Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday in Candyland



It was cold and overcast on Monday morning and stayed that way all day.

I went to Kroger’s to get a few items I needed and was surprised at how crowded it was. I guess everyone is getting ready for Holiday meals.

When I got home, I treated the cats, of course, and changed clothes. I made a cup of coffee and then removed the clamps from the office door. With the aid of my level, I got the register situated and marked where the screws need to go. I pre-drilled the holes and put in two brass wood screws. Bingo! It looked pretty good! See photo.

Then I tried something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: making candy! Oh, nothing fancy or all that temperamental, just some Peppermint Bark.

Now, I don’t have a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan, so I bought an aluminum “cookie” sheet at Kroger’s that size. [Sidebar: I personally don’t think size is all that important, but I’ve been saying that all my life!] I lined it with tin foil (leaving the sides up) and sprayed that with canola oil.

I unwrapped a box of candy canes and then the canes (who knew each damn candy cane was also covered with plastic?), broke each one apart and put them in my food processor. I pulsed them until they were in small pieces and dust. You want about 3/4 cup. Oh, before I forget, you can use peppermint candy instead, but I was rocking it old-school.

Next, I jury-rigged a double boiler using a saucepan and a aluminum bowl. I put some water in the pan, but not enough to touch the bowl and then turned the heat on medium low.

I put in 12 ounces of high quality semi sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli, myself) and stirred them until they melted. Then I dumped them into the pan and spread them around. I quickly learned why they suggested an offset spatula (which I don’t have). When I had it as even as I could get it, I sprinkled 1/4 cup of the peppermint candy evenly on top.

I stuck the pan in the fridge to let it get cold.

I cleaned out the bowl while I was waiting. When it was cold and firm, I fired my “double boiler” back up to medium low. I put in one pound of white chocolate (make sure it has cocoa butter in it) and stirred it until it was almost all melted. Then I took the bowl off the heat,  added in 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract and stirred it until it was smooth.

I let that cool a little and got the tray out of the fridge. I put the white chocolate on top and spread it out. When I was happy with the way it looked (damn I need an offset spatula!) I sprinkled the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed peppermint on top and stuck it back in the fridge.

I warmed up the leftover’s I got from Hannah and a leftover baked potato for my supper (which was excellent, although I was mixing my starches, what with Hannah’s rice and my baked potato) and went in to watch an old movie on Turner Classic Movies. Called “Destination Tokyo,” it was set in World War II, starred Cary Grant and was about a submarine that snuck into Tokyo Bay to do reconnaissance and then snuck back out.

[Sidebar: This may sound pretty hard to believe a submarine could sneak into  a harbor area undetected, until you realize that Tokyo Bay is a large expanse of water that juts deep into the mainland, It’s over 500 square miles at an average depth of  some 130 feet.]

Beside the fact that I like old movies, the reason I watch this one (I’ve seen it before) is that my cousin, Bobby, served on a submarine in World War II that did the exact same thing! They got through the mine fields and submarine nets by following directly behind and under a Japanese destroyer. But, in the real life story, once they got in and the nets were raised back up, they were stuck in there for an extended period (days, weeks, I dunno. Hell, I was a little kid when I first heard this story.), having to surface at night to get air and recharge batteries, etc., until they finally managed to sneak back out.

Anyway, when it finished, I could have and maybe should have finished with my Peppermint Bark. All that’s left is to lift the foil out of the pan and shake off the excess candy. Then you peel the foil from the bottom of the peppermint bark, trim the edges and cut it into 2-inch squares.

But, I don’t see why I couldn’t do it in the morning when it would have less chance to melt before I can get it into work. My co-workers don’t know it yet, but they are going to be my test group. I sure as hell shouldn’t eat two pounds of candy!

So, I turned off the TV and went to bed.

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