Saturday, December 22, 2007

Baking again

I got this recipe from Dephal:

Peppermint (candy cane) bark! I didn't use enough white chocolate, and I didn't spread it quite thinly enough, but it is pretty tasty. I think Dephal's young daughter does a better job on this bark than me. :)

The frustrating thing was that on Thursday night, I could not find any normal candy canes in the stores! Usually you are choking on the damn things at this time of year, but all I could find were hideous flavoured ones. Who wants an "Orange crush" or grape soda candy cane!? BLECH!!!! I was about ready to steal handfuls of freebies from a restaurant counter, but then...

...I found these candy cane "trees", which at least had real peppermint oil in them, instead of fake peppermint flavour:

I knew that not only was I going to have to smash them up, but I was going to have to get those STUPID icing decorations off as well. No one wants bits of yellow and blue in her peppermint bark! Very off-putting indeed.

For the task of smashing, I chose my Mum's rolling pin. I inherited it (along with an English Setter and various other things) when she died in 1997. I can't remember a time when she didn't have it:

The funny thing is, it's apparently vintage! I did a web search and found a few for sale, but sadly they are not worth thousands of dollars.

I think my Mum must have put the string on it so she could hang it on a hook. Even though it is occasionally annoying, I refuse to remove it.

It did an admirable job of smashing the stupid candy cane trees, although the whole process did leave some tiny dents in my rolling pin. OOOOPS!

The aftermath:

So the peppermint bark was a success, easy, and fun. A good way to let off some steam, smashing candy.

Next I made mincemeat tarts:

Do Americans eat mincemeat? My English parents made mince tarts or pie every Christmas. Even after my parents split up, my Dad baked his own, so I'd get two sets of mincemeat goodies each year! When I was 12, my Mum and I actually made and bottled mincemeat, which I would like to do again some day. It was so good. I don't think we put suet in it; I'm not really a big suet fan.

For this batch, I bought a jar of Crosse and Blackwell Mincemeat with Rum & Brandy. Not homemade, but a family favourite. I then added a bit more rum and some chopped apples.

The most miraculous thing is that I made that butter pastry from scratch, and it's GOOD. It doesn't have the consistency of boot leather! It is ACTUALLY FLAKY (just like me!) I am not very gifted with pastry. It's a real crap shoot when I make it. But I found a Canadian Living recipe I liked and went at it, using the food processor and being careful not to overhandle the dough. Success! I am ashamed to admit I ate three of these tarts yesterday (and a coconut/chocolate tart. And peppermint bark. And then Gordon brought me home an almond/chocolate croissant from Ottawa.) I have a real mincemeat craving going on, but I figured three tarts could only possibly equal one piece of pie!

I made the little leaf and gingerbread man cutouts with a chocolate decorating tool I have had for years but rarely used.

Happy holidays! I am hungry now. Can you eat mince tarts for breakfast?


  1. , though probably at a rate less than Brits and descendants of. In years past, when I made cookie assortments to give as gifts and for the office, I always made a couple of batches of mince tartlets, though mine didn't have the pretty cut-outs on them. Yumee!

  2. Hmmmm, mincemeat!

    And I have to admit that the last time I made them I bought the little pastry shells because of all my cooking accomplishments, pastry is not one of them.

    And that string on the rolling pin must have been on the original; my mother's has one too. And it was in the house before I was.

  3. The peppermint logs look so yummy! And no, Americans (at least me) don't eat mincemeat!

    ~ Wolf Lover Girl

  4. Mmmm! Everything looks so good! That was some very labor-intensive bark, but it did turn out pretty. And smashing candy is great therapy! What's in the triple layer squares?

    I think some people in the US eat mincemeat, but in my family, my Dad's the only one who likes the stuff.

  5. Nope, no mince meat here. Can you send me the peppermint bark recipe to spacedog addy? That would be something good to do with all the leftover candycanes.

  6. nevermind. I got it through Dephal's blog.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!