Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spearmint Bark

Spearmint Bark
It's definitely looking more like Christmas around San Sebastián.  Several of the streets are lined with lights but I'm starting to get just a littttttle more excited about being home for the holidays :)  Peppermint bark has always been one of my favorites but for some reason candy canes were not as abundantly available in the San Sebastián supermarkets as I had hoped.  After some serious searching, my roommate Brittany spotted some spearmint hard candies in a container at a local corner store.  This spearmint bark tasted SO good and its so easy you really have no excuse not to make it!

12 oz white, milk, or dark chocolate (or any combination of the three!)
1 1/2 cups hard spearmint candies, whole

Before breaking the bark.
There are two ways to go about this recipe.  First, by melting the chocolate in a double boiler.  This method will work perfectly if you are using just one type of chocolate.  However, if you plan on melting white and then milk chocolate the double boiler will probably get to hot and burn the second batch of chocolate.  The second, and in my opinion much easier method, is to put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it in thirty second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate is silky smooth and melted.  If you have some peppermint extract on hand, add a capful into the melted chocolate just to enhance the peppermint flavor even more.

There are two ways of dealing with the spearmint candies as well.  First, by using a food processor.  Second, by placing them all in a plastic bag and whacking them with the back of a frying pan or a meat tenderizer until all of the candies are in tiny pieces.  Both of these methods are equally as effective, although one tends to be more stress relieving than the other.  Once the chocolate is melted and the candies are pulverized, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the larger pieces of candy from the more powdery bits.  Allow the candy powder  to fall into the chocolate and stir.  Pour the chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and spread using a spatula.  Then, sprinkle the larger pieces of candy on top of the chocolate.  Pop the baking sheet in the refrigerator for an hour and you'll have a large sheet of spearmint bark like the one pictured above.  Once the chocolate is hardened break off pieces however large or small you like them and enjoy!

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