Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everybody!

There is no challenge over on the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge today, just warm holiday wishes from all the design team, along with some wonderful holiday inspiration (and a fantastic disount offer, see the end of this post)!

In my house, anyone who comes over while the Christmas tree is up has to bring an ornament with them to hang on it.  It's a strict rule, and I don't care what they bring as long as they bring something!  Every year when I decorate the tree, with each of those ornaments I get to remember who brought it and when, what we were doing and how lucky I am to have them in my life.  Speaking of ornaments, I just finished trimming my tree (later than I had planned!)  Here's a quick photo I took of it.

Obviously it's only right that I give them something too so I make bags of fruit and nut chocolate bark to give in return.  It's easy to make and comes in handy for stocking fillers and teachers or hostess gifts.  For the best results, chocolate needs to be tempered (a complicated process involving heating, cooling, heating again and candy thermometers), which is too much work in my book, but it does stop the chocolate getting that white "bloom".  The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, shared a much easier method of tempering, which I have used below.

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark

  • Equal quantities of 2 types of chocolate (I used 150g bars of milk and white to make 3 bags like the one shown in the photo)
  • Dried fruits and nuts for sprinkling (I used 50g of whole hazelnuts and 50g of mixed dried fruit this time but you can use whatever you like, dried cranberries, candied peel, walnuts, pecans, it's all good)

  1. Keeping your two kinds of chocolate separate chop finely and melt 2/3 of each, either in bowls over simmering water or in the microwave (30 second bursts, stirring after each one until it's melted).
  2. Add the remaining 1/3 of the chopped chocolate to each melted batch, stirring until it's all dissolved (this is how the tempering is achieved).
  3. Pour the first chocolate onto a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and spread out fairly thinly (the bigger you make your "pool" of chocolate, the more space to sprinkle on fruit and nuts later.
  4. Pour the second batch of chocolate onto the first, spreading out to the same size.
  5. Sprinkle on as much fruit and nuts as you like, giving it all a gentle press to make sure it sticks to the chocolate.  If you're using large items like brazi nuts or dried apricots, chop them a little first.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator until cool and hardened.
  7. Cut or break into random shards, place into pretty food-safe bags and tie with ribbon (my bow was cut from the Retro Grunge paper stash).
That's it from me this Christmas!  I hope you all have a cosy and peaceful Christmas with friends and loved ones, filled with good food, fond memories and lots of fun!

Simon Says Stamp are offering you a fantastic Christmas gift - a 40% discount on clearance items, just use the code CLEAR40 at the checkout until December 31st!

Don't forget, Simon Says Stamp have a great Facebook page too!  Check them out here!


voodoo vixen said...

Merry Christmas Dan, hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you.
I love your tree dec tradition, how fabulous to be bale to remember friends that way!!

Candy C said...

Hi Dan! I love your Christmas pretty! I also love your idea of everyone who comes over bringing an ornament to hang on your tree! That is such a wonderful idea! Thank you for the recipe. It sounds delish! Dan, I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas. May the memory of Christmases past fill your thoughts and bring you joy this year. Much love, <3 Candy

Suzanne C said...

Yummy wonderful post! Beautiful tree and the candy treats are fab! A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sandra said...

Gorgeous tree! What a wonderful tradition! Thanks for the recipe! Merry Christmis to you and yours too! Hugs, Sandra

Sid said...

Happy Christmas Dan !

misteejay said...

Merry Christmas Dan - hope 2013 is a great year for you.

You look very dapper in your Santa hat.

Toni xx

Anonymous said...


Soraya said...

Wish your Christmas was warm and filled with sweet memories. May the New Year be filled with new toys to try!

email: said...

Mmm! Yummy treats for Christmas! Gorgeous packaging too, Dan! Thanks for sharing!

Happy Holidays!
Simon Says Stamp!

Claudine said...

Yummo!! These look fantastic! I love your idea of having everyone bring an ornament, I might have to steal that one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!!!

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