It just isn’t Christmas without Peppermint Bark! Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate are topped with crushed candy canes. This famous Christmas candy recipe is so easy to put together, it’s a shame to buy it at the store. I will show you just how to make it, with tons of tips and tricks for making it perfect the first time! Originally published December 13, 2020.
Table of Contents
- What is Peppermint Bark?
- You will love this Easy Peppermint Bark
- The Best Peppermint Bark Recipe
- Best Peppermint Bark ingredients
- How to make this Recipe for Peppermint Bark
- How to store Homemade Peppermint Bark
- Recipe for Peppermint Bark FAQs
- More peppermint recipes you will love!
- More Christmas candy and treats to make for the neighbors!
- Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe
I’m totally a thumbs-up person now. Eric and I were chatting the other day and realized we’ve both started doing it more and more. I feel a little 1950s! Like maybe I should have a sparkle on my teeth and a twinkle in my eye too. With masks these days it’s hard to communicate even simple yes or no’s when you’re out and about! Anyone else?? I never realized how much I rely on lip reading!
The other day I was at the grocery store and started talking with the bagger dude. I found out he’s from Vietnam. His English is good, but you can tell he’s still learning. And now everyone has their faces covered up all the time! I can’t imagine how much harder it is. Props to all the language learners out there. English is hard enough!
I was at the store buying butter. Are you surprised? Eric calculated on the day before Thanksgiving that we had 164 sticks of butter in the house. I think we’re almost out by now (kidding).
But guess what, I’ve finally found a new favorite Christmas treat that uses no butter! It’s a miracle! This Peppermint Bark is a classic, am I right? You can buy it for an arm and a leg at Williams Sonoma or a number of knock off places, or you can follow this recipe at home and save that arm and leg for another day. I love all my arms and legs and I’m sure you do too, so let’s get to it!
What is Peppermint Bark?
Peppermint bark is an easy two layer treat that’s popular around the holidays. The first layer is chocolate, dark or semi-sweet, and the second is white chocolate, swirled together with crushed candy canes. Even more crushed candy cane is sprinkled on top. It’s fancy and festive but way, way easier than a lot of other Christmas candies. It looks equally amazing on a Christmas cookie plate or in a little bag for a neighbor gift. It also tastes amazing when you’re eating it by yourself at home watching cheesy Christmas rom coms (come on, I know it’s not just me).
You will love this Easy Peppermint Bark
Did your friend just text you that she’s dropping by with a Christmas treat, and she’s going to be there in an hour? Did you get too busy to bake and now you’re going to be empty handed??
Peppermint bark to the rescue, my fellow procrastinator. 15 minutes to make, 30 minutes to chill. It doesn’t get much easier than that.Of course if you’re the kind of person who’s finished wrapping Christmas presents in September and you’ve just got oodles of time on your hands (I admire you but I don’t understand you), you can make this part of a beautiful cookie and candy plate. Check out my cookies archive for more ideas (many, many more ideas…cookies might be my favorite child).
The Best Peppermint Bark Recipe
Today, we are making AMAZING Peppermint Bark. Not subpar or fake peppermint bark. There are some rules.
Best Peppermint Bark ingredients
First, let’s talk chocolate. There are only a few ingredients in this recipe:
- high quality dark or semi sweet chocolate, totally up to you
- peppermint extract
- vegetable oil, to help the chocolate melt smoothly and make it a little easier to bite into once it’s hardened
- high quality white chocolate with cocoa butter in the ingredient list
- candy canes
You NEED high quality chocolate for peppermint bark! It’s not optional! Bad chocolate=bad peppermint bark. Simple as that.
Chocolate for Homemade Peppermint Bark
For the Dark or semi sweet chocolate: I recommend only buying name-brand chocolate. I like to use Guittard, Ghirardelli (those are my preference), Nestle is fine, Lindt, etc. You can use chocolate chips as long as they are name brand. (A bar of chocolate is fine too!) Cheap, generic brands will not melt properly a lot of the time. Go for the gold. (hint: if it’s really cheap, it’s probably not high quality!)
White chocolate: There are a lot of sneaky products out there claiming to be white chocolate. But most of them are made with palm kernel oil and they taste like garbage. Just tellin it to you straight here. You need white chocolate that has cocoa butter high on the ingredient list. This is the only way to know if it is real white chocolate! The higher up on the ingredient list, the better.
