Peppermint Chocolate Cherry Almond Bark

Who doesn't love chocolate.. and what better, than to make it and give it away as gifts! In 
my home it's a tradition to start our baking when the kids have Thanksgiving break. This week
our youngest was off earlier than usual so here we are, celebrating mom and daughter time and looking forward to the holidays with Peppermint Chocolate Cherry Almond Bark. 


This is the easiest candy to make.. you don't even need a candy thermometer, which I love. Every year when I pull mine out to use, it's either broken or just not calculating the correct temperature. So voila!! No stress about running out to grab a thermometer.. this time! While I have a link to Callebaut chocolates, you can use another good quality chocolate, I think Ghirardelli Chocolates are yummy too. Quite a few years ago I was fortunate enough to find this chocolate in a local candy making store and I fell in love with the taste and texture. Oh my.. it's so buttery and smooth! I hope you enjoy.. Buon Appetito and Happy Holidays!!

Ingredients
1 block good quality dark chocolate (minus a few extra squares)
1 block good quality milk chocolate (minus a few extra squares)
* a few extra squares of chocolate for tempering
1 cup white chocolate nibs or chips
2 tsp. solid coconut oil (you can use vegetable oil also)
1 cup crushed peppermint candies
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cherries
Offset spatula
Baking sheet covered with parchment paper
Wooden skewer or knife


Directions
1. In a heat proof bowl, add your white chocolate nibs and 1 tsp. of coconut oil. Heat for 1 minute in microwave oven. Stir and heat again for 30 seconds. Stir again and it should be ready.
2. On the stove top in a heavy duty pan, add 1 tsp. of coconut oil and all but a few blocks of the dark and milk chocolate. *The saved chocolate will be used for tempering. Heat on medium low heat so the chocolate melts slowly without it scorching.
3. When chocolate is melted, take it off the heat and add a few of the extra chocolate squares.
Stir till incorporated.
4. On prepared baking sheet, pour your dark/milk chocolate blend onto the paper. With the offset spatula smooth it out across the paper to fill the parchment.
5. With a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate horizontally across the dark chocolate to create lines.
((Pictured below))
6. With your skewer or knife, run up and down through the white and dark chocolates to create the swirl pattern. ((Pictured below))
7. Sprinkle Peppermint candies, dried cherries and chopped almonds on top.
8. Chill in refrigerator till firm. Cut diagonally or in long strips, or for a rough look, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. 


Quite a few years ago I was fortunate enough to find Callebaut Chocolate in a local candy 
making store, and I fell in love with the taste and texture. 

   Pour the white chocolate horizontally across the dark chocolate to create lines. 
   With your skewer or knife, run up and down through the white and dark chocolates to       create the swirl pattern.



















































Two Toned Cocoa and Amaretto Pizzelles


Pizzelles.. they are the quintessential Italian treat that look wonderful plated at an elegant dessert table with it's beautiful floral lace pattern and it's crisp texture. It is a quick an easy cookie to prepare that is the talk of the room at many school parties or family get-together's.

The traditional recipe calls for anise and anise seeds..yes, like my Spungna Di Biscotti Cake.. but also like the Biscotti, it works well with many flavorings. During the holidays I'll give Pizzelle cookies as gift's, side-dipped in a chocolate coating and for more of a festive look sometimes sprinkled with fine glittery candies.

Here I made a two toned pizzelle with cocoa on one side and a dousing of Amaretto in the lighter version. Oh so yummy and flavorful,
and according to my husband, addictive.
Amaretto Pizzelles
(Makes about 2-3 dozen)

3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon amaretto liqueur
1-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar.
Add the butter, vanilla, and amaretto.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
The batter should be stiff enough to be dropped by spoon.
The batter can also be refrigerated for later use.

Cocoa Pizzelles
(Makes about 30)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa together in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.

*Heat the pizzelle baker and follow the directions for How to Make a Pizzelle.
Put half a teaspoon of each, cocoa and amaretto, side by side onto the iron to achieve the two toned affect. It takes practice.. but the result is beautiful and delicious!