Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peppermint bark & Whiskey reduction ala Josh (Celebration #3)

For today's celebration, the Emperor and I made peppermint bark together! Peppermint bark is one of those things that I always hear about but never really know what it is. I've eaten it before and prior to yesterday, I still couldn't tell you what was in it other than, well, crushed candy canes.

Candy canes

It just sounds so freakin' holiday-y. I read somewhere that it mails very well, and I have a BUNCH of treat packages that I'm putting together for various people, so I thought it would be nice to try it. After reading a bunch of recipes yesterday and this morning, I realized that there's basically nothing to it: melt some chocolate and stir in some crushed candy canes et voila. Definitely the kind of thing the Emperor and I could do together.

Sampling the product

Here's my recipe, for reference. It's not going to be that different than most you'll see except that there's no white chocolate in it.

Peppermint Bark
makes a butt ton; over 2 lbs

1 box of 12 candy canes
4c vegan chocolate chips

NOTE: if you want these to be gluten free (and I did!) you need to make sure that you do NOT use grain sweetened chocolate chips. They're usually the ones I buy but fortunately I made the connection in time!

1. Line two 9x9 baking dishes with wax paper.
2. Remove the plastic from the candy canes.
3. Put the candy canes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a towel. Whack the wrapped bag vigorously on a counter, tabletop, or other hard surface. You're done when you have a mix of candy cane dust and some bigger chunks. Separate out the biggest chunks (maybe a 1/3c of chunks) and set aside.
4. Using a double boiler (or a small saucepan inside a large saucepan, if you're awesome like me), melt the 4c of chocolate chips. Stir til totally smooth.
5. Pour in the candy cane dust/smaller pieces of candy cane and mix til incorporated.
6. Pour the mixture into the two prepared baking dishes and smooth out with the spatula.
7. Sprinkle the reserved chunks of candy cane on the tops of the two dishes of peppermint bark and press down gently with your spatula.
8. Refrigerate both dishes for about 30 minutes, until mixture re-solidifies.
9. Break solidified slabs of chocolate down into smaller pieces. (You can pick it up by the wax paper and then whack it on the baking dish, or do something a little more sophisticated like cut it with a really share knife.)

And that's it. This looks long but it's really about the easiest thing ever. It took us maybe 10 minutes of active work to put this together. Here's the finished product:

Peppermint bark

Would have liked the chunks on top to be smaller, but they're still manageable. I'm pleased with how delicious this stuff turned out. Good thing it's headed right back out of the house!

Josh made actual dinner tonight. He made a lovely whiskey reduction (like the bourbon reduction from MoFo, except with whiskey from Trader Joe's instead of bourbon) and cooked some chik'n strips in it, roasted brussels sprouts with garlic, and then served it all on top of some whole wheat noodles. Very tasty, and not too bad looking either:

Chik strips in whiskey reduction, b sprouts

We were sad to miss the Christmas parade downtown today but there was just no way it was happening with the way I'm (still) feeling. The good news is that my OB does NOT think this is pregnancy related; the bad news is we still don't know what it is. (Maybe an inner ear infection?) She wants me to go to urgent care but that's the last thing I wanted to spend the weekend doing so... maybe tomorrow morning. Or Monday.

Here's one more of the Emperor. I asked if he could smile really big and he said "yeah!" and then made this face. Classic.

"Can you make a big smile?"

1 comment:

(OvO) said...

I had no idea that peppermint bark was so simple! Yours looks delicious and so do those sprouts. Yum! I hope you feel better very soon.