If your workplace is anything like ours at Sur La Table HQ this time of year, you currently have unlimited access to any number of holiday cookies, picked-over boxes of chocolate, half a leftover pie, fudge, yesterday’s box of doughnuts, fruitcake and who knows what else.
But when it comes to Christmas candy, I’m primarily interested in one thing: bark. Granted, I’m more of a cookies and cake person around the holidays (and if we’re really being honest here, I’d rather spend the calories on another cup of mulled wine). But there’s a soft spot in my heart for a tin of holiday bark, mostly because my grandma used to make some every year to give the neighbors and, while it was never very good (sorry, grandma!), I always loved watching her make it.
We’re offering two types of holiday bark this season: a cool and creamy Peppermint Bark and a decadent Salted Caramel Toffee Bark. I was curious to know which one I would like more, but instead of sneaking off to the lunchroom with a few pieces of each and gorging myself on them in secret, I decided to enlist the help of a few of my colleagues by holding a proper taste test.
I asked tasters to try samples of each bark, jotting down their impressions on appearance, texture and flavor. Tasters could also indicate which of the two they preferred. I assumed that this whole endeavor would likely come down to whether you are okay with the chocolate and mint combo, or whether you think that should be illegal. (We were fairly evenly divided there.)
Here are a few of the more enjoyable notes jotted down during our tasting.
- “Attractive presentation—uniform layers of white and a tiny bit of dark on the bottom.”
- “Excellent flavor! The white chocolate is smooth and creamy with the right amount of peppermint flavor. Pleasant minty aftertaste.”
- “A bit on the sweet side, but a very good mix of creamy white chocolate, peppermint and dark chocolate.”
- “Very pretty, and oh so festive!”
- “Cool and creamy with just the right amount of chocolate. The bits of candy cane sprinkled on top add a nice bit of crunch—I like that the peppermint isn’t overpowering.”
- “I’m not a bark person but I’m happily munching away on my second piece of this!”
- “So pretty in this dish here!”
- “I actually don’t care for white chocolate at all, and I’m not a peppermint fan either, but this is really good. Everything is so subtle and the flavors complement each other really well. I have to say I’m surprised!”
- “The chocolate has good flavor—seems like semi-sweet—and the caramel is also flavorful, not too sweet.”
- “This is a solid candy. The salt offsets the caramel and chocolate in an excellent combination. Also, good with coffee!”
- “Salt, caramel and chocolate is always a winning combination.”
- “Really good balance of sweet and salty and chocolate.”
- “This looks and feels substantial. Also, it’s oozing caramel, which is always a good thing.”
- “Um, YUM! It tastes like salty unicorn tears. And the caramel is buttery, sugary perfection.”
- “Wow, the salt is so nice. It hits you immediately, and then fades back into this creamy, chocolaty, caramel goodness.”
- “I could eat a lot more of this, but I probably shouldn’t.”
As far as the winner of this taste goes, our results were inconclusive. Three tasters preferred the Chocolate Salted Caramel Toffee Bark, three preferred the Peppermint Bark, one voter said she “couldn’t decide” and the last caved under the pressure and simply refused to cast his vote.
So I guess it’s up to you, readers. Have you tried our holiday barks yet this season? Which one is your favorite?