I was talking to my girls a few days ago and every yummy idea I was coming up with involved one common ingredient…Peppermint! Did I have any in the house? Nope! So this morning I stopped at the grocery store during EMS (Early Morning Seminary) and bought 3 big boxes of peppermint candy canes. I didn't even mind when I started taking the wrappers off and found that most of them were broken…this time I wasn't even slightly disappointed because the next thing I did was to put them into a heavy freezer Ziploc and smash them into tiny pieces…not a total winning method as the canes are a little sharp and poke holes into the ziploc. But it did the job. A couple of days ago I posted the Double Chocolate Cocoa Cones…here's an idea I adapted by putting the crushed peppermint on top of the marshmallows, and deleting the chocolate chips from the mix. They are so pretty! However, I have a big DISCLAIMER: As I was handling the cute little packages this morning, I noticed that the crushed peppermint was pretty hard and seemed to have melded together. I am going to go down right now to boil some water and make sure it will make a good cup of Peppermint Cocoa…otherwise, I just made a whole bunch of pretty for nothing!
My day ended on a better note. My assignment (for myself) was gourmet popcorn for our Relief Society Christmas party. It sounded good, but I haven't made specialty popcorn for ages and never the kind I wanted to make today. Sometimes you have to go on faith and previous experience.
I had a bunch of my new favorite Hershey's Kisses – the Candy Cane ones – left from last year (still yummy, by the way) and I wanted to incorporate them with chocolate. Unwrap about 30 or so, put them in a Pampered Chef chopper (or you can do it by hand with a knife), and make them tiny little bits. Set aside.
I know that when I have made carmel corn before that I used a hot air popper, not the microwave popcorn packages. So I popped up some Orville Redenbacher (1/2 cup, as per the popper's instructions) and spread it out on 2 large cookie sheets. Try to make it a single layer so every morsel gets a little chocolate. After a bad morning trying to melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, I reverted back to melting the chips in the microwave in a Pyrex glass bowl: Put 1 – 12oz. bag of chocolate chips in the bowl, and heat for 4 minutes on 30%, opening the door and stirring 2 or 3 times during the 4 minutes. Add another 1 or 2 minutes at 30% until smooth, not over heating. Pour into a baggie and cut a tiny bit of one corner off and drizzled it over the popcorn until the whole bag (12 oz.) of chips was on the popcorn, one bag per tray of popcorn. Sprinkle with the Candy Cane bits. You can put the tray into the frig for a few minutes to help the chocolate start setting. This was yummy! A better end to the day of being captive in the kitchen than I had expected. Of course, add the element of good friends, shared ideas and conversation and the evening was wonderful!