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Homemade peppermint bark for Valentine's Day.
The Daily Meal's editors, contributors, and readers dig into some pretty great restaurants, festivals, and meals. There's not always enough time to give a full review of a restaurant or describe in depth why a place, its food, and the people who prepare it are noteworthy, so Snackshot of the Day does what photographs do best, rely on the image to do most of the talking.
Today's Snackshot is of peppermint bark. To celebrate Valentine's Day, my mom sent me a care package of peppermint bark. This treat, all the way from Ohio, is made of white chocolate, peppermint, and Rice Krispies. Some women get flowers or chocolates from their man, but I'll take my mom's peppermint bark any day. A box of this, a bottle of wine, and a 42-inch flat-screen is all I need. Actually, that just sounds like any other Thursday night.
Read more about The Daily Meal's Snackshot feature. To submit a photo, email jbruce[at]thedailymeal.com, subject: "Snackshots."
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Peppermint Bark Recipe - Print
Treats like peppermint bark have a special place in our hearts during the holidays. The festive candy cane colors and cool minty flavor enjoyed with a mug of hot cocoa is close to Christmas perfection! Keep this classic chocolate recipe on display during the holiday season!
- Printed on professional, archival, matte Epson paper
- Packaged in a cellophane sleeve with cardboard backing
- 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 prints ship via USPS Priority mail within 1 business day
- 16x20 prints ship via USPS Priority mail within 3 - 5 business days
- Proudly printed & designed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How chalk art prints are made
Chalk art is nothing more than dust on a surface. It’s this temporary, ephemeral nature that draws me to it. Chalkboards are nostalgic, yet timeless, a humble surface that can carry such beauty. I wanted a way to preserve the dust without fear of erasing, so I created the original Chalkboard Print. This is the artwork that started it all.
In order to preserve the design, I photograph the freshly drawn chalkboard to make a high-resolution digital print. This method enables me to send you a piece of chalkboard art, perfect in its imperfections, without worry of dust or erasing. All the nuances of the unmistakable hand-drawn style of chalk art are preserved on archival-quality paper with a matte, velvety finish.
Little tip: Frame your chalk art un-matted and behind the glass for an authentic chalkboard look.
27 Natural Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits
1. Boost Energy
Instead of reaching for energy drinks whenever you need a boost, give peppermint oil a try. Studies have shown it improves physical and mental energy levels and performance just five minutes after ingesting it (2).
To use: Inhale the scent of peppermint directly for a boost of energy and clarity, or put a few drops in your favorite diffuser to inhale the vapors throughout your day. Internally, add one drop to a large glass of water (yes, a little goes a long way!) and drink.
2. Get Rid of Dandruff
Peppermint oil possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties that make it excellent for combating dandruff (3).
To use: Add 2 drops to your regular shampoo and concentrate on massaging your scalp as you shower.
3. Relieve Muscle Pain
Menthol, one of the main compounds in peppermint, has significant anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and painkilling effects. Studies have shown it can help reduce muscle soreness and lower inflammation, while also raising your pain threshold (4).
To use: Combine 1/4 cup coconut oil with 5 drops of peppermint oil, then rub on sore muscles.
4. Soothe Joint Pain
The anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects of menthol in peppermint can also be used to relieve joint pain when applied topically (5).
To use: Add 2 drops of peppermint oil to a small dollop of olive or coconut oil, rub together in your hands, then rub on sore joints.
5. Curb Cravings
Many people swear by peppermint oil as a natural way to ease cravings by reducing appetite and helping you feel fuller faster.
To use: Place a few drops in a diffuser before mealtimes, or dilute a couple drops in a carrier oil like olive oil and rub it on your chest.
6. Reduce Allergies
Peppermint oil is also great for allergy symptoms such as drainage and coughing due to its ability to help expel mucus and phlegm (6).
To use: Diffuse the oil in a diffuser along with eucalyptus in your home to reduce allergy symptoms throughout the day and night.
7. Cool Rashes + Itching
Studies have shown that peppermint oil’s cooling and anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe minor itches, from bug bites to poison ivy (7).
To use: Dilute 2 drops of peppermint oil in olive oil and rub on the affected area.
8. Repel Bugs
Essential oils have been utilized for thousands of years as natural insect repellents. Many of the volatile compounds in oils (such as peppermint) are overwhelming to insects like mosquitoes, making them the perfect natural option to keep bugs at bay.
