Merry Christmas! I suppose it is more appropriate to say Happy New Year! It has been an amazing holiday and I feel more rested and like myself than I have in a very long time. I had originally planned this amazing week of baking and cooking before Jesse and I went up to a cottage. This never happened. My sniffles started on the last day of school and the developing cold knocked me out for a good week and a half. The silver lining was my discovery of ALL of the Anne books. I dove into the world of Green Gables while resting in bed and I have not been able to put it down. I am only on the second book but I have already fallen in love with the stories. I feel a trip out east coming on.
Once returned to a normal state of mind I madly tried to get things together for Christmas gifts. I fell back on some of my mom's classic Christmas treat recipes. I attempted some traditional shortbread bookies. I rolled and cut them and then crawled back to bed. My saint of a husband cooked them for me and bless his heart they all went flat on him! The poor man didn't want to cook the rest he felt so bad. It was amusing to hear his recollections in the morning. One thing that DID turn out a success was the candy cane almond bark. I used my mom's traditional recipes and added a twist of my own. This recipe is so simple anyone can do it and Jesse took extreme pleasure in crushing the candy canes himself with our meat tenderizer.
I cannot tell you how much I would have loved to share a kitchen, a bottle of wine and some amazing Christmas recipes with you this year. I think we will have to make that a staple for the years to come. My place or yours I don't care.
My mind still has a hard time adjusting to the new year. I wish you and Jason many blessings and much love for the new year. I miss you!
Candy Cane Almond Bark
Approx. 2 cups white Merkins chips
Approx. 2 cups milk chocolate Merkins chips
2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups candy cane or mint candy
Almond or mint extract
1. Turn on oven to 350-375. Roast the almonds on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crackly. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. Open all the candies or candy canes and place them in a thick Ziploc freezer bag. Using a rolling pin or meat mallet crush the candies into small pieces. Do not make it a powder.
3. Choose one type of bark to make at a time. I did my white chocolate chips first. Place chips in a large microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Check the chips and stir to make sure everything is melted.
4. When the chocolate is melted add the crushed candy cane and the almonds. Stir until everything is mixed well and then add mint or almond extract. The traditional recipe calls for only almonds and almond extract. Feel free to combine the flavours as you would like.
5. Pour the mixture out onto a sheet of waxed paper that is laying on a cooking sheet. Place the warm chocolate in the fridge to cool.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 using milk chocolate instead of white. When the bark has cooled remove it from the fridge and gently drop it onto the table. This will break the bark into bite sized pieces. If all else fails I sometimes break the bark apart with my clean hands.