So mint bark is awesome. It’s easy to make plus significantly cheaper then buying it at some fancy chocolate shop. And, if you have slow friends, you can convince them that you chopped down a mint tree, harvesting it’s delicious bark just so they could have an extra special gift. On a related note, it goes over much better as a gift then pretty much any other kind of bark! Unless your friends are termites, that is. Or have bizarre fetishes (we’ll save that one for another post).
Most mint bark that I’ve seen, in recipe form as well as pre-made form, is either a peppermint version or a cookie version. The peppermint version typically contains crushed up candy canes, and the cookie version typically contains crushed up oreos. Being the greedy person I am, I demanded mint bark with both!
So I hit up the local Target for some key ingredients. I already had the hammer, and believe me that is a very important tool for making mint bark! The candy canes, I totally bought last year at an after-Christmas sale, saving me a whopping $.50 (it all adds up, really!).
First things first, you stuff a bunch of cookies (I used about 1/2 the package) in a large ziplock bag (I used a freezer bag), grab that hammer, and whack away!
Next comes the melting of the chocolate. Get a cookie pan and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Dump the entire bag of brown chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl, and zap for a minute. Stir, zap for 10 seconds, and repeat those two steps until it’s properly melty. Then, spread all over the parchment paper. Once more or less even, sprinkle the cookie crumbs on top, and stick in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
I may have used too many cookies. As it was, I still had crushed bits left over, which I stuck in a bag to use as future ice cream topping.
I decided to use 4 candy canes, which was more or less arbitrary. I didn’t want to have too much crushed candy cane, just because there is most definitely such a thing as too much mint! Well, for my taste buds, at least. Plus, four candy canes is just enough to make two Smashing Pumpkins heart logos! Anyhow, that thing that happened earlier with the hammer and the cookies? Happens again with the hammer and the candy canes. Hulk Smash Candy!
So next, you do the same thing with the white chocolate that you did with the brown chocolate earlier. Microwave 1 minute, stir, zap again for 10 seconds, repeat last 2 steps until gooey. Then, dump on top of the first layer and spread as best you can without dislodging too many cookie pieces. Then, sprinkle the candy cane on top. Yum!
I still had candy cane pieces left, which I dumped into the bag of cookie pieces. In theory, those really were meant to be an ice cream topping. And had it all not disappeared into my gaping maw within the next 24 hours, I’m sure it would have been a delicious ice cream topping indeed. I am at the mercy of my taste buds and stomach, I’m afraid. Also, those red sprinkles in the picture of all the ingredients? Totally didn’t happen. There were way too many toppings as it was!
Anyhow, the proper process here would be to let the mint bark completely air dry, then break it up into pieces. However…my mint bark was flaccid.
Specifically, the brown (or semi-sweet) chocolate was flaccid. The mint bark was perfect after sitting in the freezer for a bit, but at room temperate, that chocolate wanted nothing more then to bend and flex whenever I poked it. This is in stark contrast to the white chocolate, which was being appropriately rigid. As I had no intention of running out and hunting down Viagra for chocolate, I had to break the bark up into pieces by refrigerating it first. I put the bark into a few tins for present purposes, and I can only hope that they don’t meld into tin-shaped bark entities before Christmas day.
(Not even photoshop could save the lighting on this poor photo. Note to self: get a better flash for the camera!)
The weird thing is, I made mint bark last year, also using chocolate chips (and the same method of melting the chocolate, for that matter), and I didn’t have a problem with flaccid bark. I don’t think I’ve used Target brand chocolate chips before though, maybe that’s the problem? I suppose the only answer is to buy a bunch of different brands of chocolate chips and experiment by making a metric ton of mint bark. My stomach is very excited by this solution.