Monthly Archives: February 2015

Valentine’s treats- chocolate bark!

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Valentine’s treats- chocolate bark!

I know I am a little late in posting this, but better late than never! Last week, Sam’s class was doing a little Valentine’s Day gift exchange where everyone brings in a little gift, then they shuffle the gifts and randomly give them out. We were thinking about sewing or crafting something, but it’s hard to make a lot of things that would be appropriate for boys or girls. Finally we decided that food was the safest bet, because everyone likes food. And from there, it didn’t take us long to decide on chocolate.
I have made this as Christmas presents before, you really can customize your “toppings” for any holidays or occasion.
I dug through the cupboards for all of our chocolate supplies, and I ended up finding quite a stash. I found dark chocolate chips, some Hershey’s kisses, some butterscotch chips and white chocolate melts. Then, for the toppings, I found cinnamon hearts, a package of skor bits, some heart sprinkles and some red candy dipped chocolate chips.

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We melted one kind of chocolate at a time. I started melting them in pot, but then realized I needed double broiler. The chocolate heated up way too fast, then it seized, and became difficult to stir and pour. So I would strongly recommend using boiling water and putting another pot or bowl on top.

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After much deliberation of all of the different kinds of chocolate and topping combinations, we decided on four delicious combinations:
-cinnamon hearts and white chocolate
-heart shaped sprinkles and milk chocolate
-skor bits and butterscotch chips, with red and white drizzled chocolate
-dark chocolate and red candy dipped chocolate chips
The procedure is pretty simple. Once you have a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper, parchment paper, big difference!) you basically melt, mix and pour. Here is what a few of our combinations looked like:

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Then, here’s a trick, once you have spread out the chocolate, and sprinkle your toppings on, often it is bumpy or rough looking. To get that smooth look, bang the cookie sheet on a hard surface a few times. This relaxes or settles the chocolate, gets rid of the bubbles and smooths out the surface. Here is what it looked like before and after (sorry, photos are reversed, after, then before)
Also, if you look back at the white chocolate and cinnamon hearts picture, after banging it, the cinnamon hearts settled right into the chocolate.

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After all of the chocolate was melted, stirred and the toppings added, we put the cookie sheets outside in the cold for a few minutes.

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Then, once the chocolate was nice and hard, we snapped it into bite sized pieces. The kids love this part!

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Finally, we packed it into small containers. I have a really difficult time throwing out our sushi containers because I use them all of the time for baking. They are the perfect size and shape, and they make the food look great. Turns out that we made 7 containers, so Sam gave one to her teacher, I brought a couple into work, and we had some left over for special treats and dessert a couple nights! Here is the finished product:

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Happy Valentine’s Day.
FYI – here is the link to the chocolate bark I made one christmas
christmas chocolate bark

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5 Minute Butter Tarts! Yummy.

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5 Minute Butter Tarts! Yummy.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I am all about things being easy! Maybe 5 minutes is a bit of an exaggeration, because I didn’t include cooking time, but these butter tarts are really easy to make, they literally take five minutes to prepare. Especially when you buy the pre made frozen pie shells…. Trust me, people are just as impressed with homemade butter tarts even when you didn’t make the shell from scratch. And, sshhhh, you don’t need to tell everyone how easy they are!
All you need to do, is melt 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave, then mix in 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1 egg, plus 1 tsp vanilla.

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As you can see, I was lucky enough to have help today. Which was helpful because the hardest part about this recipe us that you need to mix this really well. Mix it until it starts to turn a lighter colour. You can see the difference in the pictures below:

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Then pour it into the pie shells. If I can give a bit of advice here, I would tell you not to over fill them, they bubble up and will overflow if they are filled too much.

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We watched them closely, just in case…

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So, I think you can see in the second picture how they have bubbled up. Here is how they looked right out of the oven, and after they have cooled a little. I actually had to double the recipe above to make enough to fill all of the shells.

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They were delicious. You could also add raisins, although I would get complaints around my house if I did. No one in my family is a fan of raisins in baking, we’re more of a chocolate chip kind of family. But, I read online that if you do add raisins, you can soak them in boiling water for about 5 minutes before mixing them in. This allows them to plump up and soak up some of the water.
I have a few extra pie shells in the freezer now, that I am going to keep on hand for the next time I need something to make quickly. These are definitely on my make again list!
Enjoy!
P.S. I don’t normally give glimpses into future posts (because sometimes my plans are a whole more ambitious than my reality…. If only I didn’t have a darn job!) but… I just bought stuff to tap our maple trees to collect sap for maple syrup! I am so excited! Keep posted, I am just doing some research to find out if I need to wait a few weeks… Anyone made maple syrup before? Any advice?