Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Candy cane themed holiday gift ideas

As promised, here are a few easy to make homemade holiday gift giving ideas. I've included one food item and one beauty care item in case you prefer one or both!

Layered peppermint barkI suspect I'm not the only one being bombarded by Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel catalogs all sporting delicious tins of chocolate peppermint bark. I've had the stuff from Williams Sonoma and it's mighty tasty, but for about $30 a pound, I knew I could do much better (Crate and Barrel's is something like $15 for 14 ounces).

So, even with using high quality Callebaut chocolate (on sale this week in the Seattle area at Town and Country Markets for $4.99 a pound) it's much, much cheaper to make it yourself.

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
6 candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Instructions
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Melt bittersweet chocolate in double boiler until it is melted and smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture onto cookie sheet. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate so that it is about 1/4 inch thick. Chill for about 15 minutes or until it is set.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler until it is melted and smooth. Cool until it is barely lukewarm (about 5 minutes). Pour the white chocolate onto the cooled bittersweet chocolate, using a spatula to spread out the chocolate to cover the first layer evenly.

Immediately sprinkle top layer with crushed candy canes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then chill just until firm, about 20 minutes. It can be broken apart or cut into rectangles. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or freeze. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

You can pack the bark in glass jars that are decorated with red ribbon and candy canes for a sweet touch.

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

Crushed candy canes are really just sugar right? So, why not add them to a sugar scrub to make a super festive beauty treat?

Ingredients
1 cup granulated white sugar
6 candy canes, finely crushed almost into a powder
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional - used as a preservative)
1 teaspoon cocoa butter (optional)
6 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions
Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place into a clean glass jar with a tight lid and add a fancy label. I highly recommend the 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars and wide mouth plastic storage lids.

25 comments:

Robj98168 said...

Great Ideas crunch- Except what do you do with a "sugar scrub"- looks like a dessert topping to me. But I don't know about those beauty secrets.

Alana said...

I'm afraid I'd want to eat the sugar scrub! Thanks for the recipes. Peppermint is my favorite!

badhuman said...

Peppermint bark tastes great in brownies and it's a great to dress brownies up for the holidays. It can also help you stretch your peppermint bark farther.

Jennifer said...

I made peppermint bark last Christmas for my co-workers... they loved it! It was so yummy.. and really easy, too! I mixed the candy cane into the white chocolate when I did it...

Jessica C. said...

I've been trying to think of good, inexpensive gifts for my coworkers. I think they are going to get getting Peppermint Bark :D

Stacy said...

All these sound marvelous! Love the scrub idea! All the scent of candy canes minus the cavities and extra calories!

Michelle said...

I love the sugar scrub idea. A snack and a shower all in one.

That peppermint bark looks delicious!

Anna Banana said...

OR you can stop getting catalogs by going to catalogchoice.com (or org, not sure)

SusanB said...

Thanks for these ideas. I love peppermint bark, but abhor the WS prices.

mudnessa said...

GREAT IDEA with the sugar scrub, I think I just figured out what I am making for my mom. Thank you.

rachel, pe said...

Have you been talking to Dan about my holiday gift ideas? I'm going to have to threaten him in order to get him from divulging my secrets. The peppermint bark is brilliant!

Abbie said...

Oh, that sugar scrub looks great! I bet it feels invigorating! Something to fall back on if all my gifts don't get finished (knitted, crocheted, sewed) on time...

Latigo Liz said...

YUMMY!

TAG!

The Pear Project said...

I am making calendar’s with this simple template : quick, easy & cheap! I did the same last year so now I’m making it a tradition :) http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18179169

Knit2dye4 said...

Both of these look wonderful! How did you make the scrub look swirled in the photo?

nadhsamuel said...

what a good idea!

Amanda said...

Mmmm. Peppermint bark is on my Christmas Candy list this year too, at the special request of my husband. That sugar scrub looks awsome too!

Chris said...

For a cookie party this afternoon, I'm making these Chocolate-Espresso-Pepper cookies (http://tinyurl.com/6ffvrh), but rolling them in crushed candy cane instead of sugar. My five-year-old's idea, I have to admit.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever have a problem with the white chocolate and chocolate separating when you cut it? I love this recipe but have made 2 batches and they both did this. Help!

Crunchy Chicken said...

If the top layer is too cool when you add it, the two layers won't get that melty adhesion you need. Also, if there's any moisture on the bottom layer (from being in the fridge) you can have issues with separation.

Some people prefer to break the bark up rather than cut it to avoid the layers from splitting apart. It seems to happen less when you break them.

Christy said...

I had the same problem with the layers separating. It is frustrating since this was supposed to be gifts but is now just a mess. I guess I'll try again tomorrow.

Ellen said...

Thank you so much for the scrub idea! It is perfect for 9+ teachers my 3 kids have! Thank you!!! (My daughter and I made it tonight and we can't wait til bathtime to try it out on ourselves! It smells heavenly.

mamamel said...

I am totally making this peppermint scrub for Christmas gifts. Thanks for the excellent idea!

Jenn said...

I love these ideas, especially the sugar scrub. I would have never thought of making one of of candy canes...brilliant!

Lori aka Groovy Green Livin said...

I am going to give the peppermint bark a try-I like the idea of adding it to brownies. Thanks for sharing!

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