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Monday, 19 December 2016

Peppermint Bark

Christmas Treats

It has been a lovely weekend at home.
We've been having fun with finishing off the
last of the Christmas decorations,
icing cakes,
and, of course,
making some delicious Christmas treats.

A personal favourite is Peppermint Bark.

I discovered this recipe just a few years ago,
but it has soon become a very popular

It is so simple to make,
but looks like you have slaved away for
hours in the kitchen.

You will need :

800g white chocolate
300g dark chocolate
1 box of peppermint candy canes
7 tbsp double cream
2-3 tsp peppermint extract

1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
I used a tray with about 2cm deep sides.
This will allow plenty of depth for the layers of chocolate.

I also used a few clips to hold the paper in place.
It makes life so much easier.

2. Place the candy canes into a resealable plastic bag,
and bash the living day lights out it.

This is a good way to let go of some of the stress
that has been building up over the past few weeks.
Make sure you do not do this on a wooden surface as it may
damage the wood,
and the same goes for your rolling pin too.
Best to use an old one that won't
be missed.

Once you have broken everything up into small pieces
pour the broken candy through a colander.

This will remove all the dust,
which we will use in the chocolate ganache layer later.

If you find any large pieces of candy cane that 
escaped your earlier beating,
give it another go.

3. Pop half of the white chocolate (400g)
into a heatproof bowl and place
over a pan of warm.

Heat until completely melted,
taking care not to let the bottom of the pan
touch the water,
or else the chocolate will spoil.

Once fully melted,
pour the white chocolate into your prepared tray.

Put the tray into the fridge for about an hour to
set firmly.

4. Once the white layer has set,
it's time to get cracking on the dark chocolate ganache layer.

Do this by placing all of the dark chocolate into a basin
over water as before.

To this, 
add the double cream and peppermint extract.

You can make the flavouring as mild or 
as strong as like at this stage.

I tend to prefer a little bit of a kick to mine,
so I put the full 3 teaspoons into the mixture,
but 2 teaspoons would obviously be a 
little milder.

Santa's Little helper joined in for this bit.

Give the mixture the occasional stir until it suddenly becomes 
a thick, glossy and luxurious mix.

5. Leave the ganache to stand for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Then working fairly quickly,
Pour the ganache over the set white chocolate layer.

Smooth it out and then sprinkle the magical
candy cane dust from earlier over the dark chocolate layer.

Put back into the fridge for an hour to set, as before.

6. For the third and final layer,
it's just as before.

Put the remaining 400g of white chocolate 
into  a clean glass bowl,
and back on the pan of 
warm water until melted.

Pour this over the set ganache layer,
and like before,
try not to dilly dally about over this,
as the warm of white chocolate will
quickly melt the dark chocolate underneath.

Finish by sprinkling the broken candy cane liberally
over the top of the white chocolate,
and again back into the fridge for it's final set.

7. Once everything has set firmly,
remove from the baking tray.
It's now time to start cutting this slab of 
Christmas gorgeousness into pieces.

I trim of the rough edges first.
The left overs are a treat for the baker.

How large, or small,
you cut the pieces is entirely up to you.
It is quite rich so I tend to make the pieces on the small
If you want another piece you can always go back for more.

if they are intended as gifts,
your make will go a lot further in smaller pieces.

Once sliced and diced,
you can pop them into a pretty box
for gifts,
or simply display on plate
for people to graze on as they pass.
(If you dare).

I hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try.
It really is so easy.

Until next time,
enjoy your day.



Friday, 16 December 2016

The Dusklynn Sweater

A Very Chunky Affair

I wanted to make a winter cardigan
for Miss B but I just
didn't have the time to knit one.

Knowing how quickly crochet
will grow I decided to try
a pattern from
which I had seen on line recently.

Heidi May's designs are so pretty and the
majority of them seem to
be in super chunky so will
knit or crochet very quickly.

The patterns are well written
 and clear to understand.

I plumped for the Dusklynn sweater
as we both liked the pattern,
but there are a few more on my
wish list for a later date.

I set about trying to find some super chunky yarn
and discovered this very pretty coloured yarn

It was from Sirdar
and even better,
was reduced in price.

Kiko comes in a few different  shades
and we chose Madie.
Misty is a lovely shade too.
Maybe my next project?

The wool disappears very quickly and
you seem to be reaching for a new
ball of yarn every few rows.

I was worried I would run out of wool
at  one point,
and did need to order
four more balls by post.

I now know to check the yardage
of anything I buy in future,
rather than the gram weight.

We learn from our mistakes, yes?

The body is worked in one piece from the neck down.
The sleeves are added on later.

I have to confess I found the welt a little frustrating.
I just could not get it to lay flat and
in the end I abandoned it and just finished
the edges off with a row
of double crochet.

I think I like the neck more with my
version and Miss B was happy
so that's all that really matters.

It's a wonderfully soft and
tactile cardigan
and I know it will
be just perfect for our rambles down
at the beach
as the weather changes
and becomes more autumnal.

Until next time,
enjoy your day.