I do not recommend white chocolate chips. White chocolate chips almost never have real cocoa butter in them. Buy a bar of real white chocolate and chop it up.
I recently found that Guittard white chocolate chips have cocoa butter in them, but the ingredient list is as follows: Sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, etc.
The bar of Ghirardelli chocolate that I used for this recipe starts with these ingredients: Sugar, cocoa butter, etc. THAT is the quality of white chocolate you are looking for! If palm oil is high up on the ingredient list (especially if it’s before cocoa butter) it’s not going to be as high quality.
Okay, now that we’ve got our chocolate situation all cleared up!
How to make this Recipe for Peppermint Bark
Start by getting everything prepped and ready to go. Crunch up all the candy canes you will need. I did a few candy canes finely crushed, to stir into the white chocolate layer (this is optional). Then I coarsely crushed a few more to sprinkle on top of the finished bark.
How to melt chocolate in the microwave for Peppermint Bark
Pour your dark (or semi sweet) chocolate chips into a large bowl, or chop the chocolate if you bought a bar. Add in the vegetable oil. Microwave in 15-30 second increments, stirring each time. Be careful so that it doesn’t scorch! Add the peppermint extract. Try not to eat it all with a spoon at this point.
Pour onto wax paper or parchment paper and spread it out to about 11×15 inches, or however big you want, really. I prefer a thinner bark. If you like it really thick bark, make your rectangle smaller. Drop the pan onto the counter a few times to get out all the air bubbles.
Let the chocolate cool until completely set. You can stick it in the fridge to speed this up!
Chop up the white chocolate, add oil, and microwave in increments. Be very careful! White chocolate is even more finicky than regular chocolate. Stir it well every time and stop microwaving when there are still a few lumps; then stir until they have melted away.
Stir in the finely crushed candy canes. Pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate and spread almost to the edges. Drop the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Sprinkle the coarsely chopped candy canes over the top of the white chocolate. Then let it set! (You can stick it in the fridge to cool)
How to temper chocolate for this Easy Peppermint Bark
If you do not have a microwave, you can temper chocolate on the stove. You can use a double boiler if you have one, but you probably don’t. To make a homemade version, put a bowl over a pan of boiling water. This will achieve the same effect.
In a small pot, boil 1-2 inches water. Set a glass bowl over the top so that it completely covers the top of the pot and locks in steam. (You can use a metal bowl if you like, just be sure to use oven mitts.) Add the chocolate to the bowl. Do no get any water in the chocolate, it will seize! Stir until the chocolate is melted. Continue with the recipe as usual! This method is the same for both dark and white chocolate.
It’s as simple as that. There are a few important tips to know when making peppermint bark, but once you have the right ingredients and learn how to be careful melting your chocolate, it’s really so easy.
How to store Homemade Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark can be stored at room temperature (covered, of course). You can also freeze it for later, for up to 3 months, but just be aware that you might see white spots on your chocolate caused by condensation. This is called “bloom” and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not as pretty. To avoid this, thaw your frozen peppermint bark in the fridge instead of on the counter.
Does peppermint bark need to be refrigerated?
No, peppermint bark doesn’t need to be refrigerated. In fact, keeping it in the fridge can cause it to get sticky as moisture collects on the peppermint candy. Remember, this is just candy. You don’t normally keep your candy in the fridge, so no need to do it here.
Recipe for Peppermint Bark FAQs
Having your peppermint bark layers separate is the wooooorst. Here are some tips to keep it from happening.
Use high quality white chocolate. The palm kernel oil in cheaper “white chocolate” can cause peppermint bark layers to separate. Honestly this goes for the dark chocolate layer too–buy something quality. It’s worth it.
Cut your bark, don’t break it. Sometimes the layers can separate when you’re breaking it apart. I recommend a sharp chef’s knife instead.
Don’t cut ice cold bark. Let it come to room temperature on the counter before you start cutting it apart.
Peppermint bark can get sticky in the fridge or freezer. This happens because of condensation–basically moisture–on the peppermint candy. The ideal place to store peppermint bark is on the counter, where condensation won’t be a problem.
