Crap! It’s Christmas Eve morning, our family party is in a few hours, and I don’t have a gift for my Great Aunt Stella! Please don’t suggest that I buy her a gift card. I did that last year and she looked really confused by it. Help!
Screwed in Schenectady
First of all, I would never suggest a gift card. Who do you think I am? Secondly, your panic is totally unwarranted: I am the Fairy Godmother of last-minute food gifts. Take a deep breath. Do you have $10? A way to get to the grocery store? A microwave? Then fear not. I present to you the world’s simplest, loveliest solution: Peppermint bark, which, provided Aunt Stella’s teeth are in relatively good working order, will come swiftly to your rescue.
Peppermint bark is pretty, yummy, and very easy and inexpensive to make. I break it into rough pieces, stack the pieces in clear plastic candy bags, and tie the bags with festive ribbon. It’s a nice gift for bosses, neighbors, teachers, and elderly aunties. Your salvation awaits below:
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- Two bags of white chocolate morsels (of course, you can substitute other kinds of chocolate)
- About 50 mini candy canes
- Optional: Clear plastic candy bags and ribbon for packing (available at Wal-Mart, Target, craft stores and the like)
- Put the candy canes in a food processor and pulse until they’re busted into smithereens; pull out a couple of handfuls of the biggest pieces and set them aside. Leave the rest in the food processor bowl. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, or simply need an outlet for some pent-up rage, you can always put the candy canes in a big plastic zip-top bag and smash the hell out of them with something heavy like a rolling pin (or a lead pipe, depending on your lifestyle).
- Put the white chocolate morsels in a glass bowl and microwave for a minute and a half; stir. Then microwave for 20-second bursts, stirring in between each burst until they’re totally melted.
- Mix the peppermint chunks from the food processor into the melted chocolate.
- Pour the mixture onto a foil or waxed paper-lined cookie sheet (or you could even just use a sheet of foil on the table if you’re without a cookie sheet).
- Use a rubber spatula to spread it out evenly (it should be about ¼ inch thick).
- Sprinkle the larger chunks of candy cane pieces over the top.
- Wait until it’s completely hardened (about 30-60 minutes; speed things up by popping the cookie sheet in the fridge) and break the white chocolate into chunks. Pieces that are ragged and uneven add to the charm, otherwise it wouldn’t be called bark; it would be called Boring Squares of Chocolate.
- Stack the pieces in clear plastic candy bags and tie them with a ribbon. Or, pile them on a plate and use clear plastic wrap and a ribbon to wrap them up all purdy.
Makes enough to fill about three candy bags with a little left over for you to have at home.