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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Treats: Peppermint Bark and Candy Cane Stirring Sticks

One of my favorite parts about Christmas "food" is the excuse to eat candy canes. It's just not the same if you eat them in June. I have a ton of them sitting in my pantry right now and knew that I needed to somehow use them up or what ever mass amount I didn't eat would just sit there until next year.

I decided to follow along with my attempt to make all my gifts this year. I figured that I could make a couple tasty little treats, using candy canes, that I could put in people's packages with their gifts. So I made peppermint bark and candy cane stirring sticks.

The peppermint bark, which is an outrageous (albeit delicious) crave during the holiday season, amazed me how easy it is to make. I figured that it was tough to recreate with how nuts people go over it and how much company's charge for it. I've never tasted the Williams Sonoma peppermint bark but I have heard that it's the best out there. Well, no one's had mine yet.

I also have a ton of candy melts and candy "bark" leftover from making my cake balls so I just used that. I melted in a pot an unmeasured amount. I probably used, for the brown chocolate batch, about 3 of the bark (milk chocolate) bricks and half a cup of (dark chocolate) candy melts. Once it was liquid, I poured it onto some tinfoil that I'd laid out on a cookie sheet. Then I sprinkled this with crushed candy cane, some silver sprinkles and put it in the fridge overnight. I made another batch using vanilla almond bark and white chocolate candy melts (mixed). Both batches are amazing. It was seriously hard for me not to "misplace" it all in my mouth.

I also made what I'm calling Candy Cane Stirring Sticks. I LOVE peppermint hot chocolate. One of my favorite things to get during the holidays while we're out is the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha. Oh man. Every year. Love it. At home, during the holidays, I like to stir my hot chocolate with a candy cane. I decided to melt some of the dark chocolate candy melts, dip the end of the candy cane into it, put some silver sprinkles on it and call it a stirring stick. I tried it today for the first time and let me tell you. Something about how the dark chocolate mixes with the peppermint while it's melting really adds a delightful richness to the hot chocolate. I'm hooked. I will probably never drink hot chocolate any other way for the rest of my life (don't quote me on that though). This is another incredibly easy, yet enjoyable, treat to make and give to friends or family during the holidays. Put the candy cane in a cute bag with a packet of instant hot chocolate, tie it up with a pretty bow and tag and you've got yourself an easy gift to give to your co workers or maybe the mail lady or even the neighbor that isn't your favorite and you didn't feel like spending money on but still feel the need to be polite to. What? I didn't do that.

Easy and yummy is always a good combination when it comes to holiday snacks! Merry Christmas!

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