November 30, 2012

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude: I'm Melting!

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly(ish) feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I am not an expert, but I do enjoy talking about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food.  Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

Recipe Index can be found here. 

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was hoping to make peppermint bark this year.  In 2005, at Average Jane's annual cookie exchange, she broke out a container of peppermint bark made by her step-mom Jerry.   I don't think I had ever had peppermint bark before or perhaps, it was because I had never had amazingly AWESOME peppermint bark before.  It was a perfect mix of regular chocolate and white chocolate....a hint of creamy....the tiniest bit crunchy......with just the right amount of peppermint, without it being cloying,.  Whatever the case may be, I never, ever forgot that peppermint bark and when I asked Celeste for the recipe the following year, she dutifully shared.  She also casually made an off-hand comment that Williams-Sonoma made something similar in quality.

Enter the next few years......  yes, I have bought Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark and yes, it is awesome but at $26.75 a POUND, I felt like such a righteous ass spending such money on it. I don't even pay that much for my preciously stinky cheese.   This year, I am no longer in the mood to fork over the greens (Sidenote: If you have not seen the Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog, get thee over there, STAT.  Seriously, why are you still here, reading MY drivel?)

You're still here?   Anyway!  All of these years, I have been frightened by Jerry's peppermint bark recipe. It smacks of baking and I envision an Armageddon of chocolate running in rivers throughout my kitchen, taking children and pets as hostages in its wake.    Gentle Reader, THIS is one of the many, many reasons why I am not a serious food blogger.  I am intimidated by MELTED CHOCOLATE.  However, I am determined I can conquer my molten confectionery nightmares.

THIS year, I am melting some goddamned chocolate.

Jerry's AMAZING Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark

17 oz. good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 oz.)

7 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9 inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110 degrees Fahrenheit (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate chocolate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Refrigerate just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

*Jerry says to make sure each layer is as thin as possible for best results.

Note: I will update this post with pictures and/or other notes.  Hopefully, the pictures will not involve a crime scene.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Melted chocolate is one of the few things to fear in the kitchen. I consider myself to be a decent baker and cook, but I've had more Fails! with melted chocolate than any other medium. I wish you the best, and that peppermint bark recipe looks great. I only wish my family liked minty chocolate.