Monday, December 30, 2013

Salted Toffee Pretzel Bark

We had a favorite holiday treat over here...that got changed up a little this year.  My recipe for Chocolate Almond Roca slice underwent a makeover...and is now Salted Toffee Pretzel Bark.  With a granddaughter who has nut allergies...this works much better.  And we love it!  The first recipe disappeared I made another batch to take us through New Year's.  If you like a toffee and chocolate combination with a touch of salt...this is for you. It's not too late to make up some treats for your New Year's celebrations.
  • 1 bag mini pretzels (you will need 4 or 5 cups)
  • 1 cup butter (the real thing)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 340 gr / 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
  • Sea salt (optional)
  1. Line 11 x 17 inch bar pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cover the bottom with a layer of pretzels.
  3. Combine butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a full boil while stirring.
  4. Pour carefully over the pretzels.
  5. Place in a 350° F oven for 8 minutes, or until bubbly all over.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
  7. Let sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. 
  8. Then smooth surface with a spatula.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  10. Cool to room temperature.
  11. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden chocolate topping.
  12. Remove from the pan and break into bite sized portions.  
* These can easily be cut into bars as well.  Lift the hardened confection onto a cutting board and cut into bars using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Tree Cheese Platter

Are you looking for a fun yet simple appetizer idea for the holiday season?  I have a cheese tray that doesn't take long to put together...and will be the perfect addition to your festive buffet. 

  • 1/2 lb / 200 g Cheddar Cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb / 200 g  Smoked Gouda Cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb / 200 g Monterey Jack Cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb / 200 g 200 g Swiss  Cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 lb (450 g) each seedless green and red grapes
  • 1 pkg (40 g) fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 yellow pepper (use star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out tree-topper) 

  1. Arrange cheese cubes and grapes in rows on a large wooden board or platter in a Christmas tree shape.
  2. Add sprigs of greenery.
  3. Cut tree trunk (2 or 3 inches) from celery stalk and place at bottom of tree.
  4. Place star-shaped piece of yellow pepper at top of tree.
On Wednesday night we hosted a cooking class featuring Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies at Lepp Farm Market.  The guests enjoyed hot apple cider and appetizers while the cookie demonstrations took place.  We prepared a Christmas Tree Cheese Platter for them...using cheeses that the market deli had chosen and cubed for us in advance.   But one could substitute any cheese.  A small cheese ball also works well as a tree-topper.  Add the best crackers...and enjoy your party-worthy cheese platter!