by | Sep 15, 2021 | Holidays, Z

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2021 @ 4:38 pm.

What is peppermint bark? This delicious treat combining peppermint candy and chocolate spurred us to set up a blind taste test of six brands of bark to find the best available. Here are the winners.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


A Brief History of Peppermint Bark & a Recipe for Peppermint Bark Brownies

Peppermint bark candy, that chocolate confection that combines peppermint candy and layers of dark and white chocolate, has its roots in France. 

All the way back in the Middle Ages, French bakers made “mendiants,” confections with traditional toppings that reflected four Roman Catholic mendicant monastic orders (and the colors of their robes): the Augustinians (dried figs, purple), Franciscans (raisins, gray) Dominicans (almonds, white) and Carmelites (hazelnuts, brown).

Mendiant roughly translates into “beggars of alms,” referring to monks to who took a vow of poverty in order to preach. Mediants were symbolic of coins or small amounts of food given to the monks. 

In the United States, mendiants morphed into peppermint candy bark—the concept is the same, with a twist: a layer each of chocolate and white chocolate is sprinkled with peppermint candy. 

In the 1960’s, a St. Petersburg, FL department store is credited with selling the first commercial peppermint bark. The Maas Brothers stores sold pretzel or peppermint bark described as “delicious, zippy snappy peppermints in a creamy butter-cocoa cover.”

Chocolate Brownies with Peppermint Bark Recipe

Peppermint bark is great to eat all by itself, but you can also use it in recipes . . . like this one from Ghirardelli for Chocolate Brownies with Peppermint Bark:

Servings: 18 squares

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares chocolates, chopped into large chunks (for the brownies)
18 Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares chocolates, broken in to large chunks (about 8 pieces per square) (for the finishing)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil and grease with pan spray.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a gentle simmer.
  4. Put the 60% Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over (but not touching) the simmering water.
  5. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the better is melted and both ingredients are completely combined.
  6. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the warm water.
  7. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  8. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla.
  9. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk together gently.
  10. With a spatula, fold in the flour. Immediately pour ½ the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly.
  11. Next, sprinkle the chopped peppermint bark over the batter and then pour the remaining batter over this. Spread evenly.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The center should be fudge-like but not dry.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Place Peppermint Bark chunks on top of warm brownies and allow them to soften for 1 minute.
  15. Using a spatula, gently swirl the melting Peppermint Bark to create swirls of melted chocolate.
  16. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  17. Trim the 4 edges of the brownies by 1/4 inch. Cut into 18 squares.

Recipe and photo credit: Ghirardelli

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Best Squares

Excellent for baking
Loved the flavor and texture of these individually wrapped candies—great as a gift or use in a cookie or brownie recipe. FYI: this bag has both regular and dark chocolate bars.

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Best Gift Idea

Layers of yummy white and dark chocolate
The thickness of this peppermint bark is the star here. We loved the keepsake tin and overall taste. Traditionalists appreciate the more bark-like design of these candies making them a great party treat.

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Best Dark Chocolate

Great stirred into hot coffee
Dark chocolate fans among our readers loved these candies best—and we agree: the contrast between the cool peppermint candy and the rich dark chocolate was delicious. Bonus: they are individually wrapped.

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We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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