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Easy, 10 Minute Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark is a classic holiday treat. This candy has only 4 ingredients and comes together in 10 minutes. It’s perfect for gift giving or as a fun addition to a holiday cookie tray.

Ingredients

2 cups Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
2 oz Ghirardelli white chocolate (OR 1/4 cup of chips)
2 – 6-inch candy canes

Ingredients for Peppermint Bark

Directions

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure the paper overhangs all side of the pan. Pour all semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips on to parchment-lined pan. Toss the chips together to mix, and then spread into a single layer.

Place pan of chocolate chips in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE CHOCOLATE. You are looking for the chips to be *just* melted. The chocolate chips will retain their shape, so watch for the chips to start looking glossy. That will be the indicator that they’ve melted. If you leave them in too long, the chocolate will scorch and turn grainy.

Once the chips have melted, remove the pan from the oven.

Using an offset spatula, gently mix and smooth the chocolate chips so they fill the pan with a single layer of melted chocolate.

Melted Chocolate Chips for Peppermint Bark

Sprinkle the white chocolate chips on top of the melted chocolate.

Sprinkle the melted chocolate with white chocolate pieces/chips

Leave them alone for 3-4 minutes while they melt.

Using a butter knife or offset spatula, carefully swirl the tip of it through the melted white chocolate chips creating whatever designs you like. The more you swirl the knife through the pan, the more you’ll mix the chocolates together.

Swirl the chocolate together for the peppermint bark

Remove wrappers from candy canes and place them in a resealable bag. Using a small pan or rolling pin, crush the candy canes into very small pieces.

Sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces over the melted chocolate.

A pan full of peppermint bark

Let the pan sit overnight, or until the chocolate has hardened.

Using the parchment paper that’s overhanging the pan, lift the peppermint bark out and place it on a cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into pieces.

Enjoy!

Tips for Peppermint Bark

  • Use good quality chocolate for this recipe. Ghirardelli is a great, high quality brand of chocolate that’s available in most major grocery stores.
  • Do not use your hands to break up the bark. The heat from your hands will melt the chocolate.
  • Can’t find candy canes? Crush 5-6 starlight mints and use those instead.
  • Peppermint bark makes a great hostess gift and is a fun gluten-free alternative on a cookie tray.

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More Easy Chocolate Treats

Pecan Turtle Candies

Want to make another fun, easy candy recipe? Give these 4 ingredient pecan turtles a try!

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Peppermint Bark

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission at no cost to you. 

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Bacon wrapped dates are perfect for entertaining and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. They look fancy, but come together easily. You can also add a green salad, and call these appetizers your dinner. They’re that good.

Ingredients

36 large, pitted dates
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp whole, roasted almonds (aprox 30 almonds)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 lbs sliced bacon (not thick sliced)
36 toothpicks

Using kitchen shears or a small paring knife, cut each date lengthwise on one side. (See image below.) As you do this, check for any remaining pits or hard pieces on the end of the dates. Remove any excess pits and/or hard pieces. Set dates aside.

Cut dates in half, lengthwise

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, and garlic powder. Finely chop almonds. Add to cream cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Cream cheese and almond mixture

Open package of bacon. Cut all of the bacon slices in half. Set aside.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place wire rack on top of parchment paper and spray rack with cooking spray.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

To assemble:

Open date slightly at the cut and place aprox ½ teaspoon of cream cheese mixture inside. Press seam together to seal slightly. (Dates should be full but not overflowing.)

Place stuffed date onto the end of a piece of bacon, roll up lengthwise and secure bacon with a toothpick.

Place date onto prepared wrack. Repeat with the rest of the dates.

Bacon wrapped dates ready for the oven

Bake dates for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through.

Remove toothpicks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Notes on Bacon Wrapped Dates

  • Be sure to remove the toothpicks before serving!
  • These dates are delicious served warm or at room temperature.
  • You can make these ahead of time and reheat in a 300 degree oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.
  • Skip the thick cut bacon for this recipe. The standard cut available in any grocery store works great.

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Cocktail Pairing

Bee's Knees

Salty, creamy, bacon wrapped dates pair well with a tart cocktail. Try a Bee’s Knees.

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Bacon wrapped dates

Pumpkin Spiced Milk

Pumpkin Spiced Milk is a fall twist on my popular Spiced Milk recipe. Full of fall goodness, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and nutmeg sweeten the milk to create your new favorite coffee creamer.

