Almond Rocky Road

Merry Christmas!!  A friend brought in this Christmasy candy the other day and it set me to searching for the recipe. It hits all those sweet spots– chocolate, nuts and those springy marshmallows.  I think the grand-girls will love it!

I was surprised how super easy it is to make– takes 10 minutes max!  The recipe is so simple, I could give to you over the phone!  But here I’ll just write it out here:

2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz.)
2 tab. butter
14 oz. can condensed milk
2  cups roasted almonds, chopped in half*
16 oz. bag mini marshmallows

In a large microwave proof bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter (about 90 seconds).  Stir them all together until it’s all smooth. Pour in the condensed milk and mix until it’s all blended.

Then pour in the marshmallows and almonds and stir until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.

Spoon it all into a 9″x 13″ pan that has been lined with waxed paper.  Pop it into the fridge for a couple hours to harden and cut into delicious squares.

*The original recipe I worked from called for 2  1/2 cups peanuts, but I opted for almonds.  Walnuts or pecans would be good too.


A Little Valentine Love

IMG_9054Hi friends– Happy Valentines Day! (well, almost).  I can’t help but love a holiday that involves chocolate and saying nice things to people I love.  And I can tell you, it’s also a big time favorite of third graders.  So here’s a couple valentine ideas, if you’re trying to rustle up a card to send your special someone.

IMG_9057These are the oversized, but simple valentines, my 3rd graders put together.  I just gave them a template to trace for the head and heart (heart about 14″ across, the head an 8″ circle) and granted them access to the tub of scrap construction paper.  Throw in some wiggly eyes and those candy conversation hearts for fun.  They made these self portraits in about 30 minutes, ready to take home to Mom on Valentines Day. And the messages to mom that .they type up to glue on the back are usually pretty darn heartwarming. (The black dots on the valentines are magnets holding them up on the board til Valentines Day)

IMG_9016And sitting through the Super Bowl on Sunday, I got out the scissors, glue, ribbon… to make these fan fold valentines to mail off to my own kids, taped atop a nutty bar of chocolate.  Cut a 5″x18″ strip of white construction paper and glue it (white glue diluted with an equal amount of water) to the same size piece of your most valentine-ish gift wrapping paper.  Write a lovely-dovey message inside, slap on a paper heart and tie it up with ribbon.

“I claim there ain’t
Another Saint
As great as Valentine.”
Ogden Nash

Hoping you have a lovely chocolate-filled Valentines Day sending love to the people you care about most!!

Cranberry Apricot Pecan Bark

IMG_8292Hi all– Here’s a pretty last minute Christmas treat.  You melt the white chocolate and throw on the fruit and nuts!  Sound easy?  It should be, but last night I melted my favorite trusty rusty old mixing bowl overheating the chocolate (so sad) and when I ran out into the night to get more white chocolate my grocer was all out!  Ugh. But I persevered and it was worth it– think you’ll love this yummy bark!

16 oz. good white chocolate (2 2/3 cups chopped)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut to bits

IMG_8289Pull out a piece of parchment paper and draw a 8″x10″ rectangle with a pencil.  Flip the paper over onto a cookie sheet so that you can still see the lines but they won’t touch the chocolate.

Put 12 oz. (2 cups) of the chocolate into a glass bowl.  Microwave it 30 seconds and stir.  Do that twice more and the chocolate should be melted and smooth. Then stir in the other 2/3 cup of chocolate immediately until it is melted.  Quickly spread the melted white chocolate on the parchment and spread to cover the area of the rectangle.  Then sprinkle on the cranberries, apricots and pecans and press them down into the warm chocolate.  (It’s important to work quickly, so that the chocolate doesn’t cool and get hard before the toppings stick in).  Let is all sit a couple hours to harden completely and and then cut into polite little bits to pass around to everyone.    Pretty and so delicious!

Tiger Bark

IMG_8224Hi there– Been making this tiger bark for a lot of Christmases.  My cousin Stephanie got the recipe when she worked in a candy shop in high school.  She passed it around the family and we’ve all been making it ever since.  You make up a pan full in about 10 minutes, honestly!  If you love peanut butter and chocolate as much as I do, you’ll think it’s just great.

18 oz. white chocolate chips*
1 1/2 cup super chunky peanut butter
8 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Line a 15″x10″ jelly roll pan with foil.

Put 16 oz. white chocolate chips and the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook it for 2 minutes and then stir it all until it’s smooth.  Spread it into the pan.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave– about 1 1/2 minutes.  Spoon onto the top of the peanut butter mixture and then swirl it into the bottom layer with the tip of a knife.

Melt 2 oz. (about 1/3 cup) of the remaining white chocolate in the microwave– about
1 1/2 minutes.  Swirl it over both layer to give it some shiny highlights.

Refrigerate until firm (a couple hours) and then cut into squares or triangles.

*  Use good quality white chocolate.  I bought the store brand of white chocolate chips one year and they burned before they melted–a candy disaster!