Christmas Candy-Easy peppermint bark
This year I have jumped into the deep water of candy making. I spent almost my entire goodie budget on chocolate – good chocolate –very good chocolate! The confection is o good ($$$) in fact that I wrapped every gift and baked every cookie in order to avoid what could be failure. Good chocolate, you see, must be tempered, a process that takes some practice when it is to be used as a dipping chocolate. Failure would mean that my candy could look dull or streaked or worse, the product of an amateur. Finally I put on my big girl pants and did it! I made photographs as I went along so I could share my experience with you. Of course, if it had gone badly, I would not have had to tell you, would I?
If you know me, you know that I never approach a new skill by trying the simplest project. I usually start at the top and work down. Thirty years of experience wants me to advise you not to do as I do.
If you wish to start your adventure into Candyland with a simple project, I suggest you begin with the trendy peppermint bark which can be accomplished by simply melting white chocolate, spreading it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, allowing it to cool slightly and sprinkling the top with crushed peppermint. When it completely cools, break it into random shapes.
TIPS for Peppermint Bark:
· Use quality chocolate, either white, milk, or dark. The amount does not matter as long as you have enough peppermint to cover it.
· Use a double boiler to melt chocolate. Some recipes suggest using the microwave, but I advise against it. First, I think microwaved food is of the devil, and secondly it is VERY easy to burn chocolate. If you took my advice and used the good stuff, you surely would not want to waste it. You can create a double boiler by using a glass or metal bowl that fits a pot that you already own. Be sure that the steam does not escape around the sides as a steam burn will ruin your day.
· Place the upper container which contains the chocolate over the pot which has about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Heat it without allowing the water to touch the bottom of your upper container – steam only. Stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted.
· Buy the large candy canes to crush. Some type of Dollar Store is the best place to look. Put them in a gallon-sized freezer bag on a hard surface and beat them(good time for venting) with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer. Well, actually you can crush them too much. You don’t want candy sand, but neither do you want huge chunks of peppermint.
TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY, amazing chocolate truffles!!