GUYS Christmas is in less than 10 days! Where did the time go? I haven't even gotten through half of my holiday baking list and on Saturday I'll be flying to out California, so it looks like some cookies will be happening on the other side of the States. So far I've successfully baked up a batch of Sonja and Alex's chai spiced snowball cookies, a birthday cheesecake for a sweet friend, and a tasty baking fail that might get a re-do in January. I've been adjusting to the fact that I can't just skip school for a day with my oven like last year. I actually have set work hours now instead of an entire day to watch recorded lectures... is this what growing up is?!
But despite the lack of quality oven time this month, I have still managed to collect an impressive amount of cookies in the apartment thanks to the 5th Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It's my first time ever participating in such an event, and it was delicious from start to finish. I've received some amazing chocolate gingersnaps, melt-away sugar cookies, and sparkly minty pinwheels (thank you ladies!) along with some pretty packaging that puts my own to shame. All you ladies are too wonderful and are contributing to the holiday chubbiness that is developing on my cheeks, and I am not mad about it.
My own contribution is this peppermint pretzel toffee bark. I like it for many reasons - it's fast, uncomplicated, salty-sweet, and looks awfully festive. It doesn't require a dough that needs to be chilled for hours so you can save some room in the fridge for that future gingerbread house of yours. And it's perfect for gifting because you literally just break it up (with a knife if you're fancy, or with clean hands if you're a lazybones like me) and pop it in the bag, tie a fancy ribbon, and voila, holiday magic. I used peppermints because I love the pizzazz of the red and white, but you really can make this your own and top it with nuts for your nutty grandparents, m&ms for your sweet sisters, or bacon bits for your smelly brother.
- 15 sheets of graham crackers, you can use chocolate graham crackers if you like an especially chocolate-y bark!
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups crushed pretzel bits
- 1/4 cup crushed peppermint bits
- 1/4 cup chocolate covered peppermint bits (I found mine at Target. If you don't find these, I imagine white chocolate chips, red hots, or any other type goody would be quite great)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the graham crackers into the baking sheet pan so that they are lined up edge to edge until the whole sheet is covered.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Continue to heat until the mixture begins to bubble, about 5-7 minutes. Stir with a spatula occasionally as it heats up.
- Pour the butter mixture over the graham crackers and quickly spread with a spatula so that it covers all the graham crackers. Stick the baking sheet pan in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the butter mixture bubbles in the oven.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven and immediately top with the chopped chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt for 1 minute, and then use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate. It may get mixed in with the butter/toffee mixture, but that's okay! You'll just have chocolate-y toffee and that's no big deal.
- Quickly sprinkle the pretzels, peppermint bits, and chocolate covered peppermint bits over the toffee. Press the toppings with your hands into the mixture, but be careful, the toffee will be hot, don't burn your hands! Stick the pan in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, or you can stick it in the freezer. Either way, allow it to cool completely, then break it up and enjoy! Gift them to some lovelies or eat the whole damn thing yourself.