Dark and white chocolate layered with the subtle salty crunch of pretzel crisps and spiked with peppermint.
This recipe was originally created for our Series of Unfortunate Recipes, based on the books and Netflix series by Lemony Snicket.
Makes one 9 inch x 13 inch pan of bark
About 3 ounces pretzel crisps (see notes if using pretzels instead)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 60% cacao
8 ounces white chocolate
About 45 peppermint candies (roughly one bag), or a similar amount candy canes
1. Line a 9 inch x 13 inch pan with aluminum foil, shiny side-up. Spread the pretzel crisps in one layer to cover the whole surface of the foil.
2. Set up a double boiler to melt the chocolate. The handiest setup for most people is a half-inch of water in a medium saucepan, with a medium bowl set on top of the pan. The bowl should rest on the edges of the pan so that it's suspended above the water. Turn the heat to medium-low to bring the water just to a simmer.
3. Break the dark chocolate into roughly even pieces and drop them into the bowl. Use a rubber or silicone spatula to stir the chocolate as it melts. If you begin to hear the water boiling under the bowl, or see steam, turn the heat down to low as you continue to stir the chocolate. The idea is to allow the chocolate to melt gently so that it doesn't seize up or burn. When the chocolate has completely melted, carefully pour it over the pretzel crisps in the pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate so that the pretzel crisps are evenly covered, except for a small amount of the edges of the crisps. Put the pan in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or the freezer for about 5-8 minutes to set the chocolate while you work.
4. Unwrap the peppermint candies and put them in a large zip-top plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to smash and crush the candies into small pieces.
4. Rinse the chocolate out of the bowl and dry it completely. (Even the smallest drop of water can cause the chocolate to seize in the next step, so be careful that the bowl is completely dry.) Repeat the double-boiler setup, this time melting the white chocolate in the bowl. Optional but nice: stir 1-2 tablespoons of the most powdery, finely-crushed peppermints into the white chocolate as it melts. This will help to infuse the peppermint flavor throughout.
5. When the white chocolate is fully melted, remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Use an offset spatula to quickly and lightly spread the white chocolate to cover the bark completely. For a nice white finished appearance, try not to allow the dark chocolate to swirl up into the white chocolate too much as you work.
6. Distribute the peppermint pieces across the top of the bark and slide the pan back into the refrigerator for about about 20 minutes to set.
7. Remove bark from the refrigerator and lift the foil with the bark on it out of the pan. Gently peel the foil away from the bark, over a cutting board. Cut the bark into shards and arrange them attractively in a serving platter.
"Pretzel crisps" are a new thing I've recently discovered (or rather, my kids recently discovered and begged my husband to bring home from the grocery store). They're a sort-of cross between pretzels and chips: pretzel flavor, flattened into a light chip.
If you can't find them, you can use regular small pretzels or pretzel sticks, and just follow the same instructions as above. The more densely-packed the pretzels in your pan, the more pretzel-y the final outcome will be, of course.