One of my husband’s favorite candies are Andes mints. They typically run a close second to peanut butter cups but during the holidays, they take the top position. When we were hammering out the details of our Christmas gift baskets, we came up with a super easy way to incorporate Andes mints with Grasshopper Chocolate Bark: a minty green (white) chocolate layer, a semisweet chocolate layer, and chopped Andes mints.
The beauty of chocolate bark is that the flavor combinations are limited only by your imagination. Or your pantry. It’s super easy to put together: you chop chocolate (the time-consuming part), melt it, pour it into a pan, and then let it cool. And thanks to that overpriced shiny kitchen store in the mall, people can’t get enough of it at Christmas time.
A couple of notes on working with white chocolate: “Real” white chocolate is finicky. It doesn’t melt like regular chocolate – it’s delicate and can easily be overheated or seize. And considering how pricey it is, that’s a problem. If you’re going to use a pricey white chocolate, be sure to heat it gently and slowly in a double boiler (or a glass bowl set over a simmering pot of water, ensuring no water gets into the bowl). Mint extract and food coloring (I use Americolor gel paste) contain some water and can cause the white chocolate to seize – but it always smooths out for me after adding a little more vegetable oil. If you’re really worried about it, you can always omit it or add the mint extract to the darker chocolate layer. My favorite brand is Peter’s – I get it in 10 lb bars from a bakery supply. And if you’re wondering, yes, I used the entire 10 lb bar this Christmas
And then there’s white baking bars or melting chips (this is not candy coating or almond bark). This isn’t white chocolate but it has a similar buttery, sweet taste. And it melts much more reliably. If you’re melting down a few bags of baking chips or chopped baking bars, you shouldn’t have any issues at all. I’ve melted down Ghiradelli, Bakers, and even Nestle white baking chips before with great results.
Grasshopper Chocolate Bark
A minty chocolate bark made with white chocolate and Andes mints.
- 1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chunks)
- 1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) white chocolate, chopped (or white baking chips)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil or shortening, divided
- 1 tsp mint extract (optional)
- Green food coloring
- 5 oz package of Andes mints, unwrapped and roughly chopped
- Line the bottom of a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Melt white chocolate or white baking chips in the microwave or a bowl set over simmering water (see tips above).
- Add food coloring, mint extract, and then 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, stirring just until smooth and uniformly green.
- Pour the green chocolate into the baking sheet and spread it evenly almost to the edge of wax paper.
- Lift the pan a few inches above the countertop and let it fall back onto the counter. Repeat a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
- Let cool for ~10 minutes in the fridge.
- Melt remaining chocolate in the microwave.
- Stir in the vegetable oil.
- Pour over the green mint layer and spread it evenly, almost to the edge of the green layer.
- Drop the pan onto the countertop to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Sprinkle the chopped mints over top and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
- Cut or break into pieces.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place. I loosely wrapped several pieces in wax paper before gifting.
Yields: 24 pieces
Estimated time: 1 hour