Christmas Recipes – How to Make Peppermint Bark

One of the easiest options to make PEPPERMINT BARK CANDY is to use white chocolate. You will need:

  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
  • 1 pound white chocolate or white bakers chips

Melt the chocolate or chips in a pan over water (a double boiler if you have one). Crush the peppermint candies finely by placing them in a plastic bag and using a rolling-pin or a hammer. The bottom of a can also works well. I would suggest doing this on a cutting board and not on the counter top. Stir the peppermint candy into the melted chocolate. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet and allow to cool. Break into pieces.

PEPPERMINT BARK FUDGE CANDY

You will need:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups crushed peppermint candies

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, salt, baking soda, milk and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Let cool 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and peppermint. Beat by hand until the candy thickens and begins to look cloudy. Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto wax or parchment paper or well greased cookie sheets. Allow to cool. You could sprinkle additional chopped candies over the tops if you wish.

For a lighter, melt in your mouth version try PEPPERMINT MERINGUE BITES. For these delicate treats you will need:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (helps stabilize the egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (red are peppermint and green are usually spearmint)
  • 2 to 6 drops of green or red food coloring (this is optional).

I mix up 2 batches for the holidays, one red and one green. They look as great on a cookie platter as they taste. But beware, you may be making these almost daily. They are that good.

Lightly grease baking sheets, or line with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Slowly add sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff. This can take up to about 7 minutes, depending on your mixer. Alternately you can do this by hand with a whisk. Gently fold in the peppermint candies.

Folding is done by taking the spoon or preferably a spatula and plunging it into the egg whites. You then pull back up through the mixture and fold the mix from the bottom over the top.

Do this gently so as not to break down the egg whites you have beaten so successfully.

Drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets to form small mounds. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees until dry to the touch. Cool and store in air tight containers.

Any of these recipes will give you an attractive addition to your Christmas dessert tables or cookie trays. Try them all. Each version will appeal to different guests because of the difference in textures and hardness. Remember, taking the little bit of time required to make these and other homemade treats tells your family and friends just how much you care. Enjoy.

Old Fashioned Peppermint Candy, Its History And Tradition – Long Reminiscent of Christmas

You wouldn’t be expected to know that as far back in history 10,000 years ago, Peppermint was thought of as more of a medication, than a confection with traditional ties to the Christmas season.

This aromatic plant, properly named “menthe piperita”, was first described by Carolus Linnalus in 1753. He had collected specimens of the plant in England, and defined it as a species. But, it was later classified as a hybrid instead, a cross between the watermint and spearmint. It grows from two to 3 feet tall, and produces tiny purple flowers, which are commonly harvested by honey bees. Delicious peppermint honey is popular result of that harvest.

Peppermint is indigenous of Europe, but is now cultivated all over the world. It flowers from mid to late summer. The leaves and flowering tops are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and can be dried. Though peppermint can grow almost anywhere, with few exceptions, it prefers moist habitats, such as drainage ditches and creek sides. Since it is a hybrid, it’s usually sterile, meaning that it produces no seeds. In the Great Lakes region of the United States it thrives un-encouraged, and is actually considered to be invasive. It’s considered better grown as a cultivated crop.

Peppermint has a long tradition as of being used for medicinal use. Its aroma is considered to enhance memory; applying it to the forehead and temples often reduces headache pain, and it soothes coughs and sore throats, not to mention, indigestion. It is believed that peppermint may have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral qualities. It’s used as aromatherapy (in the form of essential peppermint oil); said to have a calming effect, and is often added to soaps and shampoos. And, it’s used to treat skin irritations, anxiety associated with depression, nausea, and other related conditions. Plus, it’s somewhat of a muscle relaxant.

You’re, of course, accustomed to the clean fresh menthol aroma and refreshing taste of peppermint often added to toothpaste, chewing gum, and tea. And, have no doubt experienced relief from cold symptoms as a result of using chest rubs and other over-the-counter treatments containing peppermint. It works as an expectorant for coughs, due to the cool ‘Menthol’ ingredient, too.

But, peppermint is probably best known as the popular flavor in a variety of candies; from the well known candy cane to chocolate covered peppermint cream patties. Popsies Popcorn and Sweets shop stocks multiple varieties of peppermint candies, some dating back many years. If you’re nearby, a visit to this nostalgic and cozy candy shop will transport you back to a time when life was simpler – and easier to comprehend. Memories will be stirred, and emotions relived… and they’ll be put in their proper perspective. There’s something undefined, but magical, about this little candy shop that has a positive affect upon the thoughts and mood of every visitor, at least to some degree. And on top of that, serving sweets from Popsies identifies you as a person who doesn’t settle when it comes to the quality and uniqueness of candy served to your guests and family members.