Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peppermints and Pinwheels

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 . . .



32 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! I LOVE peppermint bark. I have to say that when I finished my first bag, I didn't think to make some myself...no...I went and bought another and yes, another!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe with us. Why didn't I think of this?! Oh yeah, because I was too busy picking up those other two batches at the store!!

    I love the quilt you've made and thank you so much for offering the pattern to us. It's a sweet one for sure.

    Merry Christmas!
    Sue

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  2. Peppermint Bark is the best. I've made it in the past and it is really addictive! Your batch looks yummy. Love the little quilt and thank you for the pattern. I have a red Christmas toile and this might be just the right little showcase for that fabric.

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  3. YUMMMM i love choc mints!! never heard of peppermint bark..must give the recipe a try, it sounds delish!!
    As for your little pinwheel R&W quilt..well, it's super yummy too!! xx

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  4. Great looking quilt! I may try some pinwheels when I get home tonight! Thanks o much for the free pattern!

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  5. Thank you for sharing the red and white quilt and the peppermint bark to of the thing I love have a wonderful week

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  6. Thankyou for the red/white quilt pattern, it is very sweet!!!! There is just something beautiful about red/white quilts no matter their size!!!! Haven't seen Peppermint Bark before, looks so easy too!!!

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  7. Kathy! thank you for that cute little quilt - yes, I"ll be making it! and the recipe sounds yummy, too - I will try it for sure for Christmas.
    I hadn't heard of it before, either.

    Gerda in Alberta

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  8. Thank you for the pattern, so cute! I've got to make this one right now!

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  9. Very cute pattern, thank you very much!

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  10. I think I will try the peppermint bark recipe and thank you for the adorable pattern.
    Perhaps I will get one made before Christmas too.

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  11. Oh tanks for that tip--I am not that good either at sewing a straight seam(!) even with my 1/4 inch foot--I don't know why. I do sew slowly, but they wave all around....oh well, maybe it's eyesight. At any rate--I will try the ironing first tip.. Julierose

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  12. My friend and I were JUST talking about this tonight on email! I always buy a tin from Williams/Sonoma., Okay, a couple of tins! VERY EXPENSIVE!!!~ NOT doing that this year... We were saying, "We can make this..." and voila! the rcicpe! thank you!!!
    Merry Christmas and love your pinwheels, almost good enough to eat! :)

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  13. The peppermint bark looks delicious and the little quilt looks yummy! Thanks for sharing...I would love to make a red and white quilt so this may be just the right size to get started!

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  14. I just love peppermint bark! Thanks for the quilt pattern. Merry Christmas!

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  15. Cute pattern! Peppermint bark is the best. Thank you for sharing.

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  16. Thank you for sharing your cute pattern. My 4 yr old found some old candy canes from last year in the pantry, so the bark would be a perfect solution to using them! This post almost smells like peppermint!!!

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing the pattern. Also, thanks for the recipe for peppermint bark. I'm going to add that to my list to make this coming weekend.

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  18. Thank you for the pressing tip. I will try it.

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  19. Thanks for sharing the recipe! That sounds delicious and I've never tried that, so I'll throw the diet out the window for a day :-) And maybe eat one, or two or three pieces....
    I like your little red and white quilt! Thanks for sharing that with us.
    Have a great weekend,
    Judy

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  20. Thank you so much for the pattern! The little quilt is so pretty and I love the fabrics you picked out. I'm going to try your method of making HSTs. I have one of those rulers and I definitely have trouble sewing a straight line, so maybe it will help.

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  21. Great quilt.
    Maybe, if I find the time....
    Greetings Janny S.

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  22. Kathy, thanks for the cute pattern & now I have to make bark too!!! LOL Karen S.

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  23. Home made peppermint bark is the best. I made some earlier this week to give to our secretaries at school.

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  24. Thanks very much, Kathleen. I've got the perfect fabrics to make this.

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  25. A sweet post! We make our own bark as well...yummy! However, it is that darling pinwheel quilt that I am going to get busy making! Thank you for the inspiration.

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  26. I have a friend a work who makes peppermint bark - I was going to give it all to my son, but I had one taste...and he got half of it! Thank you so much for sharing that sweet little peppermint quilt with us. How lovely of you to do that in such a busy season!

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  27. Love that peppermint bark recipe--yum!! The rule is NO DIETING until AFTER Christmas--at least in my house.....thanks for the tip on 1/2 sq. triangles...love that peppermint pinwheet--I have a lot of toiles that I would like to use...Julierose

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  28. I will be trying your peppermint bark recipe.
    Thanks for the lovely pattern and the great pressing tