After drooling over the holiday edition of Food & Wine magazine, I had to try out some of the sweets presented in the “Presents from the Pastry Shop.” The Peppermint Buttercrunch intrigued me because it was a play on peppermint bark but with the addition of adding a toffee to the layers. Not to mention it used dark chocolate! How can anything using toffee, dark chocolate and peppermint be bad?!
One of the biggest tricks to making a recipe like this is to use the best ingredients including the peppermint. For that, it was off for a trip to the local Hammond’s candy factory where they make so many wonderful flavors of candy canes and other candies. I blogged about my holiday trip there last year, if you care to check it out!
For once, this is a recipe that I didn’t make any changes to. The toffee was perfect. I will mention: be careful when working with heating sugar because it will cause severe burns if it pops out on you or you spill it. You also want to be careful when you pour the peppermint extract into the hot mix, because I accidentally got a full facial of the peppermint steam from it and was crying for a few minutes as the mint invaded my entire system. While pleasant after it calmed down, it was a little too intense at first. I’m sure if my hubby had been here when it happen, he would have laughed his butt off at me.
I used 60% cacao for the dark chocolate and found it to be the perfect amount of dark with the toffee and peppermint but I do believe you could easily go up to about 75% before it started being a little too bitter to pair as well with the other flavors. But that is completely up to you, since we all have different taste buds.
The recipe made around 2 pounds of completed candy that I’m looking forward to sharing with family and friends over the holiday. It’s beautiful and will make awesome gifts. So well in fact, that I may be making a couple of more batches before the season is done.
Peppermint Buttercrunch from Food & Wine
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon natural peppermint extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup crushed peppermint candies
Get the directions here at Food & Wine.
More peppermint related yummies: