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Incredibly simple white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate layered bark flavored with peppermint and crushed candy canes. 

peppermint bark

I know, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. But with only 5 days left until the foodie holiday of the year, it’s absolutely time to share this peppermint bark recipe with you.

Back in high school, thanksgiving breaks were time for swim team potlucks. I swam all four years (I do NOT miss the early practices) and I loved being apart of the team. One night during the long thanksgiving break, we’d all get together for a potluck and bring some kind of dish. Someone from the team always, and I mean ALWAYS brought a tin of peppermint bark. I’d have a few pieces before grabbing my dinner. I’ve had a major crush on peppermint bark for years and it’s about time I make it at home.

Sooo just in case you’re looking to make something peppermint-y next weekend…

stack of peppermint bark pieces

I feel sort of silly sharing this recipe with you. It’s hardly a recipe at all.

This is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever thrown together. Which is incredibly dangerous because not much work is between me, you, and this extremely festive peppermint bark. Just warning you now.

You’ll need a few ingredients including white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, candy canes or peppermint hard candies, and peppermint extract. Since there are so few ingredients, it’s important use quality ingredients. Chocolate chips and white chocolate baking morsels do not live up to the real thing! Each contain stabilizers, preventing them from melting completely silky smooth. That’s why chocolate chips don’t melt into a pool of chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies. Not only that, you’ll taste the difference between high quality chocolate and a $3 bag of chocolate chips. I recommend Ghirardelli, Lindt, or Baker’s brand chocolate when making bark of any variety.

3 images of ingredients for peppermint bark including white and dark chocolate and crushed candy canes

Chop up the chocolate separately, melt them separately, and layer them on top of one another. Make sure you let the layers cool  in between layering or else you’ll wind up swirling the two chocolates together. There are three layers of chocolate; a top and bottom layer of white chocolate and a middle layer of semi-sweet. Feel free to switch them around and sandwich the white chocolate in between two semi-sweet layers.

Top with crushed candy canes. A lot of recipes for peppermint bark that I stumbled upon call for sifting the crushed candy canes to rid any of the candy cane powder. I don’t do that; I really didn’t want to dirty my sifter with candy cane bits.

After it sets, break the peppermint bark into pieces, make a complete mess, taste test, taste test again. DONE. I no longer have a hungry swim team to share this stuff with, so I passed our leftovers to my friend Molly and her fiancé the other night. She said her family gobbled it up! Not surprised.

pieces of peppermint bark

It’s not that tricky, I promise. I am just extremely thorough chatty in explaining how to melt chocolate properly.

Peppermint Bark Video Tutorial

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pieces of peppermint bark

Peppermint Bark

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 mintues
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: about 1 and 1/2 pounds 1x
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Incredibly simple white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate layered bark flavored with peppermint and crushed candy canes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 ounces (339g) high quality white chocolate, broken into pieces and divided*
  • 6 ounces (170g) high quality semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegetable, coconut, or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 3 regular size candy canes, crushed

Instructions

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch or 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles. Set aside. 
  2. You can temper the chocolate or melt the chocolate without tempering. That is up to you. I melt the chocolate for this bark recipe. If tempering the chocolate, make sure the layers are never refrigerated. Allow them to set at room temperature. There are two ways you can melt the chocolate. You can use a double boiler over just barely simmering water or you can use the microwave. The double boiler is easier, but the microwave is a little more convenient for most people, so my directions are for a microwave. If you have a double boiler, you probably know how to use it! So, the KEY to melting chocolate in the microwave is to do it in small bursts and stir frequently. Chocolate overheats so fast, so easily. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of oil with 6 ounces of the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula or spoon after each increment, until completely melted and smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl to avoid scorching. Once melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour melted white chocolate into the prepared baking pan, spreading with an offset spatula into a thin smooth layer. Place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or the freezer for about 8 minutes; or until almost completely set. If it sets completely, the bark layers could separate. 
  3. Place the semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of oil into a small heatproof bowl (or the double boiler) and microwave/stir in the same manner you did in step 2. Once melted, stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour all of the semi-sweet chocolate over the white chocolate layer. Spread into a smooth layer. Place the baking pan back in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or the freezer for about 8 minutes; or until almost completely set.
  4. Place the remaining white chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small heatproof bowl and microwave/stir in the same manner you did in step 2. Pour over the bark layers and spread into a smooth layer. (This layer will not have peppermint extract.) Sprinkle with crushed candy canes– to crush, I usually do it in a food processor or stick the candy canes in a sealed ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin until crushed.
  5. Refrigerate the bark until completely hardened. Once hardened, remove from the pan and peel off the foil or parchment. Break into pieces as large or as small as you want. Alternatively, you can cut squares. To do so, remove from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10-15 minutes. Use a very sharp knife and cut.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Store bark in the refrigerator. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. The bark can be left at room temperature for a few days in colder months, but it gets a little soft.
  2. Chocolate: See my notes in the post about which brands I prefer and why subbing chocolate chips isn’t a good idea. High quality chocolate is best.

