Friday, December 19, 2008

my version of peppermint bark and attempt at Christmas

My version of peppermint bark is below.

Because it's easy, and it's really good, and it doesn't have to be perfect, and it's pretty in Christmas colors. I'm told it also goes REALLY well with Smithwick's, which I didn't combine that particular evening as I thought I had a stomach bug, but I plan to next time I can. And they kept eating it the next morning, along w/ their daughters, and I'm to bring it to the next party, and M gave me that big toothy smile when she asked me PLEASE make some for her show choir school potluck party, and E kept going back and nibbling on it at the "big" ceili last January when I was noticing he really was single but we hadn't gotten together yet....... And I have to have some holiday spirit going on, I love Christmas spirit, I loved seeing Winter Lights with M again this year which is one of our traditions since it first opened up, and listening to the Christmas carols and songs, and laughing w/ M that the creche she received has little holly on the robes of most of the people, even the pink robe of the blonde-headed Wise Man, as if there was holly in the Middle East, and blonde-headed pink-robe wearing men, and some other giggliness we shared. Even if, well, I just cannot stop thinking of my dad. He got a Christmas card, or M saying yes, let's still have Christmas Crackers this year (in his honor), and finding his old sweater...... cuz, of course, Dad's still dead. And not seeing my mom even on her birthday this week as M and I were both just too sick and Mom can't risk catching a thing, nor could we see her last weekend when M and I were REALLY really sick, so we never got up Grandma's (Mom's) Christmas stuff for her, nor much of ours. And, yet if not for a stress test, Mom'd have had a heart attack, so 3 days in the hospital and heart work done, she's weak but missed, well, perhaps the heart attack and related risks, herself..... and thank you, Lord, that I'll see M on Christmas Eve (and Mom and my stepfather, Bob), but I still don't have a response from M's dad if it'll include time for a service or not, which is important to us, even if I've been warmly welcomed to E's large family gathering I'm excited for. And peppermint bark's easy and I really like it. And it can be helpful to go banging and hitting something, sometimes.

And I was asked for my recipe, um, it's not that hard, all, just melt chocolate, and add crushed peppermint, oh, and real peppermint extract. But, they wanted it written all day. Kay?

Robin's Peppermint Bark Recipe

12 oz. of high-quality white chocolate chips (or just get a bag, get the better quality kind if getting from a craft store; if someone wants cocoa-chocolate, go for it, I just don't like that kind myself)
box of regular sized peppermint candy canes, crushed up (approx. 8-10 candy canes, preferably the traditional red and white striped, or the red, green, and white striped)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of 100% pure peppermint extract (I use 1 teaspoon; I like my peppermint)

1. Break up peppermint candy into little pieces. Suggestion: Remove plastic wrapping from candy canes, and place them into a strong / freezer worthy (larger sized) plastic bag. Put the bag on top of a cutting board or other non-damageable hard surface. Whack the candy with the back side of a spoon, or another hard object such as a hammer.

I just find a spoon easy to handle quickly, and that unnamed tool I used of E's that started breaking, um, I put that back... Whack, whack. Hmmm, maybe a Smithwick's would go well with this process. :)

2. Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer's instructions. The type I have used this winter has me put the unmelted white chocolate chunks/chips into a microwaveable (smooth, as in glass is ideal) bowl for about 1 minute. Stir.

3. Add peppermint extract (I need to verify the amount -- I think on the box of peppermint it says 1 tsp, but this recipe I saw said only 1/2, hmmmm, I prefer to TASTE it). Stir. Reheat if needed until everything's JUST melted. Sometimes if a few chips aren't fully melted, stirring will blend the heat in and melt everything else. It loses good texture if overheated or heated too often.

4. Pour the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Spread out with a spatula or spoon. Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in either with clean hands or the spoon. It's okay if they get "buried" in the melted chocolate.

5. If desired, drop a couple drops of either red or green food coloring, and swirl the color into the chocolate with the spoon. If you want, stay sprinkling more crushed peppermint candies on top (swirl or press in).

6. Place in the refrigerator freezer for several (approximately 5) minutes or until hardened.

7. Break into pieces, and serve, or store in the refridgerator supposedly in an airtight container, but it gets eaten too quickly to have the airtight idea really matter that I've noticed.