Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This is a quick and simple dinner that my kids just love. I got the recipe from my mother-in-law a few years back. I don't make it very often, but my kids and husband probably wish I did. Chalk up a point for one that everyone loves, but it's not the healthiest dish there is--probably why it taste good.
Easy Pretzel Turtles
Rolo candies - one bag has about 55 candies
Pecan halves - or optionally peanuts, cashews, and m&m's
Optional: almond bark or white chocolate for drizzling
Get Ready for some simple holiday fun!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet. I like to use parchment paper or my silpat for easy handling, but you can also put them on foil or directly onto the cookie sheet.
Unwrap your Rolo candies and place one on top of each pretzel (a great step to keep the kids busy).
Place pan in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Any longer is probably too long. You just want the chocolate on the outside to look glossy and melty, but they should still hold their shape.
Remove pan from oven and take a pecan and gently press it right into the center of the chocolate candy.
If you want to get fancy you can give them a little drizzle of almond bark or white chocolate. Just melt some in a plastic baggie and nip the corner off to drizzle. A little goes a long way; used a half a square of almond bark or 1/4 cup white chocolate chips melted.
Spoil yourself and eat a few of these babies warm off the pan. Mmmm-YUM! Wait for the rest to cool and harden before you pack or plate them up.
Mix it Up: For parties, simply for color, or for the non-nut lover in your family do them with all M&M's on top. Kids love how colorful and fun they turn out to be. Try them with cashews and peanuts or those mini Hershey's kissables are cute too.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Lynnette's Peppermint Bark see her picture and read about the inspiration behind how and why she made 25 batches of this peppermint bark to become the candy bark expert!
Peppermint Bark adapted from Bon Appetit
17 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces coarsely crushed candy canes
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons whipping cream
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
Take your very best non-warped cookie sheet, turn it upside down and cover securely with foil. Using a ruler, mark a 12x9-inch rectangle directly on the foil. (I use the tip of a sharp knife.)
Very, very gently melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Start low, go slow, and stir frequently. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto the prepared rectangle on the foil. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle with ¼ cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
In a clean bowl microwave the bittersweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract until just melted. Stir until smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm. Pour this chocolate mixture in long lines over the white chocolate rectangle. Using a clean offset spatula, spread the bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Gently rewarm the remaining white chocolate and pour over the firm bittersweet chocolate layer. Spread to cover. Working quickly, sprinkle remaining crushed candy canes over the top and gently press to make sure they are embedded into the white chocolate. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil and bark off of cookie sheet. Peel away foil and discard. Place bark on a cutting board. Using a long sharp knife cut bark crosswise into 2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections, then each section diagonally into 2 triangles. Or make up your own geometry and cut into desired size and shape. If the bark seems resistant to cutting just let it sit until it comes to room temperature, then proceed.
Chill in an airtight container. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Keeps about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Notes on the recipe: How many batches of this do you have to make to call yourself an expert? Does 25 count? I took 15 batches to a cookie exchange one year. I won’t be doing that again anytime soon, but I did learn some valuable tricks:
-You can use white chocolate chips instead of baking chocolate, but you won’t be able to cut the bark into shapes because the chips contain more stabilizers than baking chocolate. Instead of cutting the bark just break it into random shapes.
-I have a very strong preference for Ghiradelli chocolate in this recipe, both white and semisweet. Other brands of white chocolate don’t melt very well.
-When melting the chocolate make sure the bowls and spoons are completely dry. Moisture can cause the chocolate to seize. I avoid wooden spoons for stirring because they can hold water, especially if they were put through the dishwasher recently.
-Pay attention to the chilling times – this helps the layers adhere to each other.
1 package hot chocolate mix
3 Hershey Kisses
1 candy cane
Place in a small ziplock bag or in a new mug.
Attach this poem:
"Was told you've been real good this year
Always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near
You'll need to warm the spirit
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick
Just add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!"
Chocolate Orange Logs (Lion House Christmas)