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Sunday, December 5, 2021

CHOCOLATE BARKS FOR SANTA AND FRIENDS!

Just 3 weeks until Christmas, and you might still need to make a gift or have treats ready for Santa. I can't think of anything easier or more versatile than Chocolate Bark. What do you have in your pantry? Well, chocolate, of course, and you can add anything to the chocolate, and voila! instant Treats! Package your bark nicely in a tin, and you have a gift for Auntie Em! Put it on the table for Santa, along with cookies and milk, and he'll love it!

So here are recipes for a variety of Chocolate Holiday Barks! Let's face it, you can never have enough barks! Woof!

1. White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients
1 pound white chocolate
candy canes, crushed to make 1/2 cup

Directions
Heat white chocolate in double boiler over low heat until melted.
Add crushed candy cane to white chocolate. Make sure white chocolate stays warm.
Pour mixture onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet, spreading very thinly with spatula.
Place cookie sheet in freezer until  mixture has hardened.
Take out of freezer and crack bark into small pieces.
Remove from wax paper and store at room temperature.

2. Microwave White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients
1 pound white chocolate
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Directions
Place chocolate in microwave-safe dish. Microwave on 50% power, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and of creamy consistency.
Stir in crushed candy canes.
Spread on cookie sheet and place in the freezer until set (about 20 minutes).
Break into pieces.

3. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients
12 ounces high quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water).
Remove from heat, add peppermint extract and stir.
Pour melted chocolate onto cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with spatula or wooden spoon.
Sprinkle peppermint candy chunks on chocolate and gently press in with hands.
Put in freezer until hardened (5 minutes).
Break into pieces. Store in fridge in an airtight container.

And, here are two recipes for festive holiday barks that feature red --and red and green--in the bark.

4. Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Ginger Bark

Ingredients
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp crystallized ginger
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tsp sea salt

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water.
Remove saucepan with melted chocolate from stove and stir in crystallized ginger and half of pomegranate seeds.
Line baking sheet with parchment. Pour melted chocolate mixture onto sheet. Using a spatula smooth chocolate into even layer about 1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle with remaining pomegranate seeds and sea salt.
Chill 20-30 minutes (until firm).
Break into pieces and store in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.
Serve same day, if possible.

5. Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark
This recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I love the innovative recipes on the website and blog, and, of course, King Arthur Flour's great products! This recipe is very festive with red cranberries and crunchy pecans...and it uses both white and dark chocolate layers.

Ingredients
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted diced pecans
2- 2/3 cups chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
2- 2/3 cups chopped white chocolate, melted

Directions
Toss cranberries and pecans together. Set them aside.
Melt dark chocolate (in the top of a double boiler--see above), and spread into 8" x 12" oval on parchment paper.
Allow chocolate to set, but not harden completely.
Melt white chocolate (in the top of a double boiler-see above) and mix with about 3/4 cup of cranberries and pecans. Spread this over dark chocolate.
Sprinkle rest of nuts and fruit on top, pressing them in gently.
Refrigerate for about 10 minutes--no more than 20-- until hardened, then break into chunks.

6. Whiskey Marshmallow and Caramel Bacon Bark from Bakers Royale

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Cartoon of the Day: Cookies!

 Happy National Cookie Day! 



BUTTER PECAN TURTLE COOKIES: Irresistably Good Holiday Cookie Made Easy: National Cookie Day!

Today is National Cookie Day, and it's a great day to get a head-start on those holiday cookies. I love Retro Ads with Recipes, and this one is especially fun for the holidays. Note the wreath in the window, and the Tagline: "Land O Lakes Butter Pecan Turtles. The irresistibly good Holiday Cookie Made Easy."

Of course, being a Land O Lakes advertisement, it's all about butter! I love to bake with butter. These Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies are delicious. And, there are no calories! Right?

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

Crust 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter, softened

Caramel Layer 
2/3 cups Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions 
Preheat Oven to 350°.
In 3 quart bowl combine crust ingredients. Mix at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl often, 2-3 minutes or until well mixed and particles are fine. Pat firmly into ungreased 13x9x2" pan.
Sprinkle pecans evenly over unbaked crust.

Prepare caramel layer
In heavy 1-quart saucepan combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil 1/2 to 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Pour Caramel Layer evenly over pecans and crust.
Bake near center of 350° oven for 18-22 minutes, or until entire caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light golden brown.
Remove from oven.
Immediately sprinkle with chips. Allow chips to melt slightly (2-3 minutes). Slightly swirl chips as they melt; leave some whole for a marbled effect. Do not spread chips.
Cool completely; Cut into 3-4 dozen bars.

Friday, December 3, 2021

CRISCO CHRISTMAS CAKE: Retro Advertisement with recipe

Crisco was standard in our pantry when I was growing up, and I've posted about Crisco several times on this blog. Here's a Retro Crisco Christmas Cake Ad --but since this is a chocolate blog, I'm also posting the 'same' ad for a Crisco Chocolate Cake. Everything in the Ad is pretty much the same, except the color and frosting. Very Retro Advertising.





RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE CRISCO CAKE

STEP 1 — Measure (all measurements level): 2 cups sifted cake flour, 1-2/3 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1/2 cup Crisco, 3 squares melted chocolate, 2/3 cup milk. Mix thoroughly by hand (300 strokes) or by mixer (medium speed) for 2 minutes.

STEP 2 — Add 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs (2/3 cup). Mix thoroughly another 2 minutes. Pour batter into two 9″ layer pans (1-1/2″ deep) which have been “Criscoed” or lined with paper. (For smaller pans, fill half full, bake remaining batter in cup cakes.)

Bake in moderate oven 350°F. about 35-40 minutes.