Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark

My dad buys boxes of William Sonoma Peppermint Bark every year. And every year I always tell him I can make it for much cheaper. And I never get around to doing it.

Well this year, I did it. No longer will we go broke buying Williams Sonoma bark!

williams sonoma peppermint bark recipe
The Williams Sonoma tin is so darn cute though

The key part of this recipe is tempering the chocolate. Chocolate has a crystalline structure; if you melt the chocolate and let it set randomly, it loses that structure. All chocolate you buy is tempered, which means that all those crystals are aligned.

Tempering Chocolate 101 ( from Serious Eats and David Lebovitz)
– Tempering chocolate 
   1) makes it shiny and pretty 
   2) increases the melting point
   3) causes a crisp snap when the chocolate breaks
  4) avoids blooming, when the cocoa butter rises to the surface, make it look moldy/dusty and pale, when it is no longer tempered due to heat (fat bloom) or moisture (sugar bloom). The chocolate is perfectly good, just unattractive.
– How to temper chocolate? Melt your chocolate, then add some already tempered chocolate to “seed” it, setting up the nice pattern as the melted chocolate cools down
– To avoid seizing (clumping) do not let water get into the chocolate  (oil + water = no bueno) and do not let the chocolate get too hot (this is why we chop it into small pieces)

The recipe is dependent on the quality of chocolate, and it’s better to use chocolate bars rather than chips, which have less cocoa butter so they keep their shape during baking. I used Ghiradelli’s baking white chocolate and Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate.

I had no problem with the chocolates seizing or or the white and bittwersweet layers separating when breaking into pieces, but once set the white chocolate had little darker spots since I didn’t temper it right. The Ghiradelli’s white chocolate was also much sweeter than the Williams Sonoma version, so I’ll have to keep experimenting with that.

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon peppermint oil, divided
12 oz white chocolate, chopped
5 small candycanes, crushed

Line the bottom of a cookie tray with parchment paper.

Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Put 2/3 of the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a medium glass or metal bowl and set the bowl over the simmering (not boiling) saucepan. Stir the chocolate until nearly melted. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil and the remaining pieces of chocolate until those pieces melt. Pour evenly on parchment paper. Firmly tap the dish against the counter a few times to even it out and remove any air bubbles.

Let the chocolate set at cool room temperature for about 30 minutes before topping with white chocolate.

Bring the water in the saucepan to a simmer again and repeat the same process with the white chocolate. Once melted, carefully and evenly spread the white chocolate over the bittersweet chocolate.

Sprinkle the top with the crushed peppermint (pushing any chunks that stick out).

Allow the bark to set at cool room temperature until firm. Lift the bark from parchment paper and break into pieces.

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