Peppermint Bark Brownies
1 cup chopped peppermint bark, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Line the dish with a piece of parchment paper that extends up beyond the edge of the pan on the 2 wide sides of the dish and lightly grease the parchment. The paper will serve as handles when you are ready to remove the brownies from the pan.
In the top of a double boiler or in a microwave, melt the chocolate and butter until completely smooth. Add the sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla and stir to blend. Stir in the peppermint bark and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center just comes out clean - it's ok if there are a couple of small fudgy crumbs adhering to the toothpick. It's better to undercook these slightly than overcook them - these brownies are meant to be fudgy.
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Using your hands, lift up firmly on the parchment paper pieces and transfer to a flat surface. (If the paper is stubborn, run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, or loosen the brownies slightly with the help of an offset spatula.) Cut the brownies into 2 1/2-inch squares and serve at room temperature.
12 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
24 hard peppermint candies
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat or in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate.
Place the peppermints in a resealable food storage bag and, using a rolling pin, tap the candies to break into small pieces. Place the crushed candies into a strainer with medium holes and shake over another bowl - only the very large pieces should remain in the strainer. Add the melted chocolate to the small pieces and stir to combine.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and pour the chocolate-candy mixture onto the paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread smooth to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Press the large peppermint pieces onto the top of the mixture and transfer to a refrigerator to firm.
When firm, break the bark into bite-size pieces and place in an attractive serving bowl or package in airtight containers to give as gifts. Serve at room temperature.
This is best refrigerated if kept for any length of time.