake pan (get the kid to hold the parchment paper in place).
Step 7 – Spread the mixture to the far corners of the cake pan using a spatula; try to get it as even and flat as possible.
Step 8 – Put each pan in the freezer for around an hour.
Step 9 – Remove the bark from the freezer, peel it off the parchment paper. Use your hands to break it into chunks of random sizes. Put the chunks into a tupperware container.
You can keep this at room temperature and it will be fine but I like to keep ours in the freezer for lasting freshness (and to stop me from eating it all while the kids are sleeping). Remove a piece and give it five minutes or so to warm up before eating. You can double this recipe for a 9×13 pan.