Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It's the season for baking and cooking all sorts of treats to indulge in at home and to give away as gifts. I made a few batches of peppermint bark this past week. And I'm not the only one in the food blog world whipping up this easy and tasty treat. Using a recipe from an old issue of Bon Appétit as inspiration, I swapped out the white chocolate for more dark chocolate and subbed Peppermint Joe Joe's from Trader Joe's for the peppermint candies. I made these substitutions because I'm not over the moon about white chocolate in large doses or for strong peppermint flavors. By reducing the amount of white chocolate and using peppermint scented cookies I got a product I was very happy with.
Aside from the recipe mentioned above, I was inspired when this box of cookies just jumped into my cart when I was shopping at Trader Joe's. If you don't know Trader Joe's, I'm sorry. I truly am. It's a great store with all sorts of rotating goodies to try and fall in love with, only to lament when they discontinue stocking your beloved products. Anyway, if you don't have a Trader Joe's you can use regular Oreo's and add peppermint extract to your chocolate.
24 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
15 Peppermint Joe Joe cookies, coarsely crushed
7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. heavy cream
¾ tsp. peppermint extract, optional
Turn a large baking sheet upside down, and cover it securely with non-stick aluminum foil. Measure out and mark a 9 x 12 inch rectangle on the foil.
Put the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until melted. Melt the dark chocolate in a similar way, using a larger bowl. Pour 1/3 cup of the white chocolate and the dark chocolate onto the rectangle on the foil. Using an icing spatula, spread the chocolate to fill the rectangle and swirl the white and dark chocolate together. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the crushed peppermint cookies. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small separate bowl transfer a cup of the dark chocolate and add the cream and peppermint extract, if using. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator, and pour the cream and chocolate mixture over the swirled dark and white chocolate rectangle. Using an icing spatula –spread the chocolate cream in an even layer. Chill until very cold and firm, about 25minutes.
Rewarm the remaining white chocolate and dark chocolate in the microwave. Working quickly, pour the white and dark chocolate in spoonfuls over the firm ganache layer, and spread it to cover. Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermint cookies. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Carefully lift the foil from the baking sheet onto a large cutting board. Trim away any ragged edges of the rectangle. Cut the bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slip the bark off of the foil and onto the cutting board. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 squares, and then cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles.
Pack into an airtight container, with sheets of wax paper between layers of bark to prevent them from sticking to one another. Store in the refrigerator.