Three delicious and super-easy treats we always like to have on hand for the holidays are Peppermint Bark, Moose Munch, and Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. All three are easy and quick to make. The Peppermint Bark and Moose Munch can be made ahead of time, but the chocolate marshmallows are best fresh. All three of these treats are easily transportable.
Let’s begin with my son’s favorite, Peppermint Bark. It’s funny that he likes this at all as he isn’t a big fan of peppermint in general and frequently finds minty flavors to be “too spicy”.
Peppermint bark takes about 15 minutes to prepare and another 10 minutes to cool and it only requires 2 ingredients
Note: You can use any type of candy cane, however I wouldn’t mix types in the same batch of bark as all types taste a bit different and might not blend very well.
The first step is to smash the candy canes. This step can be quite messy and quiet fun. I typically place them, unwrapped, in a ziplock baggie, then wrap that inside a thin kitchen towel. Next I place this on a wooden cutting board and hammer away at the towel with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. You want to break the candy canes into small pieces, but not crush them into a peppermint flavored powder. The Bark will look much more festive, and appetizing, if you can see bits of candy canes in the final product.
Next, melt your white chocolate. Even though my microwave has a setting to melt chocolate I never use this setting for white chocolate and instead I follow the directions on the white chocolate package. Again, any type of white chocolate can be used, but I do not recommend mixing chocolate types/brands in the same batch of bark.
Note: for the best taste make sure you are using white chocolate and not vanilla flavored melting candy disks. This are great for other holiday treats, just not Bark.
When the white chocolate is melted to a smooth consistency, mix in the smashed candy canes and quickly spread into an even layer, about 1/4 inch thick, onto wax paper. Let the mixture harden and cool.
When the Bark is completely cool, break into random sized pieces by simply peeling the bark from the waxed paper. Pieces can be broken small or larger. I think it looks the best when the pieces are of varying size.
Bark can be stored in an air-tight container or enjoyed right way. And honestly, who could store it all without enjoying at least a couple of pieces right away. After all, it needs to be taste tested. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Another addictive, and quick, holiday treat is Moose Munch.
This scrumptious snack only requires 2 ingredients and some wax paper:
caramel popcorn (without peanuts)
While you could make the caramel popcorn yourself, the treat would then no longer a quick one to make, so let’s begin with purchased caramel corn. I often stock up during the Cub Scouts annual popcorn sale.
For this treat, I use a chocolate candy coating found in grocery stores, typically in the seasonal baking section. I melt the chocolate using my microwave’s “melt chocolate” feature – but melting instructions should be listed on the package of chocolate.
While the chocolate is melting, put the popcorn into a large mixing bowl and cover a section of your counter with waxed paper. When the chocolate reaches a smooth melted consistency, simply begin slowly pouring chocolate over the popcorn. Using large salad type spoons, lightly mix the popcorn and chocolate mixture. It’s best to add the chocolate a small amount at a time as opposed to pouring in all of the chocolate at once. Your goal is to have each piece of popcorn somewhat covered in chocolate, but not to have every piece completely chocolate covered.
After mixing in the chocolate, and while the mixture is still warm, pour the mixture onto the wax paper to cool and harden.
When the popcorn is cool you can remove it from the wax paper and place in a serving bowl or store it in an air-tight container
The final quick and easy treat for today is chocolate coated marshmallows. The idea here is to get the delicious taste of a chocolate fountain treat without actually having to get out the chocolate fountain. My kids love helping coat the marshmallows in chocolate.
Simply melt chocolate – I melt the chocolate in the microwave and then use an electric melting pot so that the chocolate stays warm as we are making these and we do not have to rush to finish before the chocolate hardens. Hold the marshmallow by one end and dunk the other into the melted chocolate. Then place the half-coated marshmallow onto wax paper to cool. Once completely cool, these tasty little treats can served on a platter, or in a bowl. Be sure to make more than you think you will need as no one can eat just one!