As Big as its Bite.

December 22, 2008 at 5:29 pm (From the Cabin Kitchen) (, )

Ten days ago, I was begrudgingly hanging red lights to liven up our porch, and stringing these unconventional yellow lights (with a tan cord!) on our jade plant that is doubling as a Christmas tree, having literally to force the Fa La La La La La around here. I was feeling just sort of bleh about the holidays, and couldn’t even get into the mood to bake cookies. With temperatures in the 60’s, and mountain bike rides at 4500’, who could even dream of skiing, eggnog, snow tires and all that Wintry business? I was convinced that we would be living in eternal fall, in this dream world of perfect trail conditions, crisp, fresh air, and days filled with raking the last batches of poplar leaves that finally made it to the ground, until, well, Spring when we would live warmer, longer days filled with mowing grass and biking through fields of wildflowers, until, well, Fall. You get the picture, I can guess, that I am a fan of mild weather.

But Winter’s icy fingers finally waved hello—literally overnight—and we got cold, cold temperatures and little dusting of snow. Then its icy palm gripped us tightly and still hasn’t let go, with 3 feet of snow falling just like that, kissing Autumn goodnight and sending her right into hibernation. And it’s still snowing; the closure of most of our major highways leading out of the Columbia Gorge makes it very tempting to retreat to hibernation ourselves.

This change in the weather—which I, to my own surprise even, have welcomed completely—has brought many consecutive days of cross-country skiing!, and jump-started Round One of the Annual Holiday Baking Extravaganza. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to execute the plans I started making around Halloween (seriously, Extravaganzas of this magnitude don’t just happen on their own!). With the help of a little homemade eggnog, lots of good things are going down in my kitchen while the snow flies outside.

This year I made some new things, and some old classics. I can’t reveal too much; I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the dear friends who haven’t yet received their goodies!

I will share today though this truly fantastic recipe for Peppermint Bark. Molly over at Orangette posted it a couple of days ago, and right away, I had a feeling it would be a keeper.

It is simple to make, but does have a few steps. Most of the time is spent waiting for things to harden in the fridge. The only thing I struggled with in the original recipe was the crushing of the Starlight Mints. Perhaps mine were particularly hard candies, but I had a really hard time crushing them as the recipe instructed. In the end, I had chunks that I thought were too coarse, so I chopped them a bit more with a heavy knife (carefully, though, these babies will go flying!) into more manageable sized pieces.

This Bark—like our winter so far—is every bit as big as its bite. It is cool and refreshing, with just enough sweetness to complement to minty crunchiness of the crushed candies. Plus, it’s pretty and would make a perfect gift, boxed up in a cute tin.

You will love every bite, I guarantee.

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