To use: To repel pests from your body (like mosquitoes), dilute several drops in a carrier oil and rub all over exposed areas of your body. To repel bugs in your home, add peppermint oil to your floor cleaner or countertop cleaner.
9. Calm Acne
Peppermint oil contains several antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin (8). Not to mention, the cooling menthol will also help to reduce inflammation from painful cystic acne.
To use: Mix a drop of peppermint oil with jojoba oil and dab on the affected area twice a day.
10. Relieve Headaches
Research shows that peppermint oil has a significant relaxing and pain-reducing effect on headaches. In one study, peppermint oil reduced sensitivity associated with headaches (9).
To use: Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and rub on your temples. If your headache feels more like a tension headache coming from your neck area, massage the oil on your shoulders and neck.
11. Promote Hair Growth
Studies show that massaging peppermint oil into your scalp can help promote hair growth and encourage hair to become thicker, even without participants changing their diets (10).
To use: Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your favorite shampoo and massage deeply into your scalp.
12. Relieve IBS + Bloating
Peppermint oil is one of the best natural treatments when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers believe its ability to relax the gastrointestinal wall, as well as cool inflammation, play a role in its effectiveness (11). Studies also show peppermint oil has a significant effect on abdominal pain and distension, as well as gas (12).
To use: You can either take peppermint oil in capsule form (follow the dosage instructions on the bottle) or rub a few drops mixed in a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil, on your abdomen.
13. Reduce Nausea
Peppermint oil may also be able to help quell bouts of nausea and vomiting. Studies on postoperative nausea show participants who were given peppermint oil experienced significantly lower levels of nausea (13).
To use: Take one or two capsules at the onset of symptoms.
14. Freshen Breath
Peppermint is an ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes, and for good reason. Not only does peppermint smell wonderful, but it also has potent antibacterial properties that help freshen breath (14).
To use: Look for a toothpaste with pure peppermint oil as a main ingredient, or make your own breath spray by combining a couple drops with a cup of water in a spray bottle. You can even make your own homemade breath mints using peppermint and coconut oil!
15. Kill Toenail Fungus
Peppermint oil’s antimicrobial properties make it excellent for combating toenail fungus (15).
To use: Apply 4-5 drops directly on discolored nails daily.
16. Combat Bacterial Infections
Studies have shown peppermint oil to be effective against up to 22 strains of bacteria and fungi, making it an excellent choice to help fight infections (16).
To use: Follow the dosage recommendations on your peppermint oil in capsule form.
17. Help Fight Cancer
It turns out that the compound menthol present in peppermint oil can also inhibit cancer growth. Studies have shown it causes cancer cell death while also helping protect against radiation damage from chemotherapy (17).
18. Relieve Stress
Peppermint oil is popular in aromatherapy for its relaxing and refreshing effects. Studies show that it can be an effective treatment against nerve disorders and mental fatigue, making it an excellent option to help relieve excess stress (18).
To use: Inhale the scent of peppermint for a boost of energy and clarity, or put a few drops in your favorite diffuser to inhale the vapors throughout the day.
19. Boost Exercise Performance
Researchers have found that athletes supplementing with peppermint oil were able to significantly increase exercise performance parameters, including improving breathing capacity and increasing oxygen levels (19).
To use: Add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to a large glass of water daily.
20. Soothe a Sore Throat
Menthol’s cooling properties can help soothe a painful and inflamed sore throat, while also combating any infection that may have caused it (20).
To use: Either gargle a mix of 2 drops of peppermint oil in water, or add a few drops to a pot with water and deeply inhale the steam.
21. Clear a Stuffy Nose
Peppermint oil can help treat many cold symptoms, such as mucus congestion, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (21).
To use: Diffuse peppermint oil throughout your home when you have a cold to reduce bacteria in the air and help with a stuffy nose and congestion.
22. Relieve Sunburns
Peppermint oil’s cooling and anti-inflammatory properties also make it an excellent remedy for sunburn.
To use: Combine 2 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil (and even some aloe if you’d like) and rub on affected areas.
23. Sharpen Memory
Studies show that peppermint can help improve concentration and focus while also improving memory, making it a great option to help with the symptoms of ADHD (22).
To use: Dilute 2 drops in a carrier oil and rub on your chest before you start your day, or carry the oil with you and inhale it directly from the bottle when you need to focus.
