Keeping it Simple by Deb Eileen

peppermint.jpgI come from a long proud line of women who can cook. These women are not going to be impressed with the pseudo cooking of taking things from a box and adding water or cutting a dough log into slices and making them into cookies. No sir, it’s going to require more work.

This week I’ve gone through my recipe box to try and decide what to share. The French lemon tart that involves squeezing and zesting six lemons? The bread recipe that starts with a ten pound bag of flour? The rack of lamb with the herb crust? Seared tuna steaks with citrus salsa? Then it occurred to me- this is the holidays! Who the heck has time to do master these? Thus I am going to share the world’s easiest Christmas treat ever. It is primed for tweaking- so tweak as needed. The recipe was originally a Martha Stewart recipe- but I lost it years ago, so forgive me Martha if it’s wrong. It still tastes great.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Rice Crispy cereal
Candy canes

1) Buy chocolate. You can use white, milk or dark. If you are the the wild and crazy type I’m guessing you could even mix the chocolate together in a UN world chocolate peace type statement. I tend to use the white because it looks pretty- but really use whatever floats your boat. How much chocolate you ask? How much bark do you want to make? (see how easy this already?) I buy mine in the bulk section of the supermarket. You can even use chocolate chips- but I find they are a bit waxy. It’s the holidays- spring for the good chocolate. Never scrooge on chocolate is a motto of mine.

2) Melt chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave, you can melt it on the stove top using a double boiler. Heck if you like, you could build a solar powered chocolate melter (otherwise known as leaving it in a patch of sun). I stick my giant metal bowl on top of a pan of water in a makeshift double boiler and it works for me.

3) Mix in Rice Crispy cereal: How much you ask? How much chocolate did you melt? I usually shake the box over the melted chocolate until it looks right. I’m guessing 2 cups. What you want is chocolate with rice crispy in it- not cereal barely coated. Here’s the beauty of the recipe again- it doesn’t have to be rice crispy cereal. You could toss in whatever floats your boat. Nuts? Dried fruit? Cheerios? Go wild- Martha is no longer watching so we can do whatever we want to her recipe.

4) Spread chocolate goo: I use a cookie sheet covered with either wax paper or tin foil with a bit of Pam spray on it. The chocolate is nuclear hot so I don’t advise spreading it with your bare hands. The stuff is like napalm- it will stick leaving you running around the kitchen holding your hands up screaming. Trust me- I speak from experience. I use the spatula myself. You want it to be a thin layer. If you made a lot you may need two cookie sheets. It doesn’t need to be even or tidy.

5) Crush candy canes: Take wrappers off candy canes, place into a Ziplock bag and then beat the hell out of them. Take out your frustrations with poor customer service at the store or a bad review and whack that bag. It’s very liberating. The goal is to have tiny pieces of candy cane. If it has been a bad week it is possible you will end up with candy cane dust. Either works fine. Again- if you don’t want to use candy canes you could crush some other hard candy- but then it isn’t peppermint bark any longer.

6) Squish candy cane bits into top of chocolate goo: Press them down a bit so that they stick.

7) Chill: You with a glass of wine, the chocolate goo in the fridge. If you need the chocolate RIGHT NOW then put it in the freezer.

8) Break chocolate bark into smaller pieces. Consume.

I make this by the vat this time of year. It’s simple, it’s tasty and it looks impressive. After all- the holidays are supposed to be fun.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

7 Replies to “Keeping it Simple by Deb Eileen”

  1. Eileen – thank you for my pre-breakfast laugh: “The stuff is like napalm- it will stick leaving you running around the kitchen holding your hands up screaming. Trust me- I speak from experience.”

    Happy Holidays everyone – hope santa brings you everything (and everyone) you wished for)!

  2. Ha! I love it. Such a simple, witty, delicious-sounding recipe! Last year I made some cookies that required beating the hell out of a baggie of candy canes, too. Excellent way to burn off holiday stress.

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