Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Candy cane themed holiday gift ideas

Here is a repost of 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


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

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?

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

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.


Tree Huggin Momma said...

I love both of these recipes and will be making both. The peppermint bark for DH and the scrub for the girls and me!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try the sugar scrub recipe. Thanks for posting!

Bucky said...

The sugar scrub looks entirely edible.

Is that some sort of nasty holiday sex thing you straight people play with?

EngineerChic said...

Trader Joes has something evilly good called Candy Cane Jo Jos that are basically oreos with crushed candy canes in the filling. I've thought about making the homemade Oreos (from the kitchn website) and adding in some candy canes, since that way they could be more natural & definitely peanut free.

Just a thought if you wanted more ways to use up pulverized candy canes...

Green Bean said...

Made the peppermint bark last year several times - mostly with Trader Joes white chocolate and some fair trade chocolate. OMG! Delicious and easy.

Greenpa said...

Candy canes are just sugar?? What about all that red??

Dollars to donuts it's good ol' Red #40.

Which, we discovered about a year ago, turns Smidgen into a rampaging ADHD kid. In like 20 seconds.

Not sure if that qualifies as a toxin- but...

It's a bit of a problem for us; we really can't use standard cookie sprinkles. Trying to figure out if I can, like, dip some turbinado in beet syrup, or something...

Crunchy Chicken said...

Well, Greenpa, you really shouldn't be eating the sugar scrub. And, if you are, you have bigger problems to worry about than the food coloring. Like food choice issues. Plus, you can get candy canes with natural colorants in them if you do plan on turning it into a dessert.

Kimberly said...

Yum! This year, the adults in our family vowed to give as many "consumable" high quality gifts as possible to reduce clutter year round. The Peppermint Bark is a perfect recipe for this project. Thanks for sharing.