As you can see, the uses of peppermint oil are virtually endless. With such a broad base of benefits, this is one oil you should have stocked in your kitchen at all times.
About Megan Patiry
Megan is an inquisitive nutrition and wellness writer harboring an editorial love affair with the decadent and the nutritious. She is a dedicated researcher in all areas of ancestral health, a certified specialist in fitness nutrition, personal trainer, and professional almond milk latte addict.
Donna’s Day: Peppermint bark is taste of holidays
Peppermint bark only has a handful of ingredients, doesn’t require any baking and the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.
The holiday season tastes like peppermint, and most of us can’t get enough. Peppermint mocha brightens the morning, peppermint ice cream makes us dreamy at night and cute red-and-white-striped candy canes evoke festive childhood memories during the hours in between.
While on the topic of peppermint whatevers, I can’t leave out yummy — and trendy — peppermint bark. Who can resist the sweet layers of dark and white chocolate topped with crunchy peppermint bits? The bright holiday tins filled with the confection at high-end kitchenware stores are tempting to buy, but they’re also pricey.
This year, make your own batch or two of peppermint bark with this easy, economical version using ingredients from the baking section and candy aisle of the grocery store. Older kids can melt candy coating, almond bark, in the microwave, while preschoolers pound candy canes into small bits with a toy hammer to sprinkle on top.
Working together with you, the entire prep takes less than half an hour. The kids can scoot off to another activity while the bark cools and hardens.
Easy Holiday Peppermint Bark
Servings: 1 3/4 pounds
1 pound good-quality chocolate confectionary coating, broken into pieces (Look for it in the grocery baking section, sometimes labeled “almond bark” or “candy coating”)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
12 ounces good-quality white vanilla-flavored confectionery coating, broken into pieces
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate coating, uncovered, for 90 seconds on high power and stir. Continue to microwave and stir at 30-second intervals until almost melted. Be sure to use a dry bowl and utensils. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, and stir until smooth.
Pour onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly into a thin layer, approximately 10 by 14 inches.
In another microwave-safe bowl, heat white coating as in step 2. Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional) and stir until smooth. Spoon evenly over chocolate layer, which should be setting up, but not hard, as you want the white layer to bond with the base layer.
Immediately sprinkle peppermint pieces over all and lightly press them into the white layer with a spatula or a spoon. Don’t wait on this step, or the top layer will harden and the candies won’t stick.
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You have two options. Option number one is the easiest. Use a powerful blender (like my Ninja) to pulverize the candy.
Option two is the one I used for years before I got my ninja. Bag the peppermints doubled in two/gallon ziplock bags (doubled to prevent it from pocking holes and making a mess) to smash. Use a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer to smash the candy.
The peppermint should be mostly fine, but I like to leave a few larger pieces. It makes the peppermint bark look amazing.
Can you see the larger chunks in the image above?
Hy-Vee Recipes and Ideas
Create a festive bowl for serving individually wrapped candies and treats.
Servings and Ingredients
Things To Grab
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper set aside. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a small heat-safe glass bowl leave upside down and set aside.
Place a peppermint candy in the center of the paper. Arrange six candies around the center candy with edges touching.
Hyvee Culinary Expert TipHy-Vee Test Kitchen
Bake for 8 minutes or until candies begin to spread and melt together. Remove pan from oven and let stand 1 minute.
Carefully, invert parchment paper and warm candies onto greased bowl. When completely cool, remove parchment and separate candy bowl from heat-safe bowl.
Snackshot of the Day: Peppermint Bark - Recipes
DIY Peppermint Chocolate Bark Favors
My recipe fit perfectly in an 8x8 pan and made a thick bark. It's a solid half inch thick. I liked it that way, but Pete would have preferred it a little thinner. If you like a thinner chocolate bark, just use half of these ingredients per batch.
The easiest way I've found is to put the candy cane pieces in a plastic bag, then smash with a rolling pin. Yes, smash, like a hammer, then roll like a rolling pin. Over and over. It's a great way to get out any wedding planning frustration you might have pent up.
You'll want them to be a little hearty and not completely pulverized into a powder. Put those off to the side for now.
If you want to completely skip this step, you can purchase peppermint crunch. It's basically bottled broken up candy canes.
Microwave your milk chips (in a microwave-safe bowl!) until they are smooth. I put mine in for a minute on high, then stirred until it was creamy. Microwave power varies, so you'll want to check yours after 30 seconds or so. You don't want to burn the chocolate. No one wants to eat that.
