Peppermint Bark, Raspberry Bark, Vanilla/PB Bark….

by Marsie

Peppermint extract, a great discovery.

Now, I am not a huge fan of peppermint on its own. The peppermint candies served as an after meal mint are too strong and sweet for my preference; however, when peppermint meets another ingredient like chocolate, my opinion of peppermint drastically shifts to favorable. My love for the combination of peppermint and chocolate started with a sip of a peppermint mocha a few years back, a love staying strong since. Peppermint gives an edge to chocolate. Not to mention a great aftertaste.

Coffee shop mochas, especially seasonal flavored mochas like the peppermint mocha, are expensive. I was unwilling to give up my peppermint mochas. How I never thought of peppermint extract, before accidentally seeing it at the grocery store, will always remain a mystery. Nevertheless, I discovered peppermint extract as the remedy to limited peppermint mochas on account of cost. Victory.

The box of my peppermint extract includes suggestions/recipes. One of the recipes is for double peppermint bark. Since I love peppermint mochas, I naturally had to attempt making peppermint bark and dark chocolate peppermint bark (why limit myself to white chocolate when dark chocolate exists?).

The double peppermint bark recipe was a success. Last year, I  made it for my classmates and gave it to countless friends and relatives as a Christmas gifts. Fast forward to this year. Now that I know the peppermint bark is a success, I have decided to experiment with new flavors in addition to adapting the peppermint bark.

What other flavors combine well with chocolate? Peanut butter, raspberries, espresso, vanilla… the list is endless. Below are some of my most recent experiments, along with the recipe for double peppermint bark, all resulting in chocolaty bliss (as well as a stomach ache from eating too much chocolate).

Peppermint Bark

I had fun crushing the candy canes. I placed the candy canes on a plastic plate, covering them with wax paper, and using the back side of an ice-cream scoop to pulverize.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz white chocolate (or exchange with semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
  • ground espresso (optional flavor kick)
  • cookie sheet/pan covered in aluminum foil.

Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another 30-60 seconds, stopping and stirring every 20 seconds to avoid burn

the chocolate.

Stir in 1 tsp of peppermint extract.

Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate over aluminum. Sprinkle crushed candy canes and espresso over melted chocolate.

Refrigerate chocolate until hardened. Break apart chocolate into chunks, storing in airtight container. I like frozen chocolate, so whatever survives the first day gets placed in the freezer.

Raspberry Bark

Ingredients

  • 12 oz white chocolate (or exchange with semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp raspberry extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
  • ground espresso (optional flavor kick)
  • raspberries, fresh/frozen (optional topping if you plan to freeze the bark)
  • cookie sheet/pan covered in aluminum foil.

Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another 30-60 seconds, stopping and stirring every 20 seconds to avoid burn the chocolate.

Stir in 1/2 – 1 tsp of raspberry extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate over aluminum. Optional: Sprinkle espresso and/or raspberries over melted chocolate.

Refrigerate chocolate until hardened. Break apart chocolate into chunks, storing in airtight container. If you added the raspberries, freeze the chocolate to preserve the raspberries.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Bark

Ingredients

  • 12 oz white chocolate (or exchange with semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
  • ground espresso (optional flavor kick)
  • peanut butter chips
  • cookie sheet/pan covered in aluminum foil.

Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another 30-60 seconds, stopping and stirring every 20 seconds to avoid burn the chocolate.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate over aluminum. Optional: Sprinkle peanut butter chips and espresso (optional) over chocolate.

Refrigerate chocolate until hardened. Break apart chocolate into chunks, storing in airtight container.

*Another option is to do a layer of one type of chocolate (like semi-sweet), chill to hardened, and then apply a second layer of chocolate (like white) over the first layer.

Mmmm, chocolate!

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