Tag Archives: white chocolate

Peppermint Bark

It’s hard to stay away from holiday treats and Peppermint Bark is no exception.  Williams-Sonoma features a Peppermint Bark during the holidays that has to be, if not the best, one of the top two or three.  But at $29.00 per pound, well, I have to say, I can’t afford it.  Neither can my waistline so it’s probably better that way.  Between eggnog, coquitos and peppermint bark, December is usually the time of a losing battle for me.  I tried my hand at making my own bark and after quite a few attempts have come to a few conclusions.  Since most days in south Florida range from the high-70’s to the mid-80’s, chocolate is NOT going to firm up on your counter.  And if there is any humidity what so ever, and here there always is, the crushed peppermints will weep, bleed and stick all over everything.  I yearned for the “snap” of commercial chocolate when broken apart and learned that tempering chocolate is not enough.

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Tempering chocolate produces glossy, flawless chocolate that when bitten into breaks off with a snap.  Essentially, you’re raising and lowering the temperature of the dark, milk or white chocolate in order to make it behave properly…melt in your mouth not in your hand.  I tempered chocolate all day long yesterday and between the rain and heat of the day let’s just say ain’t no “snap” in MY chocolate!  That said I will move forward and skip the tempering process.  I also discovered that a decent quality white chocolate must be used, one high in cocoa butter.  White chocolate chips do not melt.  At least not for me.  Not in the microwave, over a double boiler or in the oven.   So.  Get thee good quality chocolate bars, for instance Guittard, not chips, especially when melting white chocolate.  When melting the chocolate make absolutely certain that not one drop of water comes into contact with it as it will seize up and become unworkable.  Take your time melting it.  Chocolate is delicate and can become grainy and lumpy if melted too quickly over high heat.  The water in the double boiler should be kept at a simmer and should never touch the bottom of the chocolate bowl as it can scorch easily.  As the chocolate begins to melt, stir frequently with a rubber spatula.  Take the bowl off the pot when the chocolate has almost completely melted and only a few small lumps remain.  Continue stirring off the heat until smooth.  I also found leaving the candy cane crumbles in a closed baggie will keep it from weeping and sticking to everything like all your fingers, the counter and the floor instead of the darn bark.  And last of all move fast.  Have your tray or large baking sheet well covered with parchment paper.  Pull out a wooden skewer and keep it close to the baking sheet alongside the crushed candy cane.  Merry Christmas!

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Peppermint Bark

  • Servings: 2 pounds
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 1 pound white chocolate bars, chopped or broken into pieces, NOT chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes
  1. Place 1″-2″ of water in the bottom of a  double boiler or pot and bring to a boil.  When the water comes to a boil drop the temperature and let water simmer.
  2. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl which fits snugly over the top of a pot or sauce pan.
  3. With a rubber spatula stir the chocolate until almost completely melted.  Take off of the heat, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and continue stirring until shiny and smooth.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and smooth to the thickness and shape you desire using an offset spatula.
  5. Melt the white chocolate in the same manner.  When the white chocolate has melted completely, add 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, mix in well and spoon over dark chocolate leaving space in between the chocolates.
  6. Using the blunt end of a wooden skewer, make designs and curlicues in the two chocolates by dragging the skewer from the middle of the candy to the outer edges.
  7. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the bark and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until hard.
  8. Break the bark slab into pieces and chill until serving.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

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Lemon Lavender Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate

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How many times is a kindness extended to you and a grateful “thank you!” just isn’t quite enough?  I don’t know about you but it happens to me quite often.  From your manicurist who graciously fits you in for that emergency mani when she clearly doesn’t have the time to the seamstress at your dry cleaner who will have your LBD back to you altered and pressed in time for the funeral your weight gain didn’t take into consideration.  These acts of generosity are evident time and again in my day-to-day life and in the lives of my loved ones.  My 93-year-old father has a whole support group who work at Publix and make the quality of his life much better from engaging him in conversation to helping him choose the most nutritious almond milk.  Kesha and David can’t replace my mother but their attentions make him feel valued and respected.  I can certainly tip the skycap who didn’t charge me when my suitcase was four pounds over last week but I don’t have the money to do that for someone I deal with on a weekly basis.  That’s when I put together a pretty bag of goodies.  Here in Boston a certain dental office bent over backwards to take care of us during a little “cosmetic” emergency.  I wanted to say thank you not only to the dentist who saved the day but also to his staff who got us in ASAP and treated us with the utmost warmth and concern.  I thought most definitely wine for the kind doctor and how about a sweet treat for the wonderful ladies at the front desk?  Our apartment is fabulous but I am really limited as to cooking and baking tools.  I brought my knives and sharpener from home and picked up a few essentials on Newbury Street…bowls, spatulas etc.  I always set aside an empty wine bottle in the kitchen in the event I need a rolling-pin.  But I don’t have a food processor or hand mixer.  I decided on biscotti since I don’t need any special equipment, they’re easy to prepare and travel well.  Dunk them in coffee or vin santo.  Grab one for breakfast or a snack on the fly.  This recipe produces a firm biscotti but not one that will break a tooth.  They seem a bit soft when taken out of the oven for the final cooling but will harden sufficiently by the time they’re completely cool.  Enjoy them and thank you!

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Lemon Lavender Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate

  • Servings: approximately 20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lemons, zest both and juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried EDIBLE lavender flowers, rough chop optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 ounces white chocolate
  1. In a large bowl combine lemon zest and juice, sugar, butter, lemon and vanilla extracts and eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl mix flour, lavender, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add flour mixture to lemon-egg mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Cut dough into equal halves and spray a little non-stick pan spray on hands to keep dough from sticking.
  7. Form dough into rectangular logs measuring roughly 11 X 4 X 1.  Smooth tops and sides.
  8. Bake 25 minutes and cool on racks for 10-15 minutes.
  9. With a bread knife or serrated knife cut logs on the diagonal about 1 1/2″ thick.
  10. Reduce heat to 325°, place cookies cut side up back on parchment lined baking sheets and bake 5 minutes.
  11. Turn over cookies baking the other cut side 5 more minutes.
  12. Cool on wire racks.  Cookies will seem soft when just out of oven but will firm up as they cool.
  13. Melt white chocolate over double boiler.  When chocolate has almost but not quite melted completely drizzle over cookies or dip in one end of each cookie.  Or dip one cut side.  Place on parchment paper to set.  If white chocolate cools and thickens while working with it place back in double boiler and stir until warm and easy to work with.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen .com

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