Are you craving a holiday treat that's not only super delicious but also incredibly easy to make? Look no further than this Milk Chocolate Peppermint Bark recipe!
In this blog post, we'll walk you through the simple steps you need to create one of Essy’s favorite holiday treats. Peppermint Bark is truly a festive treat that's perfect for the holiday season and can be gifted to friends, family, and loved ones.
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Reasons Why You'll Love This Recipe
Simplicity and Ease: This recipe calls for simple ingredients, is hassle-free and straightforward, and can be made by kids, newbie cooks, and experienced cooks.
Customizable Flavor Profile: This recipe is versatile and allows you to tailor the bark to your taste preferences. Additionally, we recommend choosing your favorite type of chocolate for the dark and white chocolate layer and adjusting the amount of peppermint extract to your taste.
Festive Looking: Peppermint bark is not just delicious, it's also visually appealing. The contrasting layers of dark and white chocolate, and the vibrant crushed candy canes, make it festive and eye-catching.
Perfect for Sharing: Peppermint bark is perfect for sharing with family and friends as a great Christmas gift.
Milk chocolate: Milk chocolate serves as the rich, chocolatey bottom layer for the bark. Its sweetness complements the minty flavor of the peppermint and balances the bark's overall taste. You can substitute it with bittersweet chocolate for a darker and less sweet version, or you can use semi-sweet or unsweetened chocolate.
White Chocolate: White chocolate adds creaminess and a sweet contrast to the semisweet layer. It also is the perfect top layer and canvas for the vibrant crushed candy canes. For a variation, we recommend using vanilla-flavored candy melts or almond bark as a substitute for white chips.
Peppermint Extract: Peppermint extract is the key flavoring agent that gives the bark its refreshing mint taste. When making this recipe, please start with a smaller amount and adjust it to your preference. You don't want to overpower the bark. However, if you don't have peppermint extract, feel free to use peppermint oil (sparingly) or even finely chopped fresh mint leaves for a natural alternative.
Crushed Candy Canes: Crushed candy canes add a delightful crunch and burst of peppermint flavor. They also contribute to the festive appearance of the bark. If you don't have mini candy canes or regular candy canes, alternatively, peppermint candies or peppermint-flavored baking chips can be used as substitutes. Additionally, make sure they are finely crushed for even distribution.
Line a cookie sheet or large sheet pan with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or wax paper.
Place the milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate turns smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared pan, and using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread it into a thin, even layer.
Refrigerate the chocolate for about 30 minutes or until the milk chocolate has completely set.
Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until it becomes smooth.
Stir in ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract. Taste and add more peppermint extract if it's needed.
Pour the melted warm white chocolate over the chilled dark chocolate layer and spread it into a thin, even layer.
Place the candy canes in a zip-top bag. Close the bag and crush the canes using a rolling pin or meat mallet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top for decoration and then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or until the entire bark is set.
Once the milk chocolate peppermint bark has fully set remove it from the fridge. Break it into small pieces and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Peppermint bark Tips and Tricks
Quality Chocolate: Use high-quality chocolate for both the milk as well as white chocolate layers. The better the chocolate, the richer and more satisfying the flavor of your peppermint bark will be.
Even Layer Thickness: When spreading each chocolate layer on the baking sheet, try your best to aim for an even thickness. This will ensure a consistent thickness and texture throughout the bark.
Peppermint Extract Gradual Addition: We recommend adding peppermint extract gradually to the white chocolate, tasting as you go because peppermint extracts vary in intensity.
Parchment Paper Placement: Make sure the parchment paper on the baking sheet extends slightly past the sheet's edges. This will make it easy for you to lift and transfer the set bark.
Set the milk chocolate first: Allow the milk chocolate layer to set for around 30 minutes before adding the white chocolate layer. Doing this will help prevent the layers from mixing.
Crushed Candy Canes Distribution: Sprinkle crushed candy canes evenly over the white chocolate layer so you can have a consistent crunch in every bite. Also, don't hesitate to press them gently into the melted white chocolate to ensure they adhere to the chocolate.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Airtight Container: After the peppermint bark is fully set, transfer it to an airtight container. This will help prevent moisture absorption and keep the bark fresh.
