If I'm being honest, Christmas just didn't feel the same this year for me. I never published a Christmas Home Tour, Part 2. Nor did I do a bow tying tutorial for that matter (I will soon, though, just need to schedule time with my resident film maker!) I didn't bake as much for friends or family either. In fact sugar cookies are on the docket for today because I never did get around to making any and the requests are at an all time high! :) The whole holiday season went by far too quickly and even though I wasn't rushing about or stressing over last minute preparations, I didn't get that magical Christmas feeling with the same intensity as I usually do. It was still a happy month for sure, with joyful anticipation and grateful hearts, just taken down a notch. For the first time ever I wasn't heart broken to put away our decorations. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why, but 2016 is here now and we are moving on. Well, after this post at least, then it's on to focusing on the year ahead!
^^ I did use lots of satin gold ribbon this year on wreaths and packages. (source here) I loved the idea of using blue at Christmas, it feels fresh and looks so pretty with greenery. The craft boxes (source) were for cookies, the small blue boxes were used for peppermint bark. I use them for my decorating business when sending fabric samples to clients but I knew they would be great for wrapping up flat shaped treats too. I buy the boxes wholesale in bulk, similar style here.^^
^^ I absolutely adore these chef medallions from Felix Doolittle, perfect for anytime of year and would be such a cute gift for any cooks in your life. ^^
^^ I bought mini wreaths and glue gunned a navy rick rack ribbon (ribbon from Walmart) on them and then glue gunned them to gingham gift tags. On the back I wrote what was inside. I bought the gift tags on clearance at Paper Source at the end of summer last year. You could easily make them using gingham scrapbook paper or cardstock sold at craft stores. The mini wreaths were from Michaels.^^
^^ The boxes were lined with gingham food safe paper from the Container Store.^^
Recipe | Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
(source: adapted from Bon Appetit: The Christmas Season cookbook)
17 ounces good quality white chocolate
30 red and white striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (note: I used Whole Foods candy canes instead, place in freezer size ziplock back and gently crush with meat mallet or rolling pin)
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
6 TBS whipping cream
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
Turn a large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark a 12 x 9 inch rectangle on the foil. Stir white chocolate in a metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup of melted chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermint. Chill for 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet, cream and peppermint extract in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using spatula, spread into an even layer. Refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl over simmering water. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer, spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining peppermint candy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Lift foil with bark on it to a cutting board and cut bark crosswise into 2 inch wide strips, slide bark off foil and cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles (or cut bark into whatever shapes you like - like I did!! :)) Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container. Let stand at room temp for 10 minutes before serving if you like, I prefer it straight from the fridge. They are so good and very addictive!