Peppermint Bark

Sophia Chang | Staff Photographer

During the holidays, everybody has their own favorite treats. Some people prefer freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, others indulge in hot chocolate and eggnog or sit by the fireplace making s’mores. But there’s nothing quite like the infamous peppermint bark.

Once winter comes around, peppermint becomes a key ingredient in many recipes. It is used in milkshakes, cakes and as a topping for ice cream, but its most popular use is in seasonal peppermint mochas and pastries. My personal hypothesis of why peppermint is relevant specifically during Christmastime is because it is usually red and white, two of the main colors that represent the holiday.

No one seems to know how peppermint bark came about. Candy canes, however, originate from over 350 years ago. European Christians began to decorate Christmas trees with sugar-stick candies and cookies. The bent shape represents a shepherd’s staff. Some people also believe that the bent shape may represent a “J” for Jesus and the red-and-white stripes symbolize Christ’s blood and purity, but there is no historical evidence that supports any of these claims.

Peppermint bark is a candy made out of chocolate and crushed peppermint candies. It is a great treat that can be added to the Christmas dessert menu, or can easily be used as a simple present for someone. There are different ways to make peppermint bark, but I prefer to make it in the simplest way possible. All you really need to do to make about 25 pieces is melt a bag of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips (or any other brand) in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water. Grind half a cup of candy canes or any type of hard peppermint candy, mix the two, pour the mixture out in a flat pan which has the bottom covered in aluminum foil, and let the mixture harden over a few hours by refrigerating it. It’s honestly that simple! You can pick up these ingredients from any grocery store.

You could also add dark chocolate or milk chocolate and create another layer. All you have to do is melt the chocolate of your choice, let it set, and then pour the mixture of melted white chocolate and crushed peppermint on top, and let that set.

Once the bark is hardened, you can break the pieces, put them in little baggies and tie bows around them, creating a simple yet eye-appealing present that tastes great. This recipe is very convenient for people who are not too good at cooking or baking and end up burning their treats. Remember that the holidays are about being creative and it’s usually “the thought that counts.” So go ahead and experiment with this recipe!