Monday, December 24, 2007

Peppermint Mania

Ever since Williams-Sonoma came out with their Peppermint Bark, we've gotten it one way or another at Christmas time. This year, I waffled on ordering it online ($30 for chocolate?? But I'm poor!) I procrastinated and then it wasn't an option. So I attempted to make it myself. I should have known from the word go that this wasn't the same.

First, the chocolate layer has a cream in it which is automatically going to keep it from forming solid. It's more of a very thick ganache. It's not easy to cut but it's bark and it's supposed to be roughly broken up so that's okay.

Second, I realized as I reached into my cabinet for the peppermint flavoring - oh God, it's not extract. I had peppermint OIL. Did a little research online quickly and found a guessimate that to substitute oil for extract, you should use around 1/4 of what is called for. I was very conservative with the flavoring (you can always add more but once it's in there and too much, it's ruined). If you're using oil as well, it will make a strange looking consistency (you know, oily) but it tastes fine. Just taste as you go along. Peppermint oil has a stronger, cooler, more crisp taste to it so use carefully.

Once it was finished, I took a step back to evaluate and I was kind of disappointed. I let everyone try it and they liked it a lot and it tastes fine but it's just not Williams-Sonoma's peppermint bark. Still, it was well liked so I'm chalking it up to a moderate success for that alone. :)


LAYERED PEPPERMINT CRUNCH BARK
Source: Bon App├ętit

  • 17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
  • 30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
  • 7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil (add more to taste)



Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir 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 and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. 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; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Wow, it is beautiful! I've never had William-Sonoma bark because of the cost facter. I figures I could make it for alot less and it would tast like bark. I guess next year I'll break the bank and give it a try. But I'd still make your version and give it away for Christmas presents. Its that pretty!