UPDATE: From time to time I like to revisit older recipes and update the photography, make the instructions a little more clear, or even tweak the recipe a bit. This is one of those recipes. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten varying results using the previous method so I’ve opted to change things up a bit so y’all end up with a better, more consistent product. The recipe’s a bit different, but I promise, it’s better. Back to your regularly scheduled programming….
My parents always made Christmas special, always. I remember one Christmas in particular when I was old enough to start doubting the existence of the ol’ fat man in the red suit. I had it all planned out. Right before I went to bed on Christmas Eve, I put a note on the Christmas tree that challenged Santa to use his magic. I knew full well that the request would be hard to fill without magic, being that he had such late notice and that all the stores would be closed (this is back when stores actually closed for Christmas). My note asked Santa for a tube of chap stick in a black tube. I know, how crazy!?!? But that’s what my creative little mind came up with. On Christmas morning, I raced down the hall to see if my wish had been granted. Dumping out my stocking, I didn’t find the chap stick. But when I glanced over to the tree, there in the exact place I left the note, was a tube of chap stick in a black tube. I was enthralled.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated by 29th birthday. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love on Facebook, but one message got my attention. It simply read: “Happy Birthday man! Today, I was listening to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I’m sorry that I told you Santa wasn’t real. I hope you forgive me.” I sat there and stared at that message for what seemed like an eternity. I replied back and told her that I had forgiven her, of course, but I’ve thought about that message every day since then. The thing is, I never stopped believing in Santa. Sure, maybe he’s not that jovial, rosy-cheeked fella we see in Coca-Cola ads, but Santa is just as real as love, faith, and innocence. We can’t see any of those things, but we all know they exist. Christmas is such a magical time of year. The magic may not be the same for each and every person, but we should all work hard to find a little Christmas magic. In the crazy hustle and bustle of every day life, I urge you to slow down a little and enjoy your friends and family this year. Unfortunately, this year I’ve been reminded about how quickly those opportunities can be taken from us. Stop and smell the cookies, the fresh evergreen trees and the peppermint.
Merry Christmas, Y’all!
Oh yeah, about the peppermint…
- About 8-ounces (by weight) of peppermint hard candies
- 2 (12-ounce) packages dark chocolate candy melts*
- 2 (12-ounce) packages white candy melts
- peppermint oil**
- Unwrap the peppermint candies and place them in a zip top bag. Place the bag with candies between a dish towel and crush with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer. Be sure to break up candy, but do not completely crush. The big chunks of peppermint make the bark so pretty.
- Line a cookie sheet (or the counter) with a large sheet of waxed paper.
- Melt the dark chocolate candy melts in a large bowl in the microwave using 30 second intervals. Stir frequently. To prevent scorching, stop heating them when things are mostly melted but a few chunks of chocolate remain. Stir until they have all melted completely.
- Spread the chocolate on the waxed paper in a thin layer that measures about 10-inches by 24-inches. Work quickly as the candy melts firm up pretty fast.
- Once the chocolate is set, melt the white candy melts in the microwave using 30 second intervals stirring between each. Have patience when melting. If this stuff scorches, you'll be sorry.
- Once melted, add several drops of the peppermint oil and stir well. Taste and add more peppermint oil if necessary. It's strong stuff, so start with a little. You can always add more.
- Pour the white candy melts over chocolate layer and spread thin. Work quickly so the chocolate layer won't melt through.
- Top with crushed peppermint candy, being careful to use the chunks and not the finely crushed powdery stuff.
- Allow to set. Then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.