Kids of All Ages Can Make This Peppermint Bark

wellfedtree1.jpgChocolate candy treats are some of the easiest confections to make with children and the most adaptable to skill levels and ages.

Here is a Peppermint Bark recipe that my teenage son Noah and I came up with.  It makes a great holiday treat or, packaged creatively, a nice hostess gift.

Noah provided the inspiration after he tasted some expensive Peppermint Bark in a food specialty store. I refused to pay that kind of money for something he could make himself.  We went home and  I developed the recipe, and Noah did the peppermint candy bashing, chocolate melting and assembly pretty much on his own. (A younger child or one that is not as handy and experienced in the kitchen as Noah should have adult supervision at all times.)

If your child is from preschool to early elementary age, you may want to have him or her help with the prep, candy unwrapping, chocolate spreading and assembling.

A preteen with strong kitchen skills can also help bash the peppermint candy and melt the chocolate in a microwave.

A teen could do the above, chop the chocolate, and also melt it in a double boiler instead of the microwave.

Peppermint Bark

Taste test your peppermint candy options before you begin.  We found that some brands didn’t have as strong a peppermint taste as we would like.  We ended up using round peppermint hard candies. If you want your younger children to participate in the bashing, pick the easy-to-break thin, mini candy canes.  Another thing to keep in mind – your candy will only taste as good as the chocolate you use.  We used better quality chocolate, which resulted in a really luscious treat.

peppermintbarkPeppermint Bark

  • 10-12 red and white candy canes, or about 6-7 ounces of mini candy canes or other peppermint candies
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces (good quality chips okay) 
  • 12 ounces white chocolate (NOT chips, they will not melt well), chopped or broken into small pieces

Line an approximately 10 by 15 inch rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil lining extends beyond the sides of the pan. Unwrap your peppermint candies of choice and put them inside doubled heavy-duty plastic zipper-lock bags.  Make sure you get the air out when you seal the bags. Place on a cutting board on a steady, durable surface that won’t be damaged by some candy bashing (we used the floor).  Hit and bash the the candies with a rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or even a hammer until the candies are broken into approximately ¼-inch pieces.

Melt the semisweet chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.  Spread the melted chocolate in an even layer across the bottom of the prepared, rimmed cookie sheet.  Place pan with chocolate in the refrigerator while you make the next layer.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Take pan with semisweet layer out of refrigerator and spread melted white chocolate on top.  Working quickly, evenly scatter peppermint candy pieces (but discard or find another use of those  teeny tiny bits of peppermint dust you might have created when you were candy bashing) on top, pressing down slightly on larger chunks to make sure they adhere.

Place confection back in the refrigerator until totally firm, about a half hour.  Using the foil lining, lift the bark out of the pan.  Peel off the foil and break into irregularly shaped pieces.

Makes about 1 ¾ pounds of candy.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed storage bag or container.

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