Ours is a chocolate mint family. I ate a vast quantity of mint chip ice cream when Sarah was in utero, and it is hard to imagine a combination those flavors that I would find unappetizing.
And so last year around this time, when I came across a recipe for peppermint bark, I had to try it, and it was unsurprised to love it. Although I am Jewish, I am not immune to the Pavlovian Christmas baking reflex, and Sarah has earned a reputation as the Jew Who Loves Christmas, and so last weekend, on a snowy Saturday, we broke out the double boiler.
Peppermint bark is essentially a sandwich of white chocolate with a chocolate ganache filling. It contains two things I'm not crazy about on their own — white chocolate and peppermint candies — but it all comes together nicely. Making it isn't hard, but it does require an hour or so of patience, as you spread melted chocolate and wait for each layer to cool before laying on the next.
By the time we were through with dinner, the bark was chilled enough to slice. It was a messy job, sending bits of starlight mints about my just washed kitchen floor, but that's what you get for cleaning up prematurely. Hands flew to catch shards as I broke up the sheet of chocolate, but seeing as mine were among them, I could hardly scold. If you are at all like me, you eat this until you are hovering at the edge of sugar shock, have a glass of water, and then eat a bit more.
adapted from Orangette, who adapted from Bon Appetit
Make sure your white chocolate contains cocoa butter, not hydrogenated oils. Whole Foods white chocolate chips, or Ghiradelli white chocolate bars are good quality and not too expensive.
Crushing the mints is a bit of a pain in the ass, as you have to remove each one from its wrapper and then crush them. I place them in a plastic ziploc bag and have my kids enthusiastically go at them with the blunt end of a rolling pin.
24 oz white chocolate, finely chopped or white chocolate chips
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies (starlight mints), coarsely crushed
7 oz bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli 60%
6 tbsp heavy cream
¾ tsp peppermint extract
Turn a large baking sheet bottom side up and cover with aluminum foil. Mark a 12 x 9-inch rectangle on the foil. Melt white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour approximately 2/3 of the melted white chocolate onto the rectangle on the foil. Use an icing spatula to spread the chocolate to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Microwave the cream in a glass measuring cup in thirty second intervals until steaming, about 60 seconds. Pour cream over bittersweet chocolate, leave for a minute, and then stir until the chocolate melts. Add the peppermint extract. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture over chilled white chocolate rectangle. Use icing spatula to spread bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil with bark onto work surface, break or cut into pieces, eating as you go.