As a kid, I spent many December hours making candy with my family: caramels, buckeyes, chocolate pizzas, and peppermint bark. While my parents did most of the heavy lifting (constantly stirring the caramels and instructing us on what step came next) my sisters and I did our parts: wrapping the caramels, adding nuts to some, sprinkling toppings on, or whatever odd job we were assigned according to our skill level or age.
Today, some of those memories (and scents) came back as we brought Audrey into the kitchen for our own candy adventure. Last year, I took note of a recipe that sounded good, but that we had no time to squeeze into our baby-could-be-born-any-minute schedule. I was just reminded of the recipe this week, and four seemed like the perfect age to include Audrey into the peppermint-smashing, chocolate-dipping, finger-licking exercise of family candy making. The recipe was Three-Layer Peppermint Bark posted on the Orangette blog. I had seen this recipe referenced on more than one blog, so I expected it to be good, but oh my. You know how they say, you are what you eat? Well, there are days when I could be a chocolate truffle. This peppermint bark? It's part peppermint bark, part truffle. Part crisp white chocolate, part crunchy peppermint candy, and part chocolate ganache. And, um, slightly reminiscent of an Andes mint. We're big fans.
We decided to encore our peppermint bark with some chocolate covered pretzels, which Audrey doesn't want to stop eating. And, Jason found a way to take our candy making one step further. He crushed up some extra peppermint candies and put them in an empty spice container. He sprinkled a few of the chocolate-covered pretzels and saved the rest to pour into hot chocolate. I have a feeling it's going to be a sweet Christmas.