Technically you can make a chocolate bark by melting chocolate and throwing whatever you like in it. While you may really like the taste of anchovies and crushed Kit Kats, I am thinking the recipients of your holiday bark may prefer something a little more mainstream and festive. Even though I have made many a different bark over the years, this peppermint marble bark is my go to favorite.
I use Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate and Baker’s White Chocolate if I can find it. Most stores don’t seem to carry the white chocolate, and if not I prefer to use Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips. This recipe has a really great taste and I recommend sticking with the semi-sweet chocolate, and sticking with the Baker’s brand. You will need 1 package of each.
Not only is this a great tasting and impressive looking bark, it allows you to get out some of your holiday frustrations. You will need a cup of crushed candy canes or peppermint starlight candies and the best way to crush them, is to smash them. I put a bunch in a plastic bag and have at them with a wooden mallet. Instant stress relief. And an instant mess if you use a thin plastic bag.
Once you are done annihilating your mints, line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Microwave the semi-sweet and white chocolates in separate bowls. Start with a minute, stir the chocolate, and continue in 30 second intervals until melted. Be careful with the white chocolate because it can burn easily.
Stir half of the crushed mints into each bowl of chocolate. Drop spoonfuls of each chocolate close to each other on the baking sheet and smooth the chocolate to the thickness you prefer. Once all the chocolate is laid out, use a knife to swirl the chocolates together to marbleize them.
Refrigerate the bark until firm, and then just break into pieces. Store in an air tight container.
These melting snowmen cookies bring instant smiles to children and adults. They actually make me giggle, but I am easily amused. I am not going to lie though, they are a pain in the neck to make, but the reaction you get from them is worth it. When you are about to make these cookies set yourself out a chunk of time, put on some music, and pour yourself a large cup of coffee because you are in it for the long haul. I’m exaggerating slightly, but they are time consuming.
I found this recipe on-line years ago, but after many different attempts at making these I have settled on a slightly different version. If you look you on-line you will see that people do these all different ways. However, I think mine are the best 😉
I know I have said before that I always make my cookies from scratch, but these are my one exception. If this recipe was the only cookie I was making I may be tempted to make a homemade sugar cookie, but I make so many different varieties around the holidays that I just cut corners on this one. They take so long to put together and they are more about the cuteness than about the taste anyway.
So the first thing I do is cut open the roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough and bake the cookies. Once they are done they need to cool completely before decorating. The good thing about this recipe is that you can bake the cookies hours or even a day before and decorate them when you are ready.
You will need a bag of large marshmallows for the heads. They look better if you cut off one end of the marshmallow. Since I hate to waste food, I usually munch on the ends that aren’t needed. Or you could save them and put them in hot chocolate? I prefer to just eat them.
Once those are done you will need orange sprinkles long enough to be the carrot nose. If you can’t find just orange sprinkles, you will need to fish through a container of colored sprinkles which is what I typically end up doing. Even though I have seen multicolored carrots before, I haven’t yet gotten to the point where my snowmen have had purple and yellow noses. All you need to do is push the orange sprinkle into the marshmallow far enough until it stays.
When I first tried making these cookies I used black decorator’s gel for the eyes and mouth. Personally I find that it is not only easier to use a food marker, but I think it looks better. By food marker I do not mean a Sharpie, they sell edible markers at craft stores. I like to make a circle for the mouth to give it a “oh no I’m melting” look. You could make a smiley face, but I’m pretty sure that snowmen would not be too happy about melting. Frosty never seemed to be anyway.
Now it’s time to make the melting snow. The first year I made these cookies I used a store bought icing. The next year I purchased a different icing that didn’t work well, and instead of running out to the store I decided to just make my own icing instead. That is what I have continued to do since then.
Mix together 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 2 tsps. milk until smooth. Beat in 2 tsps. of corn syrup until it looks smooth and glossy. If it is too thick, add a little more corn syrup.
I use a spoon to drop some icing onto one side of the cookie, and then tilt the cookie while turning it so that it looks like melted snow. I also like to let a little run off of the sides. Make sure to stick on the marshmallow heads before the icing sets, the icing acts as a glue to hold the heads in place. Make sure the icing really sets before you finish decorating.
Originally I also tried using black gel for the arms but had difficulty with those as well, and decided to just use the food markers. I am not really sure why I seem to have so much difficulty with such things, maybe it’s just me. If you are more skilled than I am with decorator’s frosting or gel, you may decide to use that instead. If you decide to use the food markers, you have to use a very light touch because it cracks through the icing.
The last step is using gel to make a scarf. Then let the smiles and giggles begin!
When we moved into our home 13 years ago, our neighbor baked us a bundt cake. I don’t remember what frosting it had on it, I only remember the cake was fantastic. Come to find out it is the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa container. Believe me when I say, this cake, really takes the cake!
It is the only chocolate cake I will make, and have made since then. I usually make it as a bundt cake, but have made cupcakes and a sheet cake over the years as well. It has been the only cake my daughter requests on her birthday for I don’t even know how long. And since her birthday was 4 days ago, I just made one!
When the cake is for my daughter, I just use Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Glaze recipe. When it’s for someone else, I put Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Glaze on top of the vanilla glaze. My daughter isn’t a big fan of chocolate glaze, that’s why I don’t make it for her, not because I don’t think she’s worthy lol.
** A few tips, first make sure to sift the dry ingredients, especially when using cocoa powder. Also, I use water from the tap because mine gets really hot. I have used it when it didn’t get quite as hot, and the recipe doesn’t work well.
Here is the link to the cake recipe, or you can take it right off of the container.
The glaze recipes are from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook, which I received as a wedding shower gift in 1998. It’s always been my “go to” cookbook. They are not on-line, and I don’t like the ones I’m finding on-line as much as these. So to save time, I took a picture of the ones in my cookbook.
I’ve spent the last four days home sick with a pretty miserable cold. My husband is such a caring man, and he will run out at any time to get us whatever we need, but this weekend he topped it all. He went to the store to get me chicken soup and when he came home with a few different varieties, he also said “I bought the ingredients to the lemon soup you make in case you feel like making it”. I couldn’t even get mad, it was just so funny. Needless to say, I didn’t make the soup. Nice try.
However, I am feeling a little better today and since he bought the ingredients for Avgolemono, I decided to make it. I love this soup mostly because it reminds me of my grandmother. This isn’t her recipe, but I have been using it for about 20 years since I cut it out of a Cooking Light magazine.
The recipe didn’t call for chicken, but I always add maybe about a cup or more of shredded cooked chicken. I can’t find the recipe on-line, so here it is – enjoy!
Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Soup)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup hot cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper (or more depending on taste)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
Heat broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add hot broth mixture and lemon juice to eggs, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return egg mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until slightly thick (about 15 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in rice, chicken, salt, and pepper.