Peppermint bark is one of those American foods that doesn't seem to have made it across the Pacific Ocean to Australia. I gather that it's a Christmas thing, what with the smashed candy canes involved. I don't much like candy canes, tasting of toothpaste yet rotting the teeth, but a few of them were thrust on me last December. This peppermint bark recipe from Orangette had me combining them with more than five times their weight in chocolate, which I figured would make those sugar sticks more palatable.
There's not much to it - two thin layers of white chocolate with minty dark chocolate ganache (mine replacing heavy cream with coconut milk) and smashed candy canes in between, then more cane fragments decorating the top. It's not well suited to an Aussie summer Christmas as the ganache remains gooey and there's not enough strength in the white chocolate to hold it together. The first piece I ate was just sweet and messy and, I thought, a bit meh. Once the remaining pieces had spent a night in the fridge I was more positively disposed to them - my fingers didn't instantly sink through melting chocolate, the candy canes were chewy and I could appreciate the cocoa contrast more. I still couldn't slice it prettily though!
(adapted slightly from a recipe at Orangette,
which is adapted from a recipe
in the December 1998 issue of Bon Appetit)
45g candy canes
180g white chocolate
80g dark chocolate
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint essence
Line a small loaf tin with foil. Coarsely crush or chop the candy canes.
Gently melt half of the white chocolate and spread it evenly over the base of the loaf tin. Quickly sprinkle over one third of the candy canes. Refrigerate (or freeze, if you're in a rush!) the layer until set firmly.
In a separate saucepan, melt together the dark chocolate and coconut milk. Stir them together to form a thick, satiny ganache and add the peppermint essence.Spread the ganache evenly over the set candy-chocolate and refrigerate until very firm, at least half an hour. (You could try the freezer again, but I found that some of the coconut oil separated so I wouldn't recommend it.)
Gently melt the remaining white chocolate and spread it over the ganache. Sprinkle over the remaining candy canes and refrigerate until firm, another half hour or so.
Slice the bark into small squares to serve.