You learn something new every day.
Today I learned that trying to temper chocolate is not technically the same thing as actually tempering it. Who knew?
Peppermint bark is ridiculously delicious. And it doesn’t take long to make, and it only has four ingredients, for crying out loud. I just had to not follow instructions on the simplest recipe I’ve ever made.
Here’s what you need to know: Chocolate has it’s own set of rules. It has molecular structure. It has beta crystals. It has a melting point. Have I scared you off? Don’t panic. Tempering chocolate gives it a nice dark glossy look, a higher melting point so it won’t melt all over your fingers as you eat, and makes it “snap” into pieces, rather than crumble.
I’m going to leave the full explanation to someone much more knowledgeable on the topic than myself. Our friend David explains it nicely, and even has a simple, four-step process. Listen to the man. He knows what he’s talking about. And if he says use a thermometer, then by all means – use a thermometer.
You can make this without tempering the chocolate, obviously, but you’ll end up with crumbly edges, and a bark that has to be stored in the fridge. And you’ll have to wash your hands after eating a chunk. I know there are worse things, but I also know you won’t settle for mediocrity.
So. Make peppermint bark this Christmas! And make sure you use your candy thermometer. Don’t leave it in the kitchen drawer like I did.
adapted from Baked by Rachel
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate
12 oz. white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
6 oz. peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed
Line a 9×13 pan with foil. In a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate with 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Temper the chocolate by melting it to about 115 degrees F, then cooling to the low 80s F while stirring quickly and frequently. Then bring the chocolate back up to 88-90 degrees F. Pour it into the pan and smooth the top. Place the pan in the fridge while you do the next layer.
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the double boiler, with the other 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Temper the white chocolate using the same method as before. Pour over the layer of bittersweet chocolate and smooth the top.
Sprinkle the crushed peppermint pieces generously over the top of the white chocolate, and place the pan back in the fridge to firm up completely. Break up into irregular pieces.