I know it’s super satisfying to break about with your hands (AND it gives it that nice natural look), but cutting it with a sharp knife is the only way to go in my book. You risk the layers separating when you break it with your hands. Just take the entire rectangle of bark, on its parchment paper, and place it on a large cutting board before slicing it into pieces.
I hope you get to make this soon! Spoil all your neighbors!!
More peppermint recipes you will love!
- Dipped Chocolate Peppermint Cookies << these cookies are a favorite of mine!
- Candy Cane Brownie Trifle << my favorite dessert to serve on Christmas day.
- Nana’s Famous Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream << I’m not saying we’ve had huge family fights about who steals the last bowlful…ok we definitely have
- Peppermint Ganache Icebox Cake << it’s so pretty!
More Christmas candy and treats to make for the neighbors!
- My Mom’s Fudge << Absolutely, 100% my top Christmas recipe. For both me and my readers!
- The Best Homemade English Toffee Recipe << this one is so easy. No thermometer required!
- Oreo Truffles << if you haven’t tried these, you are seriously missing out!
- Caramel Nougat Pecan Rolls << I make these for my neighbors every year! A huge hit!
- Penuche Fudge Recipe >> the brown sugar version of my favorite fudge!
- Candy Bar Pretzel Bites from Like Mother Like Daughter
- Raspberry Chocolate Truffles from Wild Wild Whisk
- Christmas Candy Crunch from Hoosier Homemade
Easy Peppermint Bark
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, OR name brand dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, not mint
- 12 ounces white chocolate, HIGH QUALITY *
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 candy canes, finely crushed, to stir into white chocolate
- 5-8 candy canes, coarsely crushed, to top bark
- Start by getting everything prepped and ready to go. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Finely crush 3 candy canes. You can do this in the food processor or in a ziplock with a rolling pin. These candy canes are going to be stirred into the white chocolate, so you want to crush them pretty well.
- Coarsely crush 5-8 candy canes in a ziplock (a food processor will crush them too much). These ones are going to be sprinkled on top of the bark. Set aside.
- A word about chocolate. Be sure to buy high quality chocolate. Dark or semisweet is fine; I prefer dark. I like to use Ghirardelli, Guittard, or Nestle. If you are using chocolate chips, use 12 ounces. This is 2 cups of chocolate chips. If you are using a bar of chocolate, roughly chop it.
- Melt your chocolate. In a medium bowl, add 12 ounces dark or semi sweet chocolate. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Heat for 30 seconds on high in the microwave and stir. Heat for another 30 seconds and stir. Continue after this in 15 second increments, stirring each time. When the chocolate is glossy and mostly smooth, but still has lumps, do not microwave again. Just keep stirring until the final hard pieces melt.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and stir well.
- Pour the chocolate onto the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into a large rectangle. Mine was about 11×15 inches. The larger your rectangle, the thinner your bark will be. I don’t like super thick bark, I like it to be nice and thin (the easier to bite into). Drop the pan on the counter a few times to get out all the air bubbles.
- Set the pan of chocolate aside to set. You can put it in the fridge if you are in a hurry. Do not add the white chocolate layer until this layer has set.
- A word about white chocolate. Check the ingredients. If it does not list “cocoa butter” then it is not white chocolate. Most white chocolate chips do not have cocoa butter. It’s best to buy a bar. I like the Ghirardelli white chocolate bars.
- Chop 12 ounces of high quality white chocolate.
- In a new bowl (or clean and dry the other one very well), add the white chocolate. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
- Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir. After that, heat in 15 second increments until there are still a few lumps. Then stir until the lumps are gone. White chocolate seizes even easier than regular chocolate, so be careful!
- Stir the finely crushed candy canes into the white chocolate. Pour the white chocolate over the top of the cooled dark chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread almost all the way to the edge. The heat from the white chocolate might slightly melt the bottom layer, so be careful you don’t smear them together.
- Immediately sprinkle the coarse candy canes on top. Let the bark cool at room temperature or stick it in the fridge. It takes about 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Once hardened, use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the bark into pieces. I don’t like to break the pieces apart by hand. As satisfying as it is, the white chocolate tends to separate from the dark chocolate that way.
- Enjoy! Keep in a sealed container at room temperature.
- You can freeze the bark for up to 3 months if it is well sealed. You do run the risk of white spots (“bloom”) showing up on your chocolate. Thaw in the refrigerator to avoid this (there will be less condensation that way.)