Peppermint Bark

February 2, 2010

I just finished off the last piece of this peppermint bark tonight after finding a bag of it in the freezer. Yes!

I have wanted to attempt a peppermint bark recipe ever since reading the buzz about Williams Sonoma’s version in multiple magazines and blogs. However, at $30 a tin, buying it was not an option. Luckily recipes for a homemade version abound on the internet. I picked and choosed from a bunch to come up with this super easy and very delicious recipe. I included it in my baking packages for friends and served it on several Christmas treat platters. It was always one of the first to go (in part, I think, because it is so pretty on a plate).

So when next Christmas rolls around relieve some of your holiday stress, bash up some candy canes and make this peppermint bark.

Peppermint Bark

3 cups chocolate chips (your choice of milk, dark or semisweet)
4 cups white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup peppermint candy or candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil and put in the oven for 5 minutes until almost melted. Remove from oven, smooth with a spatula. Put in refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler. Stir in the peppermint extract and let sit for two minutes.

Remove the chocolate from the fridge and pour the white chocolate on top, spreading to cover in an even layer.

Sprinkle the crushed candy over top.

Chill until hard and break into pieces.

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Scottish Shortbread

February 1, 2010

There is only one treat that I absolutely must have at Christmastime: my mum’s shortbread. Forget rum balls, cookies, and fruitcakes. this shortbread is all I need (albeit, I do need a lot of it!).

My mum has made this for as long as I can remember. She says it tastes just like the kind her grandmother used to make. Every December, she pulls out her cast iron shortbread mold and makes batch after batch to deliver to all her friends and neighbours. And of course a few batches for us.

Last Christmas, I attempted the recipe in my own kitchen. Mum loaned me the mold and I started baking. Then I packaged up my own shortbread to deliver to all my friends. They loved it, just as everyone does. A precedent was set; when this December rolled around they were all waiting for their shortbread and when I delivered it at a party, very little of it actually made it out the door.

So here it is, the most delicious shortbread ever…

Scottish Shortbread

From my mum
Yield: approx 4 rounds

1 pound butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour

Place your shortbread mold in the freezer until ready to shape the shortbread. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cream the butter until soft.

Add the sugar gradually, blending until very light and creamy.

Add the flour gradually, again blending carefully.

Remove the mold from the freezer and dust it lightly with flour. Press the dough into the mould and turn out onto a baking sheet before baking.

Dust lightly with sugar

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for about 5 minutes, then lower the oven to 300 F (150 C) and continue baking for about 45 – 60 minutes.

Shortbread should be golden but not brown when done.