Christmas candy, holiday candy, candy canes, peppermint chocolate
- 24 large candy canes
- 12 oz dark chocolate candy coating
- 12 oz white candy coating
- 1 1/2 cups miniature candy canes
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (120 C), and line two baking sheets with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, or silicone liners.
Unwrap the candy canes. It's okay if some of them break during this process, because they can be fused back together—just place the broken pieces next to each other as if they had not broken. Arrange the candy canes on the baking sheet in pairs, with 2 candy canes facing each other like a heart shape.
Bake the candy canes in the 250 F oven for 5-8 minutes, checking them after every few minutes. They will gradually soften as they heat up, and the trick is to soften them enough so that you can bend and shape them, but not to let them get so warm that they start to melt and get misshapen. The exact time will vary depending on your canes and your oven, so keep a close eye on them.
Remove the trays from the oven. Work carefully, because the canes will be warm, and gently form them into a heart shape. Firmly press the points of the heart together, where the two candy canes join, to fuse them together. Set it aside to cool as you move on to another warm candy cane. Leave the candy canes on the warm baking sheet until you are ready to use them, since they get hard fairly quickly once they cool down.
If at any point the candy canes get too cool and become too difficult to shape, return them to the oven to soften for a few additional minutes. Once all of the hearts are formed, let them cool completely at room temperature before proceeding.
Unwrap the mini candy canes and place them in a large plastic zip-top bag. Crush the candy canes with a rolling pin or meat mallet until they are in small pieces.
Melt both candy coatings in separate microwave-safe bowls, heating them in short bursts and stirring frequently to prevent overheating. To make single-flavor peppermint bark, spoon white or dark chocolate into the center of a candy cane heart and smooth it into an even layer. Top the bark with a generous sprinkle of candy cane pieces while the chocolate is still wet.
To make swirled bark, drop alternating spoonfuls of white and dark chocolate coating inside the candy cane heart. Drag a toothpick through the chocolates to create a swirled pattern, and top the swirls with crushed candy canes. Repeat until all of the hearts have peppermint bark inside.
Refrigerate the trays to set the coating completely. Once set, you can serve the candy cane hearts or package them to give as gifts. The candy canes will become soft and sticky as they are exposed to moisture or humidity, so it is best to package them in individual bags and store them in an airtight container if you're making them in advance. They will keep for up to a month.