If you are looking for an affordable edible gift to present to friends and family members this holiday season I highly recommend Peppermint Bark.
Interestingly, I didn’t get my first taste of this delicious holiday treat until I was in my 20s. I was anchoring a local morning TV news show and a local chef came into the station to demo the recipe for a Christmas cooking segment. One bite and I was hooked. Chocolate and mint… who can resist that combination? What’s more, the recipe is fantastically simple to make.
The other edible gift I like to pass out to my pals this time of year is Christmas Toffee. I love the combination of chocolate and pecans wrapped in sugar, sugar and more sugar. It too is easy to prepare and inexpensive to make–a bonus especially with the current state of the economy.
SIMPLE PEPPERMINT BARK
12 ounces quality white chocolate, finely chopped
30 red and white striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine bittersweet chocolate, whipping cream, and peppermint extract in a bowl, set over saucepan of barely simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour chocolate onto cookie sheet. Using the rubber spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate.
Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 20 minutes.
Remove the chocolate and peppermint from the refrigerator.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour all of the white chocolate over the chilled chocolate and peppermints. Using the rubber spatula spread the white chocolate in an even layer. Top with the remaining crushed peppermints.
Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Once hardened, use your hands to break the bark into chunks.
Allow bark to stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving or packing.
2 pounds unsalted butter
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces chocolate
1/2 chopped pecans or sprinkles
Place the butter, sugar and water in a large pot.
Place over high and place a candy thermometer on the side.
Cook until the mixture reaches 275 degrees. Add the vanilla. Remove toffee at 280 degrees and pour onto two greased cookie sheets. Allow to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with toasted nuts or sprinkles.
Break into pieces and serve or pack in holiday tins to give as gifts.