Keywords: peppermint bark, homemade peppermint bark

peppermint bark on a gold plate

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I have tried a similar recipe through the King Arthur website, and every time I have tried to cut it, the bark separates. I used the chocolates from their website. Any suggestions as to why this would happen? I have been making the bark with one kind of chocolate as these mistakes are costly.

    1. I always experience some separation on the edges of the bark as I cut/break it, however the oil helps the layers stick for most of it.

    1. Swirling is just fine. If you swirl, perhaps do equal amounts of chocolate instead of more white chocolate like the recipe calls for.

  2. I made this Monday evening. OMG. It was perfect. I did the double-boiler method, and no offense to your microwave instructions – those just looked like, WAHT? 🙂

    The only thing that got me was, even after each layer was set, and this was after being chilled a good 15-20 minutes (I was prepping dinner in between layers), layering the next warm layer would inevitably melt the chilled layer slightly, so that it would swirl into the next layer. BUT I could quickly lighten my touch on the spatula and cover up the underlying layer.

    The result was almost identical to your images. I crushed the candy canes with a meat pounder and paper towels. Sure, you lose a few to the paper towel but I got CRUSHED CANDY CANE fairly easily.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS. I am so glad I stumbled upon your recipe. I will be making your Butter Pecan cookies tonight. 🙂

  3. Hi Sally,
    I plan on making this recipe as Christmas goodies for colleagues at work. Out of the canola, coconut or vegetable oil, do you have a preference? Does one work better than the other or provide better flavor? Thank you!

    1. I find the canola oil to be the best. There’s so little oil in the chocolate that it truly does not make a huge difference though!

  4. Another winning recipe, Sally! I’ve tried numerous bark recipes over the years and feel like I’ve finally found one that I’ll return to every year, thank you!

  5. Looking forward to trying this recipe but was wondering on the size of the candy canes that should be used? The mini’s or the regular size?

  6. Oh my gosh I made this today and it is so good! My only regret is that it’s for Christmas Eve, so the little taste test I had today when breaking the bark up is all I get 🙁 

    Reading the comments, I thought the bark was going to separate or that this recipe wouldn’t work so well, but I was wrong! It came out perfectly, almost exactly like the photos (except I didn’t cut the bark neatly, just broke it up with a butter knife)!

  7. Hi Sally,
    Any tips or advice on using peppermint oil vs. peppermint extract?  I’ve never used oil in baking but I’m looking for a really good punch of peppermint in my bark, and possibly hot chocolate mix.  Just curious if you’ve tried it and how much I should use in this recipe if I substitute it. 
    Thanks!  
    P.S. I made your Vanilla cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream frosting for my kiddo’s 5th birthday. The kids gobbled them up, no surprise, but the parents RAVED about them. (Kid birthday parties can be painful when it comes to the cupcakes-at least for me.) Yes, separating and beating egg whites, room temp ingredients.  All those little details made ALL the difference.  WOW! Thank you!!

    1. Thanks Erin! I’m so glad everyone loved those cupcakes!

      I don’t use peppermint oil much since extract is just so easy to get my hands on right at the store. (I have trouble finding oil!) It’s MUCH more potent than already-strong peppermint extract. I read that you need to use half or 1/3 the amount of oil.

  8. I love peppermint bark and I’m excited to try this out. I wanted to make this for my colleagues at work but I had a question on what chocolate to use. I read what you wrote about what chocolate to use but I’m still a little confused. When at the store they had Ghirardelli baking chocolate but I wasn’t sure if I should use that or regular chocolate. They don’t have bitter sweet regular chocolate though. What should I use?

  9. Peppermint bark- what is the peppermint extract and oil for?  I’m guessing the oil is for the pan.  But do we add extract to both chocolates?

