Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Food Time!

Wow, my mom really took the wind out of my blog-sails this morning. Leave it to your parents to lift you up high and then in the next second, have you tumbling down low. Ah well, c'est la vie, n'est- ce pas?!

Well, here is your recipe zen for today, which makes a great present to give out for the holidays:

Peppermint Bark

Yields: 1 med. sheet tray of bark

17oz good white chocolate, finely chopped
30 peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (I like the Bob's soft ones)
12oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
3/4 tsp of REAL peppermint extract

Equipment needed:
13x9 sheet tray or cookie pan with sides, aluminum foil, double-boiler or saucepan and metal bowl, off-set or rubber spatula

Inside the sheet tray, spread aluminum foil and cover securely over bottom and sides. Make sure it's smooth or the bottom of your bark with be really rough. Set aside.

Add water to the bottom of the saucepan, just enough so that when you suspend the metal bowl inside the saucepan, it does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Set the saucepan over low heat and let it come to a simmer. Add the white chocolate to the bowl and set over the simmering water. Let the white chocolate begin to melt, it will start to look wet and shiny. DO NOT STIR until almost completely melted! White chocolate is a tricky little bugger and can scorch or burn easily (that's when it becomes a big ol' clump that never melts again.) Once the white chocolate looks shiny and wet, stir a little to mix it up and it should become smooth and liquidy. Remove metal bowl from saucepan and wipe the bottom with a towel (water drops are bad!)

Immediately pour the white chocolate into the foil-lined sheet tray. Fill out the tray by 2 methods: 1- picking up the tray and lightly swirling around and 2-using the spatula to spread smooth. Try to get as even as possible. Taking about 1/3 of the crushed peppermints, sprinkle over the white chocolate while still melted. Chill in the fridge to set; approximately 15 minutes.

Remove water from saucepan and dry with a towel. Place saucepan back over medium-low heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract. Stir occasionally until just melted; because of the cream and extract, this chocolate will not burn as easily as chocolate alone. Remove from heat; cool until just warm, about 3-5 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the set white chocolate in long lines. Spread out using previous method. Sprinkle the remaining peppermints over the top. Chill in the fridge until completely set, very cold and firm.

Now you can have fun breaking into pieces! Snap with your hands or tap lightly with a hammer; dealer's choice! Sorry no picture today, I haven't made this yet, although I always make it for Brandon once a year because he loves it so much. Let me know what you think!

*Note: White chocolate burns easily, so make sure you watch it and do not let the water get in it. If you do all the things above and it still burns, try again with a lower temp.

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