1.) add as a little side present to my family/friends in addition to the gifts I had already purchased for them, a fun little additional delight for them,
2.) give to those visiting family members/friends that I don't usually exchange actual gifts with, but wanted them to know I was still thinking about them.
This receipt/project is SO simple.
12, 1-qt mason jars
8 lbs white chocolate chips
2 boxes peppermint candy canes
Parchment or wax paper
Hanging tags (I used Martha Stewart)
Thread (to hang tags)
Christmas music for the background while you work
Step 1: Pound the candy canes
Unwrap all of the candy canes and stick them in a large Ziploc baggy. Pound with any kitchen utensil you desire until they are in small pieces. I used an ice cream scooper; worked like a charm.
Step 2: Line the cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper
Get as many cookie sheets as you can get your hands on (I borrowed some from my favorite neighbors, so I had a total of 5) and line them with parchment or wax paper so they're ready to go as soon as you complete step 3.
Step 3: Melt the chocolate
If you have a double boiler, that will work for on the stove melting. I melted mine in the microwave, using a large microwave-safe (of course) glass bowl. Once the chocolate is melted, add a few drops of peppermint extract, to taste. A little bit goes a long way. Bonus tip: husbands, wives, significant others, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, roommates, etc are good for this taste test because I personally stuck my (clean) finger in there waaaaay too many times
Step 4: Pour the peppermint white chocolate onto the cookie sheets
Pour the melted chocolate onto your cookie sheets and spread evenly with a spatula (mine was probably less than 1/4 inch thick).
Step 5: Sprinkle the crushed candy canes
Grab your bag full of crushed candy canes and sprinkle evenly over your melted chocolate. Carefully press the candy into the chocolate with your fingertips to ensure they are stuck into the chocolate when it cools.
Step 6: Refrigerate
Make room for your cookie sheets in your fridge, and let the chocolate sit for 20-30 minutes, or until hardened.
Step 7: Break into pieces and add to jars
One cookie sheet at a time, break your peppermint bark into pieces small enough to fit inside the mouth of your mason jars (some are wide-mouthed, some are not). Fill your jars with your delicious and handmade peppermint bark! Bonus tip: I added a few pieces of soft peppermint candies throughout my jars this year, just for fun. They are like peppermint pillow mints - remember those from your grandma's house?
Step 8: Decorate your jars
Using the lid of the mason jar as your stencil, trace and cut out enough fabric circles to cover the tops of your jars. Write any message you want on your hanging tags (mine said a simple "Merry Christmas!") and cut enough thread to hang them from the lid of your jars.
Step 9: Finish your peppermint bark presents!
Finally, add the fabric toppers, hanging tags, and ribbon to your jars... and voila!
My finished product:
You now have beautiful, simple, tasty, handmade gifts, that are fabulous alternatives to the usual cookies and fudge, to give out to your friends and family over the holidays. It would even make a great host/hostess gift if you have multiple gatherings to attend.