    1. I don’t recommend chocolate chips for bark. You’ll notice the taste difference and they do not melt down to the paper consistency like pure chocolate does. If you try it, you’d still need the oil yes.

  10. Hi! I made some of this last night and the flavor is good, but the texture is off – almost gritty, particularly the middle dark chocolate layer. I used high quality chocolate, so I’m not sure what happened. I did notice that the texture of the chocolate changed a bit as I was stirring in the peppermint extract – could that be the issue? Thanks, I love your site! Merry Christmas!

  11. What do you think about making this with the Ghiradelli White and Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers? I know they aren’t quite true chocolate but they melt so easily! Thanks.

  12. I bought Ghirardelli premium baking bars… are these the right bars?? Or do you use regular candy bars? Please help !!!

    1. You can try, though I strongly recommend using peppermint extract. If using creme de menthe, you’ll need 3x the amount for the same flavor in each layer.

  13. If I want to give them as a gift. how do you suggest we wrap them and how long will they hold (will they hold?) before they melt?

    1. Hi Anna! Unless this bark is sitting in the direct sunlight, it won’t melt. You can stack some pieces together and place in individual treat bags (such as cellophane bags) and tie the top with a festive ribbon. Craft stores will have plenty of fun options.

  14. I was wondering if I would be able to use a small sheet/cookie pan to make these, instead of the square 9×9/8×8? I’ve made the Boo Bark and the mint chocolate swirl and used the small sheet, and they were fine. Didn’t know if it would make the layers too thin.
    Thanks for all your great recipes and tips.

  15. It looks delicious…however after letting the middle layer sit for 15 min…once I applied last white chocolate layer…it seemed to “swirl” and not be completely white on top…sigh…..should I have let the white chocolate cool before layer on top? It will still be yummy….but a little bummed….

  16. Is there a reason why there are 3 layers of chocolate? Could you just do one layer of semi-sweet and a top layer of white chocolate?

  17. I was hoping to make this but the store was all out of peppermint extract. Any ideas for a substitute? Or could it be made without it?

    1. Hi Esha, You can leave out the peppermint extract for just plain chocolate bark and then have the peppermint flavor just come from the candy garnish on top. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Kristin, I’m unsure of the exact measurement but just sprinkle them on top until you are happy with how they look. There is really no wrong amount here 🙂

  18. I was wondering if i can temper the chocolate, so i don’t lose the snap. Let me know, please. I already started prepping for Christmas, as it is never too early :))

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ioana, yes, you can temper the chocolate if desired — see step 2 for more details. Enjoy!

  19. I used the defrost setting on my microwave which is 1/2 the temperature Of high to avoid burning the chocolate. It turned out great. It will take a little longer but worth it.

  20. I used Guittard 63% and Ghiradelli white chocolate, both morsels. Does higher quality chocolate like those have stabilizers?
    I made a double batch and tempered both chocolates. Obviously I used a pan that was too small because it came out pretty thick and I also only did two layers instead of three. The issue is when I went to break it up the layers broke apart on me. Is this because of the morsels, the thickness, the temper do you think or because I did it straight out of the fridge?

    1. Hi David, You can temper the chocolate but if tempering, make sure the layers are never refrigerated. See step 2 of the recipe instructions. We always experience some separation on the edges of the bark as we cut/break it, however the oil helps the layers stick for most of it. If your layers are separating you can let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes so it’s a bit softer to cut. This should help for next time!

  21. Hey, Sally! Do you have any tips on melting the chocolate? I already checked your “Baking with Chocolate” section, but it says that you didn’t put anything in about melting or tempering chocolate. In a different recipe that included melting chocolate, it didn’t turn out so great, so would you have any tips? And if I melt the chocolate in 15 second increments, how long would you suggest the total melting time be? I’m going to be making this in a few days and want to figure this out ahead of time so I don’t kill the chocolate. Sorry if this is too confusing! 😉

    1. Hi Avery! A few tips…first, make sure you are using quality chocolate bars. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers that make it very hard to melt smoothly. Also, feel free to decrease the time increments, as each microwave can be different. Be sure to stir thoroughly and continue heating until it’s nice and smooth. This total time will vary by microwave. Be sure to also melt the vegetable, coconut, or canola oil with the chocolate. Hope these tips help and let us know how the bark turns out for you!

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