Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Bark and New Orleans Gift of the Magi

Peppermint Bark 
AKA Christmas Crack 

12 oz dark chocolate
12 oz white chocolate
6-8 candy canes
Peppermint Extract
Almond Extract, I used my secret ingredient arak instead.

Unwrap candy canes and place in a ziplock bag. Smash candy canes with a hammer. Set aside.

Melt dark chocolate.  Stir frequently and blend in a half teaspoon mint and half teaspoon peppermint extract. *Use just a sliver of butter if chocolate is congealing. I also mixed in some dust from the candy canes I smashed. Pour onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Set aside in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While the chocolate is hardening in the refrigerator, melt the white chocolate.  Stir frequently and blend in a half tablespoon (or less) butter to keep it from hardening. Pour in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract with a half teaspoon almond or arak extract. Blend in peppermint chunks.

Pour white chocolate mixture over hardened dark chocolate. Cool for 45 minutes.

Break and Enjoy! 

Getting into the Christmas Spirit
Christmas is about giving, not getting ... 

I have been under a lot of work stress lately. And as I count down the days to deadline, I have been planning a spectacular day to get me in the Christmas Spirit after I turn in my big oral history project.

The plan goes something like this: Watch Love Actually while I wrap presents and have a spiked hot cocoa. Then try some Christmas nail art and read Holidays on Ice while I dry ...

This sounds like the best day ever, mostly due to the present wrapping. My favorite part of Christmas has always been the wrapping and the giving.

And, in the spirit of giving, I would like to share one of my most favorite New Orleans holiday traditions with you. Full disclosure, I cannot watch this video without sobbing.  Every year, WWL New Orleans anchor Phil Johnson told O. Henry's Gift of the Magi on Christmas Eve. When Phil Johnson retired, they rebroadcast his poignant editorial.  And, after his death, his thoughtful rendition still airs on Christmas Eve. Please take the two minutes to watch this lovely video and reflect on the loved ones you share Christmas with, not the things you buy them.

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