There’s a reason why I love peppermint bark that begins with a confession: I don’t like chocolate.
I don’t loathe it, I just don’t love it. This news always takes people by surprise. Somehow by the mere fact of my gender, it’s assumed that I must immediately be in love with all things dark and sweet. But taste is so highly individualized and pesky in nature. Give me a choice between a wedge chocolate cake and a slice of banana cream pie, you’ll find the banana-soaked remains of a crust within seconds.
By contrast, I once had a quart of chunky double chocolate ice cream in my fridge for two years until a friend house-sitting at my place after a break-up with her boyfriend ate the whole thing in one sitting.
This proved an issue when I worked as a restaurant reviewer. When I first wrote reviews, I often skipped dessert. After all, I’m not a dessert person. But then I was working with Tom Sietsema, now the reviewer for The Washington Post. He said, “Kat, dessert is the reason why some people have to go out. You must put your personal preferences aside for the sake of your readers.” So I plowed through endless cakes, creme brulees and died what felt like a thousand deaths by chocolate.
My sister’s peppermint bark
Throughout the years, I’ve fallen in love one thing that’s decidedly chocolate based: my sister Sandy’s peppermint bark. Part dark chocolate, part white and topped with crushed candy canes, it somehow defeats my anti-chocolate bias.
Peppermint bark is easy to make. It requires no baking prowess other than the ability to patiently melt chocolate chips. Wrapped up in a nice container, it’s makes a lovely holiday gift, too. My sister used to spend a full weekend day making pounds of it to give to her magazine staff around the holidays. She packed it into tidy, colorful boxes along with personalized cheery notes. While she was at it, she’d made some for the family, too.
She’s semi-retired now and no longer works in an office, so she doesn’t do the marathon bark making anymore. So if I want peppermint bark these days, I have to make it myself. I turn on some cheery holiday music, grab the bags of dark and white chocolate chips, crush up some candy canes and be merry.
Recipe: Easy Peppermint Bark
- 11 oz. bag dark chocolate chips
- 11 oz. bag white chocolate chips
- Several candy canes crushed
- Parchment paper
- Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth. Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spread out an even layer of melted dark chocolate over the parchment (about 1/8”- 1/4” thick). Cool in the freezer for 20 minutes. While cooling, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer (the chocolate should be hardened) and spread a layer of melted white chocolate over the entire piece of dark chocolate. This should be about the same thickness as the dark chocolate. Sprinkle liberally with crushed candy canes. Gently push candy canes into the white chocolate, just enough so they won’t fall off when cool.
- Return the cookie sheet to the freezer and let cool for 30 minutes or until hard.
Originally published December 2014, updated December 2022.
Hello there–This is a bit of a random place to comment but I wanted to let you know how much my husband and I both have enjoyed reading your books! To be honest, I don’t know how I stumbled upon your Kitchen Counter Cooking School book but I was immediately taken in from the very start and knew right away that my husband would like it equally. I was so right on. We had fun discussing the book together and finding application in our family with four kids. As we try and find ways to stay close and connected as a family with our growing teens, we have really learned to value and protect that dinner time with good food around the table. Your tips and shared experiences have helped to make it all the more fun!
Scott is already onto the Sharper Your Knife book–he got first dibs this time. Anyway, we love your writing style AND all the super helpful information. We feel like you are a friend now even though we aren’t really friends but your books have made us feel welcome into your culinary life. Thanks and all the best, Nancy.
thank you so much, Nancy! I am working on some new books. If you’d like to be a beta reader, let me know! My email is kat @ kathleenflinn.com