Saturday, December 17, 2011

Woof, Woof... I mean Bark!

I have always loved the food (mostly baking) that is associated with Christmas time. 
How wonderful is a holiday that has more sweets dedicated to it than ants in an anthill??
(yep, probably an exaggeration there) 

Cookies, cakes, chocolates, candy... Oh Christmas
This year I decided to try something new
Making bark. 
Yep, chocolate bark.
I've always felt a rush of adrenaline through my body
when I see bark on the table at Christmas parties.
And yesterday, when my mom brought home a tin full of
different flavors and takes on bark,
I decided it was my time

I started with the classic white chocolate peppermint. 
Who doesn't love white chocolate? 

Do you think Santa would accept bark in lieu of cookies? 

White Peppermint Bark

Ingredients
2 bags white chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon margarine (or butter or shortening)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 bag of peppermint candies, unwrapped

Directions
1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. 
2. Place the peppermint candies into a food processor and pulse until adequately shattered.
-OR- 
Place the peppermint candies into a plastic bag and whack with a heavy object until adequately pacified... I mean, until the pieces are adequately shattered. 
3. Create double broiler by placing a large glass bowl 
over a large saucepan filled about halfway with water on medium heat. 
4. Dump white chocolate chips into the double broiler.
5. As the chips melt stir occasionally.
6. As the chips melt down into a sticky texture, 
stir in the margarine/butter/shortening and cream.
7. Once smoothly combined, use a spatula to pour the white chocolate mixture into a foil lined pan. 
(You may have to encourage the chocolate to cover the entire bottom of the pan) 
8. Sprinkle with processed peppermint pieces. 
(A gentle push on them ensures they get stuck in the chocolatey goodness) 
9. Cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours. 
10. Remove from fridge, then from pan, break, and partake.


After the success with the white chocolate peppermint, 
I decided time to make my own flavor.
And what better than S'mores! 
Yep, talk about bringing summer to Christmas time. 


S'more Chocolate Bark 

Ingredients
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon margarine (or butter or shortening) 
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 package of graham crackers (smashed)
2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. 
2. Create double broiler by placing a large glass bowl 
over a large saucepan filled about halfway with water on medium heat. 
3. Dump chocolate chips into the double broiler.
4. As the chips melt stir occasionally.
5. As the chips melt down into a sticky texture, 
stir in the margarine/butter/shortening, peanut butter and cream.
6. Once smoothly combined, use a spatula to pour the chocolate mixture into a foil lined pan. 
(You may have to encourage the chocolate to cover the entire bottom of the pan) 
7. Sprinkle with mini marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles. 
(A gentle push on them ensures they get stuck in the chocolatey goodness) 
8. Pop the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes. 
(This makes the marshmallows soft and s'more-like even after being in the fridge)
9. Remove from the oven, cover and place in the fridge overnight. 

--Insert restful night's sleep here--

10. Remove the bark-filled pan from the fridge and cute bark into pieces using a knife.
(I know that you're supposed to break with your hands, 
but the marshmallows don't really work that way)
11. Enjoy! 

I am not using mine today. Tomorrow, in fact. 
So I popped it in the freezer so it stays firm, and not melty during travel. 

*Wrapping Idea!**
If this puppies going to be a gift, 
you can easily line a brown paper bag with wax paper and put the bark inside. 
Fold the top of the bag over, hole punch, and close with festive ribbon!

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