Chocolate Peppermint Bars
A little-known fact: Creamy chocolate-covered peppermint patties are not hard to make at home. Here, the minty filling and chocolate coating are layered onto a cocoa-imbued shortbread base, which adds a cookie crunch to each bite. These keep well, so you can make them a week ahead; store airtight at room temperature. They also freeze well. The coconut oil makes the chocolate coating slightly shinier and a little more brittle in a good way, so use it if you have it. But if you don't have it on hand, you can omit it.
- Serves: 36 persons
- 1cup/125 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- 2tablespoons/15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼teaspoon kosher salt
- 8tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 ¼cups/405 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 3tablespoons/43 grams unsalted butter, softened
- ¼cup/60 milliliters heavy cream
- 2 ¼teaspoons/10 milliliters peppermint extract, or to taste
- 9ounces/255 grams bittersweet chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa solids), chopped
- ½teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Step 1Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over the sides.
Step 2Make the shortbread: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add butter and process until a smooth dough forms. Press dough evenly into the bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake until firm to the touch, and sides of the crust are beginning to pull away from the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Step 3Make the filling: In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine confectioners' sugar, butter, cream and peppermint extract. Beat until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste. Press filling evenly over shortbread. Chill to set the filling for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Step 4Use parchment paper overhang to lift the shortbread and peppermint out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares (there should be 36 squares). Place squares on a rack placed over a parchment-lined sheet tray, and let them come to room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Step 5In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt 7 ounces chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 ounces chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
Step 6Add coconut oil, if using, and stir the chocolate until smooth. Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate on top of a cut peppermint square, using the back of the spoon to spread chocolate to the edges. Be sure to fully cover the top of the square with chocolate. (Leave the sides exposed, though it's O.K. if some of the chocolate drips down.) Repeat with remaining squares.
Step 7Let squares sit at room temperature until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.