Homemade Holiday Gifts-White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

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Every year, peppermint bark is a holiday hit! My friend and neighbor, Kathy, said she was searching for a wonderful peppermint bark recipe, and since one of my favorite parts of being a Food Consultant for magazines and Food companies is recipe development, I made it my mission to help Kathy out. This recipe is simple to prepare and tastes great. I crushed my candy canes in the food processor to save time and went a little overboard, so I ended up with peppermint snow (as my kids called it-and that’s just how they liked it, by the way). Feel free to chop them more or less, depending how you like it. I used Nestle white and semisweet morsels, but I recommend using a quality chocolate such as ghiradelli¬†(you can also use dark chocolate, if you prefer). Be sure to refrigerate the bark and keep it stored in the refrigerator for optimal results. It will keep for up to 1 month.


Peppermint Bark

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes

Yield: 2 pounds

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package candy cane

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet morsels or baking dark chocolate

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cooking spray

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or baking white chocolate

Preparation

1. Place candy canes in a food processor and process until crushed or in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

2. Melt semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until melted, stirring once. Add peppermint extract, stirring well. Spread evenly on a large 12-x 16-inch baking sheet covered with parchment paper; spray with cooking spray. Place chocolate mixture in refrigerator for up to one hour to set.

3. Melt white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until melted, stirring once. Spread over semisweet chocolate and top evenly with crushed candy canes. Refrigerate 1 more hour or until set. Break into pieces and give as gifts.

Homemade Christmas Gifts-White Chocolate, Pistachio and Cherry Bark

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Everyone loves white chocolate bark during the holidays, but this version has a twist with pistachios and dried cherries which gives it a sweet and salty taste with a crunch. This recipe is so easy and takes no time at all. Be sure to purchase already shelled pistachio nuts in the nut section of your local grocery store. You may also substitute sliced almonds for the pistachios and dried cranberries for the cherries (sometimes dried cherries are hard to find). If you give these as gifts, make sure you put a note on the gift tag to keep the bark refrigerated until ready to enjoy, but up to one month for best flavor.


Dried Cherry and Pistachio Bark

Feel free to double or triple this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 minute

Yield: 11/2 pound

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or any white chocolate

1 cup pistachio nuts, shells removed and toasted

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Preparation

1. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with wax paper on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Add pistachios and cherries, stirring well. Spread on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break bark into pieces. Store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month. Pack in decorative boxes or tins lined with wax tissue paper or colored cellophane for gift giving.