Peppermint and Chocolate: A Combination Mint to Be
With the holiday season in full swing, you may notice that peppermint becomes a key ingredient in many recipes. It’s used in cakes, as a topping for ice cream, and it can even be added to your favorite seasonal coffee drinks, cookies and candies. Candy canes and peppermint are holiday staples, and what better way to enjoy the season than to combine this seasonal flavor with some rich, smooth chocolate. That’s right, Day 3 of our 12 Days of Christmas desserts ideas is all about Peppermint Bark!
Peppermint bark is probably one of the simplest holiday desserts with only four ingredients. And it’s so easy to make, even the humblest of bakers can create the perfect combination of white and milk/dark chocolate, peppermint candies and peppermint flavoring! Melt chocolate. Spread flat. Add candy. Cool, and break into pieces. That’s all there is to it!
One of the great things about bark besides how easy it is to make, is how perfectly imperfect it is. The chocolate is broken haphazardly into shards, making each piece individual but equally delicious. There’s no concrete reason we can it “bark”, other than when the sheets of chocolate are broken up, the pieces can resemble rough tree bark.
It’s also the perfect gift for everyone on your list; even the pickiest of people can’t say no to a tin of peppermint and chocolate. Going to a holiday party this year, but don’t want to show up empty handed? Give the hosts some peppermint bark! Have a Secret Santa gift exchange coming up but don’t know what to get them? Peppermint bark is the answer!
While bark has no official history, peppermint is one of the oldest flavorings used in food preparation. While the term “peppermint” did not become widespread use until 1696, the first recorded mention occurred in Egypt around 1500 BC, where it was used to treat upset stomachs. Peppermint was later brought to Europe in the 13th century. According to folklore, in 1670, a German choirmaster wished to keep the children in his church quiet and asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. In order to justify giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. From Germany, candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during Nativity plays. As such, the candy cane became associated with Christmastime. The candy cane was first introduced to America in 1847 by a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard.
As the unofficial candy of the holidays, here are a few Candy Cane Facts:
- National Candy Cane Day is December 26th!
- Each year about 1.76 billion candy canes are made and 90% of candy canes are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- The world longest candy cane was created in 2012 by a Geneva pastry chef and it was 51 feet long!
To make your own peppermint bark, try out this recipe.
Find Peppermint Bark at one of these WBA member bakeries:
Jen’s Sweet Treats
4745 S. Packard Ave.
Cudahy, WI 53110
Phone: (414) 940-0725
907 Milwaukee Ave.
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Phone: (414) 940-0532