Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Makes a great gift this Christmas season
Makes a great gift this Christmas season.

This is so easy to make, there is no need to spend money on pre-made Chocolate Peppermint bark at expensive specialty stores.

2 cups chocolate wafers (available in Canada at http://www.bulkbarn.ca/en-ca/index.html)

Chocolate making wafers
Chocolate making wafers

2 large candy canes, crushed

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Few drops of peppermint flavoring

Temper chocolate by placing wafers in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom half of the boiler one-third to one-half full with water. Heat chocolate over medium heat, stirring,  until melted and glossy:

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Remove from heat, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint flavoring.

Freeze until firm, 2 – 3 hours, in a pan lined with wax paper. Remove from freezer.  Using wax paper, so the bark doesn’t melt onto your hands, break it apart into pieces.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark

For gift-giving, place in a pretty container, and wrap with seasonal cellophane paper.

Gifts from the Kitchen – Chocolate Dipped Dried Apricots

48 – 50 dried apricots
2/3 c. wafers for chocolate making

Melt chocolate in the microwave on medium in microwave-safe bowl. Stir. Coat approximately 1/2 of each apricot in chocolate. (Sample a couple along the way — quality control is important.) Place on baking sheets covered with wax paper to set. Store in a pretty covered container.

Gifts from the Kitchen: Minty Candy Christmas Cookie Mix

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Christmas M&Ms

1/3 cup chopped peppermint candy

Layer ingredients in 1-quart food storage jar with tight-fitting lid in the following order: granulated sugar, brown sugar, combined flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; chocolate pieces; and peppermint candy. Seal jar.

Cover lid with fabric circle, if desired. Attach gift tag and directions for baking and fabric to jar with raffia or ribbon.

To prepare:

1 jar Minty Candy Christmas Cookie Mix

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Place contents of jar in large mixing bowl. Using fingers, work butter into flour mixture. Combine eggs and vanilla in small bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place balls 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Slide parchment paper and cookies onto wire rack. Cool completely. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Gifts from the Kitchen – Dessert Coffee Mixes

You’ll get thanks “a latte” giving these!   Place ingredients in  a funky mug, with directions on a small recipe card, and wrap in cellophane paper and tie with a ribbon.

Stir all ingredients together. Use 2 Tablespoons to ¾ cup of hot water.

Substituting instant espresso in place of the instant coffee gives it a richer taste.

Cafe Frangelico

1 cup powdered non fat dry milk

1 cup chocolate-flavored drink mix

3/4 cup instant coffee (decaffeinated or regular)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cafe Vienna Mix

1/2 c instant coffee

2/3 c sugar

2/3 c nonfat dry milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Swiss Mocha

1 cup instant coffee

1 cup sugar

2 cups nonfat dry milk

4 tsp. cocoa powder

Bavarian Mint

1/3 cup instant coffee

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup non-fat dry milk

2 tbsp. Cocoa

5 hard peppermint candies, crushed

Mocha

1/4 c. instant coffee

1/2 c. cocoa

1/2 c. sugar

Café au Lait

1/4 c. instant coffee

1/2 c. non fat dry milk

1/2 c. sugar

Spice

1/4 c. instant coffee

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

Saskatchewan Cookies

Bridge in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

I’m not sure why these are called Saskatchewan Cookies. In honor of the name, behold, a couple pictures we took of Saskatchewan.

Plaxton's Lake, near Moose Jaw, SK

 

These are low-fat yet moist thanks to the applesauce.

 

Blend together:

 

½ c. margarine

½ c. applesauce

½ c. each white and brown sugar

 

In a separate bowl, mix:

 

2 c. crushed corn flakes

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. each baking soda and baking powder

 

Mix both mixtures together, then add:

 

1 c. each raisins and coconut

½ c. ground flax seed*

½ c. each sunflower seeds and chocolate chips

¼ c. sesame seeds

 

*The recipe originally calls for whole flax seeds.  According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, because whole flax seeds may pass through your intestine undigested, no health benefit is derived.

 

Stir well and drop by large spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 11-12 minutes.  About 3 dozen.  The recipe could easily be halved to save time and energy.

Gifts from the Kitchen – Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Makes a great Christmas treat and gift

½ lb. white, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate

1/3 c. crushed candy canes

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir.  Remove from heat and stir in crushed candy canes.  Spread in a thin layer on waxed paper.  When cooled and set, break into chunks to serve.  Putting the mixture in the fridge or outside, if cold enough, hastens the setting process.