Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Handmade Christmas!

The kiddos and I have had a blast over the past couple of weeks getting ready for Christmas! We love adding a handmade touch to all our gifts, so this year, my son and daughter both got in on the fun. From snowman pencils, to hand-decorated gift bags and yummy Peppermint Bark, we've been enjoying ringing in the Christmas season together. I wish I could say that most of the ideas were mine, but this year I relied on a Martha Stewart Holiday Magazine from a couple of years ago, thanks Martha! Preparing the Peppermint Bark is something fun the whole family can do. It's quick and easy and keeps in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. We bought pretty glass canisters from the local craft store and added a holiday label to give as gifts to our friends. Below is the recipe for the Peppermint bark with a few modifications:

Makes about 2 1/2 pounds

2 12 oz. bags of Nestle's premium white chocolate morsels

12 large candy canes

1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil (you can find at local craft store)

1. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

2. Follow instructions on package for melting chocolate. (I was able to pour both bags into a pyrex dish and heat for 2 minutes at 70%; stir and heat for an additional 10 seconds at 70%.

3. While the chocolate is melting, with a chef's knife or kitchen mallet, cut or pound candy into 1/4-inch pieces. I recommend putting the unwrapped candy canes into a plastic bag and placing it onto foil to contain the mess!

4. Stir candy and peppermint oil into the melted choclate. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet; spread evenly with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Break into pieces before packaging (or serving). Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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