Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Antidote

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My hands are freezing, there's a good 2-3 inches of packed ice covering every road between here and any destination imaginable... and I have more than 40 un-written Christmas cards staring me in the face - suffice it to say, I haven't hit the jolly part of the holidays. And yes, I'm well-aware that I have ah-hem, not so long to "get in the mood".

Fear not, though, I'm certain this will be just a short-lived pre-Christmas exuberance funk. I'm not one to miss the excitement of a holiday, most of all Christmas. And lest I give you the wrong impression, I'm not looking for sympathy... after all, hopefully you are far, far away from your computer, not here desperately searching for Christmas' version of being kicked in the rear... or was it being kicked into (high) gear. Either way...

While I'm here, though, I might as well finish what I've started... though to be fair, I'm not even sure where it came from (or maybe I just don't want to admit it). If you know me (at all), you're probably sitting there laughing. And how I'm dying to join you - for we all know one thing, if I'm not laughing then it's bad.

Here I am... wondering how I let this happen again. But I planned ahead this holiday so I could avoid this exact situation - I was supposed to be done and relaxing by now. Instead, I've created even more stress being frustrated with myself that I'm not enjoying the holiday yet.

With that, I've decided my pity party is over. Sure there are a few last presents to be wrapped, a trip to pack for, of course those pesky Christmas cards that I won't give up on, and cookies to be (hopefully prettily) packaged for our hosts. Watch out, folks, Kara's going to take it in stride (or at least make a valiant attempt).

With that, may I introduce you to some treats (although some version of them are an annual tradition around here) that are sure not to cause you any pre or post (or smack dab right in the middle of it) holiday grief... on the off-chance that there are more than one of me out there, prone to a last-minute meltdown (or three). And just because I have an inspired, fierce determination that from here on out, it's all-Christmas cheer, all the time.

Double-Mint Bark

7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
15 oz Hershey's Candy Cane Mint kisses
Andes mint pieces

Turn a jelly roll pan bottom side up and cover securely with foil. Stir the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler over low heat (the water should be barely simmering) until just melted and smooth. Pour chocolate on foil; using icing spatula (I used an off-set spatula), spread chocolate to uniform thickness (approximately a 10 x 8 rectangle). Chill until set, at least 15 minutes.

Stir Hershey's kisses in a double boiler over low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour melted kisses over the bittersweet chocolate layer in long lines and spread evenly (quickly) using an offset spatula. Immediately sprinkle hand fulls of Andes mint candy pieces over the mint layer and press lightly to adhere.

Chill until firm. Lift foil with bark onto a work surface; cut the bark crosswise into 2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip into smaller sections (to your liking). Store in an airtight container; can be frozen for a few weeks. Let stand a few minutes at room temperature before serving.

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