Thursday, December 20, 2012

Comfort and Joy (and Love and Peppermint Bark)

If you're a teacher of Birdy's: PLEASE STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW. And also: I LOVE YOU. (Holly, I'm talking to you.) Because I would really hate to ruin the "surprise" of Birdy's famous chocolate peppermint bark! This is the easiest thing in the world.

Her handwriting still moves me beyond words.
And I'm only mentioning it now on the off-chance that you're tearing your hair out because work, and children, and meals on the table, and every single last holiday thing, and a partner who's like, "What? Is there stuff you want me to do? Just say!" And you're like Aaaaaagh! No! Forget it! You're totally incompetent! But the teacher gifts! Aaaaagh! Not that you would ever be like that. But if you were: 1 1/2 bags of chocolate chips (we used a mix of dark and white) spread on a piece of parchment paper on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Into a 250 oven for 5 minutes. Spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with peppermint candies that your tender, hammer-wielding daughter has smashed into such pulverized smithereens that you wonder if she might need some more outlets for her aggression and also, because the nine-year-old is thinking "Rice Krispie Treats" and "best of both worlds" a handful of organic crisped-brown-rice cereal. Harden in the fridge for 3 hours, cut/break into pieces, package in bags, done.

I also have more elaborated bark recipes here and here. Chocolate Fritos here. Peppermint Patties here. I still haven't made the Bar Bark like I want to, topped with Chex Mix and pretzels and Goldfish crackers, but you know I'm going to.

Our holiday card this year.

Or should we use this one?

Craney photo-bombing what would otherwise be the perfect photo.
Other last-minute holiday ideas from years past:

Happy holidays, sweet friends.


  1. Yep - that's about how I feel too... not much baking happening here.... too many other things to tend to... I miss being a child. Alot.

  2. If I were a really excellent person, I would try to make this chocolate peppermint bark for my kids' teachers. But since I am not a particularly excellent person, and my kids don't have teachers, I don't have to make this. However, I COULD make this recipe, since it looks so easy, and then give it to MYSELF, since I am my kids' teacher. I deserve it, darn it!
    Thanks for posting it. I'm off to find a hammer now.

  3. I might have to try your peppermint bark sometime, if only I could tear myself away from the peppermint patties that I CAN'T STOP EATING!!!! Thanks for all of the good recipes, advice, stories, and book and game recommendations. I hope you and the family have a great holiday season!

  4. Jennifer LB6:02 PM

    Awesome!!!!! Just wish I had this info 2 days ago.... Zeke's teachers are getting coffee mugs filled with a tangerine, 2 fancy teabags, mini honey bear, chocolate bar and a cinnamon stick. All shopping, no making.

  5. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Glad to read what you write! Your words are like comfort food- the (homemade) mac and cheese of the blogosphere. -Beth W

  6. That handwriting thing. I know exactly what you mean. Happy holidays to you and your lovely family!

  7. My husband and I had a good giggle at your description of the state of holiday prep in your house. It was like you were looking right at us. :)

    My family loves your holiday recipes and we're planning on making several before the new year. We'll see if I can actually pull that off...

  8. Happy Holidays to you all! I love the "otherwise perfect photo". No peppermint candies to be easily found in Italy and my thighs are probably grateful because the intention of making something delicious to give away is not actually the same as giving it away. (And Birdy's handwriting makes my heart twinge.)

  9. We may have to add another deadly sin for that stuff, right next to the Maple Rosemary Popcorn. And it's much easier. My husband can't decide which noise is worse--the hammering of the peppermint candies or the very loud food processor grinding of them. Thank you for the fabulous last minute and most delicious idea!

  10. Dear sweet Catherine, based on your enthusiastic suggestions I ordered Bohnanza and the Unbored book via your links a week or two ago. By any chance would you know where I hid them?

    About to institute a new holiday tradition of having the children play a delightful scavenger hunt game on Xmas morning, or else they will have few presents.

  11. I can't believe that's her very own penmanship! I thought for sure it was a very intentional faux-elderly, roadside pie stand (but neater) font! What a good girl.

  12. Ellen Painter Dollar8:08 PM

    Your peppermint patties, with a side of candied orange peel, were our teacher gifts this year. The chocolate dipping did not turn out pretty, but they were delicious.

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