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What Exactly Is Peppermint Bark?

Peppermint bark and candy canes
Peppermint bark and candy canes - Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock

If you're looking for an easy dessert for your holiday party, peppermint bark may be the solution. The name of the festive dessert comes from its appearance. The texture of the top layer seems to resemble the rough bark of a tree after the melted chocolate cools down.

The dessert is typically made from layers of two types of chocolate — one milk or dark, the other white — sprinkled with crushed-up candy canes. The dessert is then broken up into individual servings. These don't need to be uniform or evenly sized — only big enough for someone to enjoy a single piece.

If the chocolate is still being spread around the tray as it cools, you may not be able to achieve a perfectly smooth texture. There may be some slight ridges, peaks, or lines visible throughout. Fortunately, this is part of the dessert's charm, and an essential part of why it earned its name.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

How To Enhance The Flavor Of Peppermint Bark

Pieces of peppermint bark
Pieces of peppermint bark - Jmcanally/Shutterstock

Although the basic recipe is pretty simple, there are a few ways to enhance the dessert. One way to improve the flavor of your peppermint bark is to up the minty flavor. While you may be most familiar with vanilla extract, baking aisles also have other flavors available for purchase. A bit of peppermint extract can be mixed into your melted chocolate before pouring it on the baking sheet. This will ensure that the minty flavor is prevalent throughout every layer of the dessert, not just the topping.

You can also alter the color of your white chocolate to fit the festive theme. If you're whipping up a batch of peppermint bark for a Christmas party, try adding some green food coloring to the melted white chocolate. The color will contrast the white and red stripes of the crushed candy canes, allowing the topping to stand out a little more. Just be sure to avoid water-based food colorings to prevent the chocolate from seizing.

Use Peppermint Bark With Other Desserts

Cupcakes with peppermint bark
Cupcakes with peppermint bark - oanadanila04/Shutterstock

Of course, peppermint bark can always be enjoyed on its own. But if you wind up with a lot of tiny pieces once your bark is broken up, there are many ways to use it as décor in another recipe. If you're serving up some frosted chocolate cupcakes, a sprinkling of peppermint bark pieces on top of the buttercream frosting can add a fresh, minty contrast to the ultra-rich chocolate flavor of the dessert.

While there are plenty of ways to mix up the best hot chocolate, sprinkling some extra sweets on top can add a fun, crunchy texture. Once your warm drink is in the mug and the whipped cream has been added on top, sprinkle on bits of peppermint bark. You can also add the sweet to your morning coffee for a minty start to the day.

When you want an easy, festive dessert to take to the holiday party, mix up a batch of peppermint bark.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.