A Christmas Candy Land

I love the seasonal aisle of the supermarkets during this time of year. My husband and I lingered a bit too long near the chocolates. Last year, I bought a clear Christmas tree cookie jar for which to put my special chocolates in. However, my son’s buddy, Geno comes over and makes a meal out of my designer Hersey kisses, thus draining my cool chocolate. Well Jeff and I(hubby), bought some candy cane Hershey’s kisses and I am waiting for Geno to sniff them out from across the street, it is only a matter of time. See, if I were Superwoman, kids would be kryptonite to me, I am defenseless against their wily ways. Our house in the neighborhood, is the house that kids played home run derby at, asked for sodas when it was sweltering outside, came to seek refuge from the elements, trick or treated first because HELLO, I love chocolate. What can I say, your only a kid for a short time, and you might as well enjoy it while you can. Only Geno has his driving permit now, yikes!! Slow down buddy, plenty of time to drive.

Well,we purchased this new designer Hershey kiss, it has crushed candy canes in it, wrapped in white chocolate. While I am not too fond of peppermint, somehow tradition compels me to buy, eat or use something that contains peppermint. Why?? We all know that peppermint reminds us of waiting at the doctors office, or standing in line at the bank, with nothing better to do than eat a peppermint candy, even though we knowingly dislike them. Reminds me of ice skating without socks, kinda a anti-climatic flavor that has no surprises.

Candy canes are the signature candy to Christmas, when I see them, I think Christmas. The candy actually has a religious significance, it’s signature crook resembles the shepherd’s crook and were passed out during the pageants of the living nativity. The canes were pure white and it was not until the early 20th century that is got it’s familiar red stripe. In fact the it has many devout connotations. Some say that the cane turned upside down is the letter J for Jesus, and the crook is symbolic of how Jesus was a “Good Shepherd”, looking over the children. The candy cane is a hard candy similar to the solid foundation of the church. The flavor of the candy cane is like the flavor of hyssop, which in the Old Testament was used for purification and sacrifice. The pure white of the cane was representative of Jesus and his virgin birth, the bold red stripe representing the love of God, the three fine red stripes representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, some say that the red was the blood that was spilled by the Romans persecuting Jesus. Wow, I don’t know about you?, but I have a whole new respect for the candy cane! Still better yet, there is a notion out there that the canes were given out to ensure good behaviour in church. I would believe that notion, considering that my youngest gets awfully bouncy the exact minute his bottom hits the pew? Hmmm wonder why? Note to self: Buy candy canes.

Well let me tell you!!, I get super excited when more and more varieties of candy canes come out, in fact my husband had to pry me away from the Cinnabon candy canes, did you hear me Cinnabon candy canes! I was intrigued. I had to investigate, there are Smarties candy canes, Starburst candy canes, and of course Jolly Rancher and Hershey Chocolate Mint Candy Canes all owned by Hershey. Way better than the average run of the mill peppermint. So I thought about how I could include a recipe using candy canes and well tada… Candy Cane White Chocolate Mousse.

Candy Cane White Chocolate Mousse

4.5 ozs of egg yolks
2.5 ozs sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp powdered gelatin
1 envelope ofArctic White Hot Cocoa Mix
1/4 cup milk
6 ozs white chocolate chips
3 ozs crushed candy cane
2 cups heavy whipped cream

In one bowl combine egg yolks, sugar and milk and whisk, set aside. In another bowl, mix the cocoa mix with the milk and then sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and allow to bloom. Set your mixer with a whip, and whip the two cups of heavy cream until you have stiff peaks, transfer to another bowl and refrigerate. On the stove bring a saucepan with water to a rolling simmer, not a vigorous boil, just a perky simmer. In another bowl combine the white chocolate. Over the simmering saucepan, place the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and whip until it is light and lemon colored. We do not want to scramble, we want to heat to a frothy lemon colored consistency. When a temperature of 120F is reached add to your mixer fixed with a whip, and whip on high. Meanwhile, melt the milk, cocoa and gelatin and add to the mixing egg yolks. Still yet, in the same saucepan that has been simmering melt the white chocolate. Turn the speed down on the mixer and mix in the melted chocolate. Pull your whipped cream out of the refrigerator and fold in the white chocolate egg mixture. Finally fold in the 3ozs crushed candy canes. Serve and enjoy.:)

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!~Charles Schulz

How to Make a Peppermint Cake For Your Holiday Party

When it comes to baking special desserts around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, I like to make this Peppermint Cake. Every year I make it for our holiday parties and always receive positive reviews and requests to make it again.

It does take some time to make this dessert cake, but it will be well worth your efforts.

Peppermint Cake Recipe

2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9″ round cake pan with nonstick vegetable spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and softened butter with a mixer at medium speed. Whisk in the applesauce, milk, egg whites and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to the applesauce mixture and stir until well combined. Pour batter into your prepared cake pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack. Once cool, split the cake in half horizontally to make 2 cakes.

Peppermint Frosting

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 tablespoons peppermint starlight candies, crushed

Tip: To crush candies, place 6 of them in a plastic zipper close bag and then wrap the bag in a clean dry kitchen towel. Use a maillot to smash candies.

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together granulated sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tartar. Cook over simmering water for 4 minutes or until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in peppermint extract. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until mixture forms stiff peaks.

Place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread frosting on top of the layer. Top with the second layer and spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies on the top and sides of cake.

Store cake in a cake storage container to protect it.

Use Peppermint Essential Oil to Improve Your Memory, Digestion, and Breath

I dare you to feel better. Many of you know Benjamin Franklin as an inventor and writer but did you remember that he developed community resources such as hospitals, libraries, and the University of Pennsylvania to help people. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, Violet volunteered at the Benjamin Franklin Hospital as a Candy Striper, and wrote a research paper that invited people to improve their health with peppermint essential oil. Dr Matthews supervised her research project. You too can be inspired by her example and enjoy the following ways using Peppermint Essential Oil can help you:

First, inhaling this oil can help you improve your memory and concentration.

Second, using the extracted oil from the peppermint leaves can ease your digestion.

Third, peppermint essential oil can help you with your sense of taste and your breath.

When Candy Striper Violet delivered the mail to the patients at the Benjamin Franklin Hospital she would tell them: “My grandma’s memory has improved because she inhales peppermint essential oil. She agreed to help me with my research project and for the last three weeks she has inhaled peppermint essential oil three times per day. I see that her concentration has improved. Now, when I visit her, she can tell me what happened on the news that day.” The patients asked her and the doctor: “Can we improve our memories too?”

Candy Striper Violet knows patient Fred’s tummy hurts. On her daily visits, she gives him peppermint candy to eat after his meals. Fred tells his doctor: “My tummy always feels better after I see Candy Striper Violet.” The doctor sits down and asks Fred questions confirming the findings for their research project. The doctor tells Fred: “You can dare to feel better.” Fred says: “I have.”

At the library late at night, Violet meets with her research partner Keith and he tells her: “I can’t taste my food.” Violet reminds him to inhale peppermint essential oil and puts a few drops in his water. Keith notices he can taste again. She says: ” Thank you. You also have better breath now.” She offers him some peppermint candy to enjoy later.

After 6 months of research Violet and Keith ask Dr. Matthews to review their research documentation on the benefits of peppermint essential oil. The doctor tells Candy Striper Violet: “Indeed, the patients feel better and they can eat with ease. Now they can taste their food. They always remember you and your peppermint candy. Their memories have improved. Let’s publish your research findings on the benefits of using peppermint essential oil to ease digestion, improve the sense of taste, and to improve memory and concentration.”