Holiday Gifts

peppermintmaple cashews

It’s Tips for Tuesday!

This week’s tip:  Make your own peppermint bark and candied nuts to give as gifts this holiday season!

Peppermint bark and candied nuts are great gifts for teachers, co-workers, neighbors, and more.  They are both easy to make and absolutely delicious!  I first posted these recipes last year, and wanted to share them again for anyone who is looking for holiday treat ideas.  The recipes are below.  Enjoy!

Peppermint Chocolate Bark

There is really nothing easier than making your own peppermint bark.  It can literally be made in 25 minutes, and 15 of those are waiting for it to harden.  Peppermint and chocolate are such a delicious combination and most everyone I know just adores it.  I also include it in my Christmas and New Years dessert spread and it was a big hit last year.

Peppermint Bark

15 pieces

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 candy canes (1/4 cup once crushed)
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (ensure it will fit into the freezer).
  • Crush the candy canes and ensure you are left with non-uniform pieces (there should be a mixture of dust and small to medium pieces). To do this, place in a food storage bag and crush (I use a meat tenderizer). Since candy canes can be different sizes, ensure your crushed candy canes measure about 1/4 cup.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a double broiler over medium heat (don't let the water boil underneath). Melt the chocolate and stir as needed. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 of the crushed candy canes.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper and smooth out evenly to 1/4 inch thickness. Evenly sprinkle the remaining crushed candy cane on top. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  • Remove and break up into desired sizes and shapes. Store away from heat or direct sunlight in a sealed container. It also stores well in the fridge until ready to eat. You can make this several days ahead.
  • Maple Cinnamon Cashews

    Last year I wanted to come up with my own candied nut recipe.  It took me several tries to come up with something that was unique and delicious, and also fairly simple to make.  These nuts are soft, sweet, salty, and have a delicious hint of cinnamon.  The maple flavor mixed with the cashews is addictive.

    Maple Cashews

    1 cup of nuts

    Maple Cashews

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (used separately)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
    • parchment paper
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet and cooling rack with parchment paper. Mix 1/4 tsp. cinnamon with sugar and set aside.
  • Place the maple syrup in a pot over medium heat (I use stainless steel). Once it boils and begins to foam, add the remaining cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract, stirring well after each addition. Let boil for about 1 minute, and then add cashews and stir. Return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Stirring frequently, let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the syrup mixture begins to thicken.
  • Pour the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the nuts, and then place in the oven. After 7 to 8 minutes, remove and stir the nuts around (the syrup should be golden brown and bubbly). Place back in the oven for 1 to 2 additional minutes.
  • Stir around the nuts, and place on a parchment-lined cooling rack in a single layer. Let sit until cooled, and then break apart. Store in an airtight container.
  • Stay tuned on Thursday for a super delicious and rich Greek dessert, which is perfect for the holidays!

    22 Responses to“Holiday Gifts”

    1. 12/08/2015 at 9:58 am #

      Such great ideas! my daughter loves peppermint bark! I will have to try this! Sounds easy

      • Zoale.com
        12/08/2015 at 10:01 am #

        Thanks Lynn! It really is super easy. I hope she likes it 🙂

        • 12/08/2015 at 10:02 am #

          sounds so good! and instead of all that other stuff that might be in it this is simple and delicious! yumm

        • Zoale.com
          12/08/2015 at 10:06 am #

          Agreed! I love knowing what’s in the food I eat and I love simple and delicious food.

        • 12/08/2015 at 11:03 am #

          yes me too!

        • Zoale.com
          12/08/2015 at 12:05 pm #

          😉

    2. 12/08/2015 at 10:22 am #

      I love peppermint bark! I make a one using both white and dark chocolate. I’m going to try this version, too! Oh, and cashews…YUM! I’ll be making both of these for sure 🙂

      • Zoale.com
        12/08/2015 at 10:30 am #

        It is awesome isn’t it? That sounds really tasty! I hope you enjoy both of them 🙂

    3. skd
      12/08/2015 at 11:44 am #

      The candied nuts idea is awesome. makes an excellent snack.

      • Zoale.com
        12/08/2015 at 12:07 pm #

        Thank you 🙂 They are great for snacking!

    4. 12/08/2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Can I have some..looks super tempting

      • Zoale.com
        12/08/2015 at 7:24 pm #

        I wish I could send you some 🙂 Thank you Vidya!

    5. 12/08/2015 at 10:13 pm #

      These sound amazing!! I’ve never actually made peppermint bark. This looks like a great recipe to try! And good grief–candied cashews?! Yes! Yes, please!

      • Zoale.com
        12/08/2015 at 10:32 pm #

        Thank you and I hope you get a chance to try it! The cashews are crazy good and hard to resist. My husband ate the last batch meant for my daughter’s teacher 😉

        • 12/08/2015 at 10:36 pm #

          Lol. Now you have the perfect excuse to make another batch! 😉

        • Zoale.com
          12/09/2015 at 10:03 am #

          So true 😀

    6. 12/09/2015 at 9:22 am #

      Peppermint bark is one of my favorite holiday treats! I never even thought of making my own candied nuts but it’s a wonderful idea. Homemade holiday gifts are the best 🙂

      • Zoale.com
        12/09/2015 at 10:19 am #

        Mine too! There is nothing better than peppermint and chocolate. Thanks Heather! I never thought of making them before last year and I just had to use cashews. They are just not in enough sweets 😉

    7. 12/10/2015 at 5:53 am #

      Peppermint bark is one of my favorite and I love that it is so easy! Your nuts look great too, perfect teacher gift indeed.

      • Zoale.com
        12/10/2015 at 8:17 am #

        I love peppermint bark too..so creamy and refreshing 🙂 Thank you!

    8. 12/11/2015 at 7:02 pm #

      Love the idea dear. Looks so delicious. Thank you for such a lovely post!

      • Zoale.com
        12/11/2015 at 8:50 pm #

        Thank you so much Kushi 🙂

    I would love to hear from you!

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