- Line an 11x7x1 1/2-inch baking pan with parchment paper*, allowing edges to extend beyond the edges of the pan.
- Wipe off any water from bottom of bowl with chocolate mixture, see Tempered Chocolate, receipe below). Pour about 1/2 of the Tempered Chocolate into pan; spread chocolate to edges of pan. Arrange chocolate candy in pan, leaving a 1-inch border. Evenly spoon on remaining chocolate, spreading to cover candies. Top with additional assorted candies or crushed peppermint. Let stand at room temperature until firm (about 1 hour).
- Lift candy from pan with parchment. Cut or break into pieces.
*Test Kitchen Tip:
- To line pan with parchment, invert pan. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the bottom of the pan (make sure that the piece is large enough that the edges will extend beyond the edges of the pan). Make creases at pan edges. Remove paper and make folds along the creases. Invert pan right side up. Place paper in pan.
- Chop 1 1/2 pounds semisweet, bittersweet, dark, or milk chocolate. Place in a 2-quart bowl with 1/4 cup shortening; stir to coat chocolate with shortening. Pour very warm tap water (110 degrees F) in a very large bowl to a depth of 1 inch. Place the bowl with chocolate inside the bowl of warm water (water should cover bottom half of bowl of chocolate). Adjust water level as necessary (be careful not splash any water into the chocolate). Stir the chocolate mixture constantly with a rubber spatula until completely melted and smooth (this should take 20 to 25 minutes). When the water cools, remove the bowl containing the chocolate. Discard the cool water and add warm water and continue as above until all the chocolate is melted.
Why Temper Chocolate:
- Tempering chocolate ensures that the cocoa butter in the chocolate melts slowly. If melted too quickly or at too high of a temperature, the chocolate will "bloom" (have white streaks running through it) when it sets up. Tempered chocolate keeps its shiny appearance and smooth texture after it cools and sets up.
From the Test Kitchen
Our team chose to make two variations: For the milk chocolate variation we used crushed candy canes, broken pretzels, red candy coated milk chocolate pieces and chocolate-coated caramel-topped nougat bars with peanuts. For the dark chocolate variation we used candy coated chocolate pieces, brown jimmies, red nonpareils and raspberry filled chocolate squares.