Ingredients

2 cups milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
kitchen string*
cheesecloth**

Make the Spice Pouch:

Place 2 – 4”x4” squares of fine mesh cheesecloth together (or 1 coffee filter) and set on the counter.

Place cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in the middle of the cheesecloth. Stir gently to combine the spices.

Gather all sides of the cheesecloth together, forming a little pouch.

Wrap a few inches of kitchen string around the cheesecloth, staying just at the top of where the spices are.

Tie string tightly and double knot so the spices can’t escape.

Set your spice pouch aside. 

Pile of spices on 2 layers of cheese cloth.
The completed spice pouch.

Make the milk:

Place milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until syrup has dissolved and milk is hot but not bubbling or boiling. 

Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Remove milk from heat and add spice pouch to the hot milk mixture.

Gently push it down into the milk until the spices inside the pouch have been submerged.

(The top of the cheesecloth/coffee filter will stick up from the milk. That’s ok, just make sure those spices are below the surface.) 

Add the spice pouch to the pumpkin milk.
Spice pouch infusing the milk.

Let steep for 1-2 hours while the milk cools. 

Remove spice pouch from cooled milk. Gently squeeze to remove liquid from the cheesecloth/coffee filter and spices. Dispose of spice pouch.

Store milk in the refrigerator. 

Notes on Pumpkin Spiced Milk

  • If you don’t have kitchen string on hand, use some white thread or unflavored dental floss to tie the spice pouch together. 
  • A coffee filter can be substituted for the cheesecloth, just make sure to bundle it carefully so it doesn’t rip when bundling.

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More Flavored Milk for your Coffee

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Pumpkin Spiced Milk pouring into a cup of coffee

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Recipe: 4 Ingredient Pecan Turtles

Whether for yourself or to give as a gift, classic pecan turtle candies are a delicious treat that comes together quickly and is super easy to make.

Makes 12 turtles. 

12 caramels 
48 pecan halves 
1 cup chocolate chips
½ tsp coconut oil* 

Heat oven to 225 degrees. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Unwrap caramels and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. 

Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until caramels are softened and starting to melt. 

Remove caramels from the oven. While they’re still hot, carefully press 4 pecan halves into each caramel.

Caramel and pecans placed together

Set aside to cool. 

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil (if using). 

Microwave chocolate for 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds. 

Stir chocolate chips until smooth. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of melted chocolate over each caramel/pecan cluster. 

Set aside and allow chocolate to set/solidify. This will take 2-3 hours, depending on the heat and humidity in your house. 

Pecan Turtles

Notes on Pecan Turtles: 

  • *The coconut oil is optional, but will make the chocolate come out nice and shiny. If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, just leave it out.
  • Make sure your caramels are fresh. Don’t use caramels that have been hanging out in your pantry for 6+ months. 
  • You can use any combination of chocolate chips in this recipe. Using all semi-sweet chocolate chips will create a dark chocolate turtle. A combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips is also nice for these pecan turtles. 
  • I love giving homemade goodies, like these pecan turtles as gifts. Packaging them in small, inexpensive treat boxes make they feel extra special.
Pecan Turtles

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Blackberry Vanilla Martini

Blackberry and vanilla are a perfect pair. Adding lime to the mix creates a refreshing, tart cocktail in this blackberry vanilla martini.

Makes 1 cocktail.

2 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz simple syrup
½ oz lime juice
4-5 fresh blackberries
4-5 fresh mint leaves

Muddle mint, blackberries and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.

Add ice, simple syrup and vodka. 

Shake well. 

Pour through a fine mesh sieve held over a coupe or martini glass.* 

Enjoy!

Tips for Blackberry Vanilla Martini

  • *This step keeps the blackberry seeds and mint pieces out of your cocktail. If you don’t mind some berry and mint pieces in your drink, feel free to skip it. 🙂
  • Don’t have a cocktail shaker on hand? Use a mason jar with a tight fitting lid.

Snack Pairing

Corn and Avocado Salsa

Creamy, cool Avocado Corn Salsa pairs deliciously with this tart martini.

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Blackberry Vanilla Martini

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission at no cost to you.

Watermelon Margaritas

Looking for a refreshing, fruity cocktail that’s not too sweet? These watermelon margaritas are the perfect summer (or anytime) sip.

Makes 1 cocktail.

2 oz silver tequila
2 oz watermelon juice (see recipe below)
0.5 oz triple sec
0.75 oz simple syrup
0.75 oz lime juice

Place everything into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

Shake it up!

Strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice. 

Enjoy!

Make Watermelon Juice: 

Place 3-4 cups of diced watermelon in a blender and purée until smooth. 

Strain the pureed watermelon through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the juice.

Repeat until you have all the watermelon juice you want!

Chill until ready to use.

Note: Watermelon juice will separate if not used within a couple hours. This does NOT impact its taste and does NOT mean it’s gone bad. Simply stir or shake the juice to mix it back up. 

Tips on Watermelon Margaritas

  • Watermelon juice will keep for up to 4 days, so try to make only as much as you’ll use in that time.
  • An entire “personal” sized watermelon will make aprox 64 oz of juice.
  • You can salt or sugar the rim of your glass for this margarita, depending on preference. Run a small piece of watermelon around the top of the glass and then dip the glass into a shallow dish of salt (or sugar).
  • Do not buy bottled watermelon juice in the store without checking the label. Several have additional fruit juices mixed into them that will greatly alter the taste of this drink if you use it instead of making fresh juice.

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Snack Pairing

Black Bean Mango Salsa

Black Bean Mango Salsa is a delicious snack alongside these margaritas!

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Watermelon Margaritas

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission at no cost to you.

Recipe: Spinach Dip Pasta

What if there was a way to have spinach dip for dinner? There is! With a light, creamy sauce and fresh spinach, this spinach dip pasta recipe is a main dish take on our family’s favorite appetizer.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup Swiss or gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tsp lemon juice
6 oz bag fresh, baby spinach (about 3 cups)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 oz dried pasta*

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside. 

Melt butter in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to brown. Whisk in milk.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add cheese and lemon juice, stirring to incorporate.

Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the cheese has melted.

Stir in the spinach, working in a couple batches if necessary, until all of it has wilted into the sauce.

Fold in tomatoes and cooked pasta.

Adjust salt and/or pepper to taste.

Enjoy your spinach dip pasta! 

*Half of a one pound box.

Spinach Dip Pasta

Chocolate Cream Cheese Banana Bread

This easy chocolate cream cheese banana bread – with its big swirls of cream cheese – is the perfect excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.

Bread: 
1 ¼ cups flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed 
¼ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Filling: 
4 oz cream cheese, softened 
1 egg
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine cream cheese, 1 egg, ¼ cup flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine 1 egg, milk, mashed bananas, oil and vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. 

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan

Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of the batter. 

Using a butter knife or small spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the batter. Don’t over swirl or the cream cheese will disappear into the batter. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Enjoy!

Tips on Chocolate Cream Cheese Banana Bread

  • Low fat cream cheese works well in this recipe.
  • The riper your bananas, the sweeter the bread will be.
  • Chocolate cream cheese banana bread freezes great! You can slice it before freezing or freeze the full loaf. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.

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Enjoy it with…

Miel Milk

Pour some honey and cinnamon Miel Milk in your coffee for the perfect weekend breakfast treat!

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Recipe: Peach Pie Martini

Angostura bitters elevate this sweet cocktail to peach pie dessert status, making a peach pie martini the perfect summer (or dreaming of summer) night cap.

Makes 1 cocktail.

2 oz vodka
1 oz peach liqueur
1.5 oz peach syrup (recipe below)
1/2 oz lemon juice
5 dashes aromatic bitters 

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice. 

Shake well.

Strain into a martini glass. 

Enjoy your peach pie martini!

Peach Syrup: 

1 ripe peach, sliced
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c water
1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine all in a saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and mash peach slices into the liquid. Set aside to cool slightly. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Press peach mixture through the sieve. Discard any peach remnants left in the sieve. Let the liquid cool completely before using.

Makes 4 oz of syrup, enough for 2 peach pie martinis. 

Peach Pie Martini

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Recipe: Blender Salsa

Every member of my family makes a version of this salsa. It’s easy, tasty and an often requested recipe. It’s perfect to make ahead as part of weekend meal prep, so we have fresh salsa for taco night.

1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt 
1 small onion, cut into quarters 
Large handful of fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño (optional)

Peel the onion and cut it into quarters. 

Cut the jalapeño in half. Remove the stem. If desired, remove the seeds as well.  

Pour the can of tomatoes into the blender. Add in the remaining ingredients in the order listed above. 

Blend until well combined.

Taste salsa and add salt if desired. 

Note: If you prefer recognizable cilantro in your salsa, omit it from the blender and instead chop the cilantro and stir it into the salsa after you’ve blended it. 

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