Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas treats

On Sunday I decided to try my hand at some recipes that I thought were easy and tasty.  These were made to put on some pretty Christmas trays I purchased earlier in the week for my neighbors.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the trays put together.  By the time it was all said and done I just wanted to get them delivered to our neighbors and out of my kitchen.  I blame the Peppermint Bark!  More on that in a few.

DSC00740This first recipe  I made was Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge that I saw on the blog For the Love of Cooking.  This recipe was sooo easy and good.  I didn't think I even liked fudge.  I do!  Don't mind that piece on the far left it was a corner piece.  My square pans don't have sharp right corners. They're rounded.

I also made Oreo Cookie Bark.  If you like white chocolate and oreos than this is a must try for you!  It is very good but quite sweet so consume with caution.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of it and I don't have a specific recipe to pass along.  Here's what I did....I  cut up a bunch of Oreos and set them a side.  After melting white candy coating following the package instructions I folded the oreo pieces into it.  After it was all incorporated  I poured it into a wax paper lined pan. I determine how big or small a pan I need based on the amount of white chocolate and Oreos I use.  You can also vary the thickness of the bark with the size of the pan as well.   You could get crazy and kick it some up by drizzling the finished bark with some dark chocolate or you could swirl dark chocolate and white chocolate in the pan then sprinkle it with your Oreo pieces.  This is a very forgiving "recipe".  There really isn't a wrong way.  The most difficult part (for me) is melting the white chocolate which is why I've gotten into using the white candy melts or almond bark candy coating.  It's much easier but probably not as tasty if I was to use true white chocolate.  More on my white chocolate dilemma to come.

 DSC00742From the blog the Pioneer Woman  I made Candy Cookies.  I know you're tired of hearing this but this recipe is darn easy, not as easy as the Oreo Cookie Bark but almost.  The hardest part was unwrapping all the candy to push down into the center of the cookies after they came out of the oven.  The Pioneer Woman has a lot of different combinations but the combos I used were Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough with Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Kisses.  These were pretty good warm from the oven but I didn't care for them after they were at room temperature.  The cookie part just wasn't that good.  The kids and Joe liked them well enough but I won't be making them again.  The other and winning combo was Pillsbury's refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough and Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups.  These were wonderful warm out of the oven and were still very good later on at room temperature.  

The last recipe I made was the Peppermint Bark found on The Hungry   DSC00745Housewife.  I'll be honest everything was going along smoothly until I had to melt the white chocolate then all you know what broke loose.  Really just the white chocolate but it felt like the other.  The first bag lumped together.  I washed out the double boiler, reread the directions thinking I might  have missed something (I didn't) and started again.  Because I had already messed up one bag of white chocolate chips I wasn't going down without a fight! I tried everything I could remember reading about melting the chips. added shortening, I tried a splash of heavy cream, letting it harden and then trying to melt  it in the microwave, nothing worked which in hindsight was probably a good thing as I messed with it so much I'm sure it was pretty yucky.  If I was a cursing woman  I would have made a sailor blush!  On my third try and final bag I was able to get the chips to melt somewhat so that I was finally able to smear it onto my peppermint flavored chocolate.  Unfortunately because the white chocolate never reached a pourable consistency I needed to melt a little more white chocolate to cover the bottom chocolate layer.  My other though smaller problem with the white chocolate was, it harden so fast most of my candy cane pieces wouldn't stick! I had to "glue" on the bigger pieces.  Finally done, right?!  Yes!  Noooo, I lift the  bark out and try to cut and break off pieces to place on my trays but it just wasn't happening for me.  The wretched layers were separating!!!!   This should have been an a no brainer recipe for me.  What happened?  Needless to say this didn't make it onto my trays.   I put it back into the pan and then into the refrigerator to messed with later.  Here's what I found out in my quest to master Peppermint Bark.  Before placing the white chocolate layer on top of the peppermint chocolate one I need to make certain there is no moisture on it. (Thanks, Leslie!) Cutting the bark works better than breaking it apart.  When melting white chocolate  make certain it's white chocolate.  The first two bags I used were by Nestle and they were white chips not chocolate. Make certain DSC00747the heat is LOW!  I will be giving this another go but first I'm gonna give it a few days!  Oh, yes, and despite the fact that I had issues it didn't effect the taste. It was GOOD!  I've never had William Sonoma's so as far as I'm concerned mine was just as good even if it wasn't quite as pretty!

*Don't ask about the first Peppermint Bark photo.  I was trying to be creative using Picasa and that's what I got (not sure what I did).  Somehow I also managed to erase the original!

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