Peppermint Bark & Peppermint Hot Cocoa

I used to get really excited about baking for the holidays.  I would try and make 3-4 different kinds of cookies and bring them to work and give them away as gifts.  But since time is scarce these days, I’ve let go of my ambitious baking goals and this year I just made one treat.  I stumbled across a recipe for peppermint bark somewhere that looked fantastic and decided to give it a shot.

I can’t find the exact recipe that I used, but if I do, I’ll update this.  Here’s the general idea directions that you can experiment with if you’d like.

What you’ll need:

White chocolate (2 bags), dark chocolate (1 bag), candy canes, heavy cream, peppermint extract.

1. Break candy canes into small pieces (I used the bottom of a glass bottle).
2. Line a baking sheet or glass dish with foil or parchment paper (I used a 9×13 dish, but I wish I had used something larger so the layers were thinner).
3.. Melt white chocolate.
4. Spread half of the white chocolate onto the lined pan and sprinkle with some of the candy cane pieces.  Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
5. Melt dark chocolate in a pot with 6 tablespoons of heavy cream and a teaspoon of peppermint extract.
6. Spread all of the dark chocolate over the first layer and sprinkle with some candy cane pieces.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this layer took awhile to harden).
7. Remelt the remaining white chocolate and spread over the last layer.  Sprinkle more candy cane pieces on top and refrigerate again for 30-45 minutes.
8. Make sure the bark is thoroughly chilled and hardened before cutting.  The first time I tried to cut mine, the dark chocolate layer was still a little soft, so the bark started coming apart in pieces.  I threw it back in the refrigerator for awhile and the second time it cut much better.  Remove bark from pan and foil and cut into small pieces.
9. Enjoy!!  These taste best when they are fresh, so give them away/devour them immediately (don’t worry, it won’t be difficult).

I wrapped mine up in plastic bags and put them in tins with some cookies that Hideko made and gave them to my staff.  But I still had plenty left to enjoy myself 🙂

As if the bark wasn’t enough of a treat, I made myself a little peppermint hot cocoa with leftover stuff to reward myself for all my hard work.

After cutting apart all that bark, I was left with lots of chocolate and peppermint shavings and pieces on my cutting board.  I also didn’t use all the candy cane that I had crushed, so I had a stroke of genius!

I swear, this hot cocoa was so rich and creamy, it was like something from Starbucks, but even better!

I just threw some of the bark shavings into the bottom of the cup with the hot cocoa powder and added hot water.  Make sure to stir it well so the chocolate and candy pieces melt.  I rolled a marshmallow in the candy cane pieces and threw it on top!   If I hadn’t been so tired, I could have whipped up some of that leftover whipping cream too, but that would have been tooooo indulgent 😉

I know that making hot cocoa mixes is a popular gift idea around the winter time and if you pretty this up a little, it could be a great variation!

It felt good to finally do something for the holidays since I was so behind in my prep.  Since then I’ve done a few other holiday projects that I’ll try and share soon!

Any holiday baking for you?  Here’s to a delicious holiday season!!


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