Have you ever used peppermint oil in a recipe? Natural peppermint oil versus peppermint extract, I mean? I think it's a little like the difference between the taste of a really good candy cane and the taste of toothpaste. If you're going to use one or the other in a chocolate-based recipe I recommend a few drops of the oil. Tiny little bottles of flavoring oils--some natural and some artificially flavored--can be found in stores that sell candy-making and cake decorating supplies. Like miniature bottles of perfume, flavored oils are measured in drams and come in all varieties. They're just about as strong as real perfume too, so you don't want to spill this stuff!
Bark can literally be made in minutes and anyone can do it. For this simple festive treat I used one bag of Ghirardelli bittersweet chips and one bag of their milk chocolate chips. I melted the two types of chips in separate bowls and gently stirred until they were each completely smooth. Then I added two or three drops of Lorann brand natural peppermint oil to each bowl and mixed that in. Next, I poured the two chocolates, in alternate spoonfuls, all over a very lightly sprayed (with the smallest amount of a vegetable spray, like Pam) flexible plastic sheet that I'd placed on a cookie sheet with sides. I quickly spread the chocolate evenly over the sheet with an offset spatula, casually swirling it together.
Before the warm chocolate had a chance to start to cool, I sprinkled it with about one cup of crushed up chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreo cookie wafers, with the white filling scraped off), then I sprinkled that with the crushed-up pieces from two or three traditional, red and white, candy canes. I gently pressed the crumbs and candy pieces into the top, just enough to make sure they were well settled into the surface of the chocolate. The whole thing, on the cookie sheet, then went into the fridge for about an hour or more. Once it was completely firm, I lifted up an edge of the plastic and bent that back to start breaking the chocolate into pieces. (If you like, you can try cutting the bark with cookie cutters while it's not completely solid, but that's not foolproof. You might get a few perfect shapes, while others break apart. They'll all still taste fantastic, in any case.)
How easy is that? So easy, I'm not even sure it has the right to call itself a recipe!
P.S. Store your bark in the fridge, in a well sealed container, so it doesn't get too warm and it's not exposed to odors from other foods.
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