Monday, December 7, 2009
Holy sleigh bells! How on earth is it already December....and December 7th, no less? Our busy days (and nights) have been filled with lots and lots of activities, some more fun than others. We've gotten braces, performed in an African dance and music ensemble, had our final soccer games and practices, soccer parties, awards ceremonies, and dinner with friends....we've decked the halls (almost done), shopped until we dropped (online), and prepared for upcoming birthdays (3 in our immediate family....2 more outside it). We've planted our winter garden, only to have to blanket in burlap due to an unseasonable hard frost that's expected tonight and built a new desk and shelves in the boys' room. And we've gone to the movies to see Fantastic Mr. Fox (fantastic!!) and a Christmas Carol at El Capitan in Hollywood (outstanding...and scary!). We've gone on date nights, and to a club to hear our current favorite musician play....and we've been working hard at school and our day jobs too. Whew!
In short, (or long), we are exhausted...but in a good way, and consequently not a whole lot of things have been coming out of the kitchen lately. The exception being this (most delicious) PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM, and this (most delectable) Peppermint Fudge. The fudge recipe is adapted from Everyday Food Magazine and is super easy because it doesn't require the use of a candy thermometer. Peppermint candies are finely chopped, then melted together with piles of pillowy marshmallows and rich cream and butter. That molten pink confection is whisked with chocolate chips until they melt...and that's it! Fudge!
It's really, really easy. In fact, I made it with my after school cooking class...and if a 7 year old can make it so can you! Make a double batch so you can give it away as a gift...just a suggestion. Of course, you could also just enjoy the whole batch by yourself. Nothing cures holiday stress like chocolate....
Want more Christmas treat ideas? Check out Serena's Cookie Exchange!
This easy fudge is so rich and delectable…that it is easy to make is a bonus. You can use a food processor to smash up the peppermint candies, but kids love to do the job with a wooden rolling pin. Packaged up in a pretty bowl, these candies would make a wonderful holiday gift if you have any left over to give away. You may want to double the recipe just to make sure.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time
Yield: 16 squares
2 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup round peppermint candies
¾ cup heavy cream
3 ½ cups mini marshmallows
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Peppermint sprinkles (or more crushed candies)
Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, then line with 2 sheets of waxed paper in both directions, leaving a 2 inch overhang on each side. Spray waxed paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place chocolate in a large bowl. Pulse peppermint candies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment until finely ground, or alternately, place candies in a freezer strength zip-top bag and whack with a wooden rolling pin on a firm surface until smashed. In a medium saucepan, combine candies, cream, marshmallows, butter, sugar and salt over medium-high heat. Whisk until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.
Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer over the chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into prepared pan, top with peppermint sprinkles, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Cut fudge into squares with a sharp knife. To store, cover and refrigerate up to one week.