What Is Peppermint Bark, And Why Is It So Popular During The Holidays?

Peppermint bark with hot cocoa
Peppermint bark with hot cocoa - Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock

Countless treats make their yearly emergence during the holidays. Chief among these is peppermint bark, which is beloved by more than 50% of Americans, according to a National Today survey. Yet, despite being a clear wintertime favorite for many, one in 10 admitted to never having tried the seasonal confection.

Perhaps the reason some people don't partake in peppermint bark during the holidays is that they don't know what it is. After all, chowing down on something that shares its name with the exterior of a tree doesn't exactly sound appealing. But rest assured, while edible bark does bear some resemblance to the tree variety, this wintertime delicacy is all sugar.

Though the minty confection dates as far back as the 1960s, the version of peppermint bark that you're most likely to see today is based on Williams Sonoma's recipe. The company is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its peppermint bark, which first appeared in 1998. The treat features a layer of peppermint oil-infused dark chocolate topped by a layer of peppermint oil-infused white chocolate and crushed peppermint candies. The company preps for its annual peppermint bark release over 12 weeks and spends 24 hours carefully making each batch (though making easy, three-ingredient peppermint bark is simple enough to do at home).

Read more: 13 Store-Bought Ice Cream Bars Ranked From Worst To Best

Peppermint Bark Is America's Favorite Holiday Treat

Pile of Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares
Pile of Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares - rblfmr/Shutterstock

When considering popular holiday goodies, candy canes, cookies, and fudge often come to mind, but believe it or not, peppermint bark takes the top spot as America's preferred holiday treat, according to National Today's survey. A love for the combination of chocolate and mint is an obvious reason for the U.S.'s annual love affair with peppermint bark, as is the fact that it only appears for roughly two months out of the year. However, these are hardly the only explanations for its massive fan club.

Comedy writer Matt Price went so far as to pen an ode to peppermint bark for the website What's Up Moms in 2021. In it, he lays out several reasons why he feels other seasonal sweets pale in comparison. A Yule log, he explains, is too abstract, while the notion of eating a person-shaped gingerbread cookie is just too existentially challenging. Chocolate gelt is much too bland for his taste, and fruit cake is, well, fruit cake. Peppermint bark, in contrast, is just right. Besides Price himself, many people also appreciate the treat for the nostalgic feeling it inspires, which is exactly what Williams Sonoma founder Chuck Williams wanted when he tasked a group of food merchants with creating a Christmastime confection 25 years ago.

Read the original article on Mashed.