Homemade peppermint bark is a holiday favorite! This easy candy is made with just a handful of simple ingredients for a treat that will make everyone feel holly and jolly.
If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Williams-Sonoma during the holiday season, you have probably been offered a sample of their famous peppermint bark.
I love the combination of peppermint and chocolate and am always happy to stuff my face with this divine holiday treat. And I’m always tempted to buy a cute container of the stuff, but the price stops me every time.
As I write this, a 1-pound tin of their peppermint bark costs a whopping $29.95. Yes, that’s right, almost $30!
I understand it’s a novelty gift and the adorable tin is part of the price, but I also know that I can make homemade peppermint bark for a fraction of the cost.
Plus, this recipe actually makes 1 ½ pounds – that’s 50% more than you’d get in that $30 tin!
What I’m saying is that this easy recipe is a must-try this season, ok?
WHAT IS PEPPERMINT BARK?
Unfamiliar with peppermint bark?
Peppermint bark is made from a layer of chocolate topped with a layer of white chocolate and finished with crushed peppermint candies or candy canes.
Technically, you can skip the white chocolate and it is still considered peppermint bark. But the added white chocolate layer is the most popular version and, in my opinion, the prettiest!
Even with both the white and dark chocolate layers, this sweet treat will take less than an hour to make from start to finish.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PEPPERMINT BARK
Homemade peppermint bark is so easy to make, you’ll definitely wonder why you never gave it a try before now!
Ingredients you’ll need
You only need 4 ingredients to make your own peppermint bark:
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- White chocolate chips
- Peppermint extract
- Crushed peppermint candies/candy canes
That’s it! If you already have peppermint extract on hand, you’ll only need to get the other three ingredients. (And remember, you can use peppermint extract in other recipes such as peppermint cookies, peppermint brownies, and peppermint ice cream.)
Make sure you buy peppermint extract, not mint extract, for this recipe. Mint and peppermint are slightly different flavors, and you want the peppermint extract to match the crushed candy canes.
During the holiday season, you can often find bags of pre-crushed peppermint candies at the store. If you can find these, feel free to use them!
If not, you will need to crush your own. I personally think mini candy canes are the easiest to crush – you can crush them as fine as you like, but I like having a few larger bits mixed in.
Making this recipe
Before you get started, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set this aside.
Set a glass or metal bowl over the top of a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips to the bowl and stir. When the chocolate chips are almost completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate is smooth.
Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer about ⅛-inch thick.
Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate is cold and firm.
In another bowl, melt the white chocolate chips over the same pot of simmering water until almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract until smooth.
Let this cool for a couple of minutes before adding it on top of the chocolate layer – you don’t want to melt the chocolate layer.
Pour the white chocolate mixture over the chocolate layer and spread to cover. You will need to work quickly!
Immediately sprinkle the top with the crushed candy canes and chill until both layers are firm, 10-20 minutes.
To serve, break the bark into irregular pieces or cut it into squares with a knife.
Store your homemade peppermint bark in a covered container in the refrigerator. Not only does this keep it from melting, but it adds an extra “cool” bite to the bark when you eat it.
It should keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze your peppermint bark. Make sure the candy is well wrapped in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. I’d recommend thawing it in the refrigerator to avoid condensation, which is the enemy of candy.
USES AND GIFTING IDEAS
Homemade peppermint bark makes a fantastic holiday gift!
You can put a full batch of the candy in a festive tin – Target, Amazon, and even Dollar Tree have tons of cute options this time of year. You can also package up smaller portions in cellophane treat bags and tie them with ribbon.
Try chopping it up and adding it to brownies, ice cream, cookies, and even cheesecake. Heck, it would make an adorable addition to a hot chocolate bar, too!
How finely do I need to crush the candy canes for peppermint bark?
This is really up to you. I personally like a mix of some larger pieces with some finely crushed bits for a variety of crunchiness in my peppermint bark. But you can crush your candy canes quite finely if you prefer!
Can I use mint extract instead of peppermint extract?
Personally, I don’t recommend it.
Mint and peppermint are actually different flavors – peppermint is a type of mint. The “mint” flavor we most commonly think of is spearmint.
Because candy canes are flavored with peppermint, I recommend using peppermint extract instead of mint extract. I don’t really like the two types of mint flavors combined, which is why I suggest staying away from mint extract here.
Do I have to use semi-sweet chocolate chips?
I like using semi-sweet chocolate in combination with the white chocolate and peppermint in this recipe. I think the three flavors balance well for a nice amount of sweetness.
If you want a sweeter candy, you could use milk chocolate chips. On the other hand, if you really love bitter, dark chocolate, feel free to use dark chocolate chunks or chips instead.
How thick should my chocolate layers be?
Ultimately, this is up to you. I like to make each layer about ⅛-inch thick, so the entire slab of peppermint bark is about ¼-inch thick.
But if you want thicker candy pieces, feel free to make the chocolate layers a bit thicker!
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 12 ounces white chocolate chips
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ cup crushed peppermint candy canes
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt semisweet chips in a bowl set over the top of a pot of simmering water, stirring to melt. Remove from heat when almost completely melted, then stir until smooth. Pour onto parchment paper and spread into a rectangle of even thickness (about ⅛ inch thick) with an offset spatula or knife. Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.
- Use another bowl to melt white chocolate chips over the same pot of simmering water, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in peppermint extract. Let cool a little bit so it does not melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top. Pour this over the chocolate layer and, working quickly, spread to cover.
- Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
- Chill until both layers are firm. Break bark into irregular pieces, or cut with a knife into squares. Store chilled in a covered container.