Got a long list of people on the nice list this year?
If yes, a homemade gift from your kitchen might be the answer to your Christmas budget!
Two of my favorite things to make to gift are Peppermint Bark and Limoncello. I’ve already made some bark this year and the lemons for the Limoncello are still steeping.
The Peppermint Bark looks beautiful in cellophane bags or small glass jars finished off with a ribbon.
The Limoncello can be strained into glass bottles with corks or attached lids that you can find at The Container Store or Michaels.
Both of these homemade treats are super easy to make and the best part, everyone I’ve given them to loves them!
Merry Everything! xoxo
Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
17 ounces good quality white chocolate finely chopped
30 red and white striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed. (about 6 ounces)
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
Turn a large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark a 12 x 9 inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until the chocolate is melted and smooth and the candy thermometer registers 110 degrees F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup milted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with ¼ cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using an icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl, set over barely simmering water to 110 degrees F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges if desired. Cut bark cross wise into 2 inch wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (I forgo this and just break the bark into different size pieces).
This can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 ½ cups water
2 ½ cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use, I usually juice them and store the juice in a mason jar in the refrigerator). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2 quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.