Monday, December 5, 2011

Easiest Holiday Candy

My 2 year old who just can't seem to let go of her "hammer", December 2011.
The easiest (and most beloved) Christmas candy we've made this year has been the by-product of the much more rigorous undertaking of making chocolate-covered candied orange peel.  Regular readers of this blog know that I've tried to make chocolate-covered candied orange peel several times this year already.  I'll write more about my latest attempt in a future post, but today I want to share the best candy-making process I've ever tried with the kids-- chocolate-peppermint bark.

My 2 year old daughter and I decided to make chocolate-peppermint bark with the leftover chocolate from the chocolate-covered candied orange peel we'd just finished making.  We had a lot of chocolate melted in the double-boiler and it seemed a shame to waste it.  I looked around the kitchen to see what we could dip in chocolate BESIDES the much labored over candied orange peel.

I considered graham crackers, but rejected them on the grounds that they were too hard to dip down into the bottom of the double-boiler.  And they didn't seem worth the effort.  We tried marshmallows first and in the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit that the girls loved them.  I, however, did not.  They kept dropping down into the chocolate and they were very hard to fish out of the quickly hardening chocolate.

It was at this point that I remembered we had a box of miniature candy canes stashed away in the upper cabinet.  We made white chocolate peppermint bark last year and gave it out to friends as holiday presents.  People either loved it or hated it based on the strength of their sweet tooth.  It takes a real sweets-lover to like white chocolate.

Annabel whacks the candy canes, Dec. 2011.
Dark chocolate is a crowd-pleaser and even my young daughters love it.  I realized we had a match made in heaven-- chocolate plus a reason to let my 2 year old whack candy with a meat tenderizer.  

My daughter had such a good time breaking up the chocolate that I had to stop her just as she was ripping a hole in the plastic bag we used to contain the peppermint shavings.  And by the time we'd finished sprinkling the melted chocolate with peppermint shards, she was still reaching for her beloved "hammer".  I had to hide it in a drawer to keep her from using it on the bananas in the fruit bowl.  Or the fruit bowl.