Peppermint Bark S’mores for Festive Holiday Entertaining!

Happy Holidays! Tis the season for office soirées, family celebrations, neighborhood gatherings… basically, parties galore. In our first December post, we feature a fun and simple twist on a summer favorite that will be a big hit at any holiday event you attend: Peppermint Bark S’mores! Really fun, really fast, and really eye-catching, these confections are filled with great peppermint flavor, synonymous with the Holiday Season.  Broken down into three parts, these s’mores are one-part chocolate wafer cookie, one-part store-bought peppermint bark, and one-part marshmallow.  We decided to have fun with colors, and made two versions (one with toasted marshmallow, one with red-colored marshmallow) and the results are great!  One has beautiful caramelized, toasted stripes, and one has glossy, red and white streaked patterns.  We originally planned to top each s’more with an additional chocolate wafer, however after we piped the marshmallow on the peppermint bark, the look of a glistening marshmallow peak was enough to take some of the s’mores into “open face” territory!  Don’t you agree?  Please enjoy the notes, and photo gallery, we’ve compiled which feature thoughts on the recipes and s’mores preparation, as well the detailed recipes.   Have fun making this seasonal (and perhaps unexpected) treat for your next party.  One thing’s for sure, all your friends will ask you how you made it!

Notes on the Recipes and Preparation

Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

We used thin, store-bought chocolate wafer cookies in place of the traditional graham-crackers found in the original s’mores preparation.  You could also use chocolate graham crackers (an excellent choice) OR if you wanted to take this to the next level, follow a recipe like this. Homemade is always best if you have the time, and if you’ve never made graham crackers, they’re really great!

Peppermint Bark:

We used a peppermint bark that is exceptional in flavor and quality, from Williams-Sonoma.  I admit that I’m biased (I do work for Williams-Sonoma) but seriously, this is the best peppermint bark there is.  If you have another favorite, of course use it!  Available at retailers seasonally, peppermint bark is a product that generally features a slab of chocolate flavored with peppermint extract and studded with peppermint candy pieces.  Whatever bark you use, make sure it is quality!

Marshmallow:

The “marshmallow” used here is actually a sophisticated Swiss Meringue, requiring a small and quick bit of effort that is well worth your time.  We photographed the process for you.  The results of properly combining egg whites, sugar, and vanilla with heat and aeration are sublime, and will provide you with a product that will easily transform many desserts, from layer cakes to flavored cookies.  We used vanilla to flavor our meringue, however if you wanted to add extra peppermint flavor, feel free to substitute peppermint extract for vanilla.  Our “marshmallow” topping may be technically meringue, however the ONLY difference between meringue and marshmallows is gelatin, which isn’t necessary in this application (and also makes this confection more friendly for your vegetarian guests).

Peppermint Bark S’mores Recipe

Makes enough for 12 servings

Ingredients

24 store bought chocolate wafers, preferably thin (or use home-made chocolate graham crackers!)

16 ounces top quality peppermint bark

1 recipe Marshmallow Frosting (see below)

Directions

Place 12 chocolate wafer cookies, face down, on a work surface.  Place a generous portion of peppermint bark on top of each wafer.  Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (we recommend Ateco No. 827), pipe marshmallow frosting onto the bark in generous portions.  If you want to create a red-striped marshmallow, paint the pastry bag with 2 to 4 thin stripes of red gel food coloring (a little bit goes a long way).  Toast marshmallow using a kitchen torch (or welding torch) to golden brown.  Top with an additional chocolate wafer.  Serve, or cover and place in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day.  These desserts are best eaten right away.

Marshmallow Frosting Recipe

Makes enough for 12 to 16 S’mores

Ingredients

8 large egg whites

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla (or peppermint) extract

Directions

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla or peppermint extract, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Have a look at some photos we took of the whole process…

We hope you have fun with this easy to assemble holiday treat.  While it looks impressive, it is simple to create and comes together in very little time.  We look forward to sending additional holiday posts your way this month and hope that you take the time to share what motivates your culinary creativity this season.

Happy cooking!

– Jonathan Dye

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