How many Williams-Sonoma catalogs have you gotten this holiday season? I'd say I've gotten at least 10. And, they all feature their "amazing" peppermint bark. There is even something called Peppermint Bark Paws. Why dog paws? Don't ask me.
To be honest, I'm sure the ingredients in their peppermint bark are safe and gluten-free, but I absolutely do not trust them when it comes to cross-contamination. And since cross-contamination will make my son upchuck all over the Christmas tree, I learned how to make my own SAFE peppermint bark. And, now I'll teach you, too.
There are different ways to melt chocolate and you just need to go with the one you feel most comfortable with and which one works best with your kitchen pots. If you have a nice thick pot, you can melt your chocolate chips right on the stovetop. If you're nervous about the quality of your pots, feel free to either melt your chocolate chips in a double-boiler or in the microwave. But be careful with microwaves because they all melt at different rates... so keep an eye on it and stir often.
This is a great recipe to take out your holiday rage on. Smashing up those candy canes can be pretty cathartic, I tell you. It's also nice because it can all come together in 30 minutes or so and you don't even have to turn on your oven. And, double bonus, since peppermint bark is so heavily pushed by Williams-Sonoma, no one realizes how simple it is to make. They just pick up a box out of habit almost.... which means that they'll all be totally blown away that you made it "from scratch!"
Don't worry. I'll never tell them how easy it is to make if you don't.
Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark, (approx 1.5lbs candy)
- 10-12 oz (1 bag) Dark Chocolate Chips (I like Ghiradelli's or Guittard)
- 10-12 oz (1 bag) White Chocolate Chips (Ghiradelli's or Guittard)
- 1/2 box of Tiny Candy Cane's (Bob's are gluten-free)
- 1-1.5 tsps Peppermint Extract
- 1 tsp Vegetable Oil, divided
Via microwave, double boiler, or thick pot on the stove top, melt the dark chocolate chips. Stir frequently and as they're melting, add 1/2 tsp vegetable oil and peppermint extract. I recommend starting with 1 tsp of peppermint and adding more to taste. I like things a bit more pepperminty when paired with a dark chocolate. Once chocolate is completely melted, smooth and shiny, pour chocolate out on a parchment covered half sheet pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread it out as evenly as possible. Place pan of melted chocolate in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to harden.
While the dark peppermint chocolate layer is firming up in the fridge, crush up the candy canes. I do this in a bag with a meat tenderizer. I don't want uniform sizes and I don't want the candy canes too powdery. If you want more of a dust, feel free to try this in your Cuisinart. Once the candy canes are crushed, set them aside and begin melting your white chocolate chips. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable oil to the chips as they melt. Keep an eye on the white chocolate... it tends to seize up much more quickly than the dark chocolate. If this happens, lower the heat, add a bit more vegetable oil, and stir until the clumps disappear.
Remove hardened dark chocolate layer from the fridge and pour white chocolate over the top. Spread quickly and gently. Sometimes the white chocolate will cause the dark chocolate to begin to re-melt and you'll get a dark and white chocolate swirl on the top layer. If you want to avoid this, I recommend throwing the dark chocolate layer in the freezer for 5 minutes or so after it hardens in the fridge. If you still end up with a swirl, you'll be able to hide it a bit with the candy cane top layer.
Once the white chocolate is spread out on top of the dark chocolate layer, quickly sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top. Gently press them into the white chocolate layer to make sure they get cemented into the bark.
Place sheet pan in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Once the bark is firmly set, break it up by hand into irregular shapes. Inevitably, some candy canes will pop out of the bark... it's ok. The bark will still be plenty pepperminty, and you don't want it to look perfect. You want it to look natural and homemade with love, and to be a delicious peppermint treat... which it is.
The peppermint bark will store in the freezer for 2 weeks or get eaten up immediately by all your friends and family.