A favorite treat I only indulge in at the holidays is peppermint bark candy. I'm sure there are places you can buy it all year long but, trust me, it's a good thing that I don't see it much at other times of the year. I recently bought some Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark and when it was finished decided maybe I'd look into a recipe to make my own. How hard could it be? There are all sorts of recipes if you do a search, and you can certainly take your pick, but basically it's layers of dark chocolate, white chocolate and crushed peppermint candy cut into squares. Very simple.
First, melt some dark chocolate chips (or use better quality chocolate if you care to) in the microwave in a glass bowl. Stir after about 30-40 seconds and again if needed. If you have a moderately powerful microwave, don't let it go for too long or the chocolate will burn and you'll have to trash that batch and start over. Ask me how I know. When it's all melted, pour into a small square baking dish lined with wax paper up the sides. Smooth the chocolate with a spatula. Place in freezer for 20 minutes. Crush the peppermints or candy canes. Then, melt the white chocolate and smooth it over the hardened layer of dark chocolate. Top the soft chocolate with the crushed candy, pressing it into the layer a bit. Place in freezer for another 10 minutes. When it hardens, lift the wax paper out of the dish and break into pieces or let it soften a little and then cut with a knife into squares. Yum!
Don't ask why the plate is not full : ) If you've ever had peppermint bark, you already know. Besides, someone had to eat the pieces that were all broken up. Clearly I'll have to make more before Santa gets here.
This got me started on a peppermint kick so yesterday, after I finished making the candy, I took out some red and light prints and made a few pinwheels. I know you all are still going crazy over red and white quilts after seeing and hearing about that exhibit in NYC. I don't have very many red and white quilts myself and it was time to do something about that. I didn't know where I was going with it but then sat down at the computer with EQ and designed a little quilt around the blocks I'd made. Turned out very "sweet" if I say so myself.
And - it's for YOU! Here's the free pattern you can download as a .pdf file. There's not a lot of time before the holidays get here I know but it's very simple so you can still probably get it done before Christmas if you have a little time and you're so inclined. Me? I'm also going to try to make it but I'm still trying to finish the little runner I began last year . . . .
Most of you probably have your own favorite method for making half-square triangles for the Pinwheel blocks, but if you're new to quilting and find that sewing triangles makes your blocks a little wonky, here's how I make mine.
I layer my two squares, right sides together. Draw a diagonal line across the back of the lighter square. I use this nifty Quick Quarter ruler I found years ago that makes the sewing lines visible because I'm just not that good at eyeballing it.
Chain piece your layered squares and you can whip them out pretty fast.
This is a tip I recently picked up for making your half-square triangle units even better. After you sew 1/4 inch away from the diagonal line on each side of the layered squares, PRESS the units open before you cut. The fabric does not stretch as much and your half-square triangles will not turn out wonky but perfect because the bias edges are stabilized.
Flip and press the other side, then cut on the drawn line. Works like magic.
It's still early and, since most of the pieces are cut and the triangles sewn, maybe I WILL finish it before Christmas . . .