I‘m not a cook. I don’t claim to be a cook. I try, otherwise my family would not eat anything except toast, but I’d much prefer to sit back and watch someone cook. And baking — because baking and cooking are 2 different things to me — well, I’m REALLY not a baker.
F’s not only on track to becoming a surgeon, but he is quite a baker. Unfortunately, a surgeon-in-training has very little time to do any baking; however, this holiday month has brought him a more relaxed schedule leaving plenty of time to bake away. Ginger molasses cookies, blondies, fudge ecstasies, straight up fudge…we’ve got it all spilling off our kitchen counters and into our open hands.
I decided I needed to contribute to our sweets table by making one of my favorite holiday treats — peppermint bark. I found Paula Dean’s recipe, along with a demonstration video, and thought, “Holy moly! This is the easiest thing ever. I’m doing it!” Melt white chocolate, add crushed candy canes and a dash of peppermint extract, spread onto cookie sheet, refrigerate and voila! Easy peasy even for me. Or so I thought.
The problem: Candy Canes. Store #1 did not have them. Store #2 had fancy “soft peppermint sticks” but no cheapo brittle candy canes. I was in a time crunch and didn’t want to go to yet a 3rd store. Soft peppermint sticks look like candy canes, though a bit thicker. They HAD to work, right?
As I was melting the white chocolate, I had Ayay work on crushing the “soft peppermint sticks.” I had thrown them in a ziplock bag and gave Ayay a rolling pin, just like Paula Dean did in the video. Bam, bam, bam, bam. Bam, bam, bam. Bam. BAM. BAM. BAM! I looked over at Ayay. The peppermint sticks were exactly the same size as when I gave them to her. But the ziplock bag now had holes from her pounding. F walked in, rebagged the peppermint sticks and tried himself. No luck. He walked out to the garage and came back with a hammer. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. Still not quite working. What the hell are these “soft peppermint sticks?!?!?”
F suggested I go to the drug store and find some cheap brittle candy canes. 10 minutes later I’m frantically searching the aisles of CVS for some simple, cheap red and white candy canes. I found chocolate flavored candy canes, sour candy canes, rainbow candy canes, but no red and white candy canes. Really? Is everyone in town making peppermint bark today?
I headed to Ralph’s, now sweating because all I wanted to do was make a 10-minute treat and I can’t even find the right candy canes! As I was about to give up, and while getting distracted by the gossip magazines dissecting the Tiger Woods scandal, I spotted them. Hallelujah!
I brought home 5 boxes of individually wrapped candy canes, and after unwrapping dozens and dozens of them, they were finally ready to be crushed. 5 minutes later, the peppermint bark was chilling in the fridge.
And now, added to our counter of sweets…4 pounds of peppermint bark. Yup, 4 pounds. What am I going to do with 4 pounds of peppermint bark?!?!?!