Pour the chocolate into a foil-lined 8x8 baking pan. You can smooth it around with the back of a spoon or an icing spatula to make sure it's even all around. But don't worry about how the top of this looks. No one will ever see it.
Put it in the fridge to chill, at least ten minutes, until the chocolate is pretty solid.
When that's ready, microwave the white chocolate and stir until it's smooth. Fold in the candy cane chunks (which is a fancy way of saying, "Pour them in and stir.").
Pour the white chocolate/candy cane mixture on top the milk chocolate.
Put it back in the fridge. This time, patience is a virtue you should at least try to have. You want to let these chill at least an hour. Because, if you're impatient .
. you'll try to cut these into squares and the white chocolate will have melted the milk chocolate, and it will not have had time to harden again.
Once this is ready, cut it into squares. I did two-inch squares, so you end up with 16 per batch. If you reduce them just a little bit and go with 1.5-inch(ish) squares, you'll get 25 per batch. I wouldn't make them any smaller than that, personally. Sure, one-inch squares will get you 32 per batch, but those are just too tiny in my opinion.
You can tie three up with bakers twine and set these out on paper doilies on each place setting, if it's indoors and air conditioned. But, to save your sanity, you're probably better off stacking them in small plastic treat bags and tying them at the top with the twine. You can include a small thank you tag with them too.
BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you make these peppermint chocolate bark favors?
Easy Holiday Peppermint Bark
1 pound good-quality chocolate confectionary coating, broken into pieces. (Look for it in the grocery baking section, sometimes labeled “almond bark” or “candy coating”)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
12 ounces good-quality white vanilla-flavored confectionery coating, broken into pieces
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
- Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate coating, uncovered, for 90 seconds on high power, and stir. Continue to microwave and stir at 30-second intervals until almost melted. (Be sure to use a dry bowl and utensils.) Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, and stir until smooth.
- Pour onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly into a thin layer, approximately 10 by 14 inches.
- In another microwave-safe bowl, heat white coating as in step 2. Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional), and stir until smooth. Spoon evenly over chocolate layer, which should be setting up, but not hard, as you want the white layer to bond with the base layer.
- Immediately sprinkle peppermint pieces over all and lightly press them into the white layer with a spatula or a spoon. Don’t wait on this step, or the top layer will harden and the candies won’t stick.
- Let stand for an hour or refrigerate until hardened. Break into pieces. Makes about 1 3/4 pounds.
Find more family fun in Donna’s book “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2020 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Syndicate
Gingerbread House Decorating Party
If your circle of friends and family are ready for a new holiday season tradition, it might be time to introduce a little creative competition into your merry mix! Carve out a date in your calendar and gather up friends, neighbors, and family members for an old school gingerbread house decorating contest for adults. This is a tried and true tradition my family enjoys year after year. We rely on the Triple Crown Bakery in Franklin, TN for all our gingerbread needs. You know when a bakery is owned by a Pastry Chef with the Ritz Carlton on her resume that everything down to the cookies is going to be top-notch! You definitely want to check out this little bakery on the corner.
What a festive fun opportunity to gather together with those near and dear to your heart for the holiday. Considering hosting the contest in your home? Do not fret the decor, traditional Christmas colors or your usual seasonal set up will work wonderfully. Here is a tip from a practiced gingerbread party proficient: use varying size and height cake stands to display pre-made gingerbread houses as the centerpiece. Monogrammed napkins from Lettermade also elevate your event. While they might seem fancy or elaborate for a party with such mess-making potential, have no fear - these napkins are both machine washable and bleachable. So after the votes are counted and the winning design is revealed, if your pals use it as a hanky after hearing contest results, no worries, even the sad stain of losers’ tears should wash out.
Now let’s chat cocktails. The icing on the gingerbread? Christmas cocktails pair perfectly with friendly competition. We love to serve seasonal favorites like Gingerbread Martinis or Spiked Hot Chocolate. I like to have a hot and cold cocktail option. Jackson Morgan Southern Cream in brown sugar and cinnamon, salted caramel, or peppermint mocha are the perfect cocktail flavors for this seasonal party.
Stay tuned for more fun from this festive party on the blog. Cheers!
You can shop this post below. All images Christy Wilson Photography for Jackson Morgan Southern Cream.