This week our house has been buzzing with the positive sparkle that surrounds Christmas. I’ve felt a bit like the Grinch—cursing as I stuff the tree into the car then feeling my heart grow three sizes as the kids put on the ornaments.
It never gets old, their excitement this time of year. I’ve been known to complain about them in the past but despite what I’ve said, the kids aren’t just in it for the presents, they love all of it. Everyday brings a new wish that can only be granted between December 1st and 25th—decorate the tree, hang the lights, watch Charlie Brown, decorate cookies—and I say yes to all of it.
Yesterday I was wrestling with some garland when I noticed the house was eerily silent. Usually when Hiro is not making an obnoxious amount of noise it means he’s coloring on a piece of furniture or filling my dish gloves with water but yesterday he was stuffing all our stockings full to the brim with whatever he could find then hanging them from the bottom rungs of their bunk bed like ‘Ol Saint Nick himself.
I try not to shove too much into this time of year but I do like to make special treats to share (and of course to eat!!!). Sometimes, however, actual baking can be too much which is why I’ve been pumping you full of sweets recipes that require little time and no oven. Homemade bark is quite possible the ea-seeee-ists. It requires little more than melting some chocolate (Trader Joe’s sells excellent, inexpensive chocolate by the pound in varying degrees of bitterness) then topping the chocolate with whatever floats your boat. Crushed candy canes are a popular option but my favorite combo is roasted, salted cashews and thin little slices of candied ginger.
To score some serious points with your friends or postman, melt dark and white chocolate in separate bowls then swirl them together.
As far as the melting goes, the microwave is probably the easiest way to do this, but I don’t have the counter space for that business so I just use the old fashioned bowl over boiling water method. Just be careful that the water is at a low simmer, not boiling and that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. White chocolate is especially sensitive and will seize up on you if it gets too hot.
See for yourself how easy this bark is right here!
One last thing, if you’ve been following me (@holajalapeno) on Instagram then you know about the beautiful Siestas for Fiestas blanket we gave away. Siestas for Fiestas is a wonderful charity organization that gives a Christmas dinner to a family in need for every blanket they sell. Their goal is to provide meals to 146 families this year and to help the cause they’ve been generous enough to give 15% off to you, my readers, to buy your very own blanket! Use the promo code WELOVEMEXICO when you make your purchase, then snap a picture of your blanket and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #SiestasForFiestas146! Merry Christmas!
Homemade chocolate bark recipe with swirls of dark and white chocolate topped with roasted cashews and candied ginger.
Feel free to experiment swap the dark chocolate for milk chocolate or mix up the toppings; dried cherries, chopped dried mangos, or roasted, salted macadamia nuts would be equally as good.
- 8 ounces dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- 4 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted cashews
- 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
- Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- Melt dark chocolate in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until smooth. Pour chocolate out onto the lined baking sheet and spread into a thin layer.
- Melt white chocolate in a separate bowl until smooth. Dollop white chocolate over dark chocolate then swirl into the dark chocolate with a toothpick or skewer.
- Sprinkle cashews and ginger over the top and let harden, about 30 minutes.
- Break into bite-sized pieces and serve or wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.