The weeks leading up to the holidays are really busy ones for me. I’m a university professor, so I’m always spending that time grading exams and term papers and dealing with all the end of the semester chaos. So although I like to bake I generally don’t have much time for it in December. This year is especially crazy because I have three new fiction releases this month, plus I’m in varying stages of working on two different textbooks.
Sleep? Sleep is for wimps.
But there is one holiday treat-making tradition I never miss: making peppermint bark with my daughters. We always make a few batches to give as gifts to teachers and neighbors. My kids love pounding the candy canes and drizzling the chocolate (the younger one’s a pro at that), I love how quick and easy the project is, and everyone loves to eat the stuff.
So here’s the recipe, which I think I adapted years ago from Martha Stewart. I recommend whipping up a batch and curling up with some bark, a beverage of your choice, and one of my new releases. J
8 large candy canes
2 packages (12 oz. each) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Line an 11×17 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unwrapped candy canes inside a ziploc bag. Crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until pieces are less than 1/4 inch long. Melt white chocolate chips in medium bowl in microwave at 50%, stirring often. When chocolate is completely melted, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint extract. Mix well. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly in baking sheet. The mixture should cover about 3/4 of the sheet. Melt semisweet chocolate in microwave, using 50% setting and checking and stirring often. When semisweet chocolate is completely melted, use a spoon to drizzle and splatter atop white chocolate mixture. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until bark is hardened (about 30-45 minutes). Break bark into pieces (I use the point of a large knife to crack the bark). Package–or eat yourself! For best results, store in refrigerator.
by Kim Fielding
Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.
Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.
As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.
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As part of the Brute Blog Tour, I am running a contest. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry, stating your favorite holiday treat. Please leave your email address in your comment. You can comment at multiple blog tour entries for multiple chances to win! Click here for the full list of tour stops. Winners will be chosen on December 25. One person will receive a paperback copy of Bruteand another person will receive an eBook copy of Brute.