Refrigeration: Store the peppermint bark in the fridge, especially if you live in a warmer climate, like we do. Doing this helps maintain its texture and prevents the chocolate from softening.
Layer Separation: If you decide to stack multiple layers of bark, remember to place parchment paper between the layers to keep them from sticking together.
Avoid Odor Transfer: Store the peppermint bark away from strong-smelling foods like fish; trust us, you don't want your peppermint bark to smell like salmon.
Room Temperature Storage (Short Term): If your kitchen tends to be on the cooler side and you won't be storing the bark for an extended period, feel free to keep it in an airtight container at room temperature.
Freezing (Long Term): You can freeze peppermint bark for longer storage. Just make sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. We suggest that you thaw it in the fridge before serving.
Substitution and Addition Ideas
For a nutty twist, you can add chopped nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, or pecans) to either the milk or white chocolate layer.
For a fruity twist, you can add dried fruits like cherries, apricots, and cranberries to either the milk or white chocolate layer.
If you want a hint of warmth, add a pinch of cinnamon or a touch of ground ginger to the white chocolate layer.
Feel free to experiment with flavored chocolates (e.g., orange-infused chocolate) for a unique taste.
Milk Chocolate Peppermint Bark FAQs
What can I use instead of candy canes?
If you don't have candy canes, you can use crushed peppermint candies, Andes mints, or even dried mint leaves.
How do I melt the chocolate?
There are two main methods of melting chocolate: the double boiler and the microwave methods. The double boiler method is slower and more gentle, while the microwave is faster but needs more attention. This recipe calls for the microwave method.
How do I crush the candy canes?
Place the candy canes in a sealed plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. You can also use a food processor.
How do I swirl the peppermint extract into the chocolate?
Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the melted chocolate and then use a spoon or fork to swirl it in.
How thick should I spread the chocolate?
The ideal thickness of the bark is about ¼ inch. Consequently, this will allow the bark to break easily and melt smoothly in your mouth. We love thick bark so this recipe will make a bark that's more on the thicker side.
How long does it take for the bark to harden?
We recommend that you refrigerate the bark for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours, or until the chocolate is completely set.
How do I store the bark?
We like to store our bark in an airtight container and then place it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Can I add other toppings to my bark?
Yes, you can add chopped nuts, dried fruit, sea salt, or anything else you like. Be creative and have fun!
What are some common mistakes people make when making peppermint chocolate bark?
Some common mistakes people make when making milk chocolate peppermint chocolate bark include:
Overheating the chocolate.
Not using high-quality chocolate.
Overmixing the peppermint extract.
Spreading the chocolate too thin or too thick.
Not refrigerating the bark for long enough.
What are some creative ways to use peppermint chocolate bark?
Some creative ways to use peppermint chocolate bark include:
Serving ice cream or yogurt with it.
Crumbling it over pancakes or waffles.
Using it as a garnish for hot chocolate.
Dipping it in milk.
Using it as a homemade gift.
More Recipes You'll Love
Looking for other easy and delicious recipes? Try these:
Milk Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- Baking Pan (8X8), cookie sheet or large sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Double boiler or microwave-safe bowls
- Stirring utensil
- Measuring cups
- Cutting board
- Airtight container for storage
- 2 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, (adjust to taste)
- ¼ cup candy canes, crushed
- Line a baking pan, cookie sheet or large sheet pan with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or wax paper.
- Place the milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate turns smooth.
- Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared pan and using a rubber spatula or offset spatula spread it into a thin, even layer.
- Refrigerate the chocolate for about 30 minutes or until the milk chocolate has completely set.
- Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
- Stir in ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract. Taste and add more peppermint extract if desired.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture over the chilled milk chocolate layer and spread it into a thin, even layer.
- Place the candy canes in a zip-top bag. Close the bag and crush the canes using a rolling pin or meat mallet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top for decoration and then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or until the entire bark is set.
- Once the chocolate peppermint bark has fully set remove it from the fridge. Break it into small pieces and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.