Last Minute Gift: Homemade Peppermint Bark
As much as I try to pretend it’s not true, it’s go time: Christmas is coming, ready or not. Fortunately, I have a large number of people I want to express my kind feelings for, which is super Christmas-y, so today I put together this quick and easy gift for them.
I love peppermint bark; it’s one of my favorite holiday gifts to give and to get. If I only had two or three people I wanted to express my kind feelings for, I’d order the fancy option from Williams-Sonoma. But I have kind feelings for way too many people to go that (very pricey) route. Instead I created my own and spent just under $30 to make 12 gifts. And! The kids helped! So everyone was a winner.
Festive Holiday Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark is fairly simple to make, which means it’s an ideal last-minute holiday gift. I use this easy recipe, although I like mine layered with milk chocolate and white chocolate, so I add an extra layer. I also use candy melts, instead of chocolate chips, for ease.
The process is pretty straightforward: Melt the milk chocolate, spread it in a shallow pan lined with wax paper, and pop it in the freezer. When that’s solid, melt the white chocolate and then layer it on top.
I took care of melting the chocolate and put my kids in charge of smashing the peppermint sticks. This is the perfect job for kids — just put the candy in three or four layers of freezer bags and give your kids a little mallet or hammer and let them have at it. I know the multiple freezer bags part sounds dramatic but trust me — I still wind up with a little peppermint dust on my counters.
You can mix the smashed candy into the layers of chocolate or just sprinkle it on top of the second layer. That’s what I do.
I decided to drizzle some milk chocolate on top of my bark because I think it looks nicer. Put the whole thing back in the freezer for another 15 minutes or so, until it’s solid.
You’ll need your mallet again here, to break the bark up. Layer another piece of wax paper over the top and have your kids (GENTLY) bang on the bark. They just want to crack it, not pulverize it.
And you’re done! Now it’s time to wrap it all up.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Sometimes I think my favorite part of a gift is the packaging. For these gifts, I bought some small white gift boxes and parchment sheets to line them. I also picked up some simple labels and some bakers twine for decorations, although you could use gift tags or grosgrain ribbon instead — whatever appeals to you. Pile the bark into the box, wrap it up nicely and write a greeting on the label. And you’re done!
Mine say Merry Christmas from the Summers but you can write whatever politically correct greeting you’d like on top. Also you don’t have to make yours from the Summers although I guess you’re welcome to, if you want.
This project took me about two hours, not including time waiting for the bark to set up in the freezer. The part that took the longest was putting the (stupid) boxes together — their assembly is far more complicated than it needs to be. If you have older kids, put them in charge of that, if only to keep yourself from losing your mind this close to Christmas.
So I have those gifts done, which makes me feel better about the fact that I still have to run out to the store for some last minute purchases.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!