This classic peppermint bark candy makes a great homemade gift for the holidays

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Homemade holiday candy doesn’t get much easier than peppermint bark. It’s perfect to have on hand for guests, last-minute gatherings, or just to nibble on. Crushed peppermints or candy cane add festive cheer to the creamy, rich chocolate base. This recipe uses 2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, 2 pounds peppermint candy, and 1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening to create a whopping 4 pounds of homemade bark. The chocolate bark comfortably covers a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet, so there will be plenty to share.

Start by chopping the chocolate while bringing water to simmer in a 3-4 quart pan. Put the chocolate inside of a heat proof bowl that sits inside the pan without touching the water. The chocolate should be gently melted for best results. If it gets too hot, the chocolate may not set properly and will have white streaks on the surface once cooled and stored. Continuously stir the chocolate in your double boiler over hot, not boiling or simmering, water to help it maintain a low, even temperature for a glossy finish.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place 1 ¼ cups of the crushed peppermint into a fine strainer. Knock the side of the strainer to sift the fine peppermint dust into the chocolate. Next stir the remaining, unstrained crushed peppermint into the chocolate. Spread the chocolate out evenly on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle the last of the peppermint candy on top of the bark and gently press it into the chocolate so it sticks.

Let the bark cool and harden at room temperature for 4-6 hours or overnight. While we prefer the texture of the bark best when it slowly sets at room temperature, you can also put it in the refrigerator if you need to speed things up. Store your bark in a cool place in an airtight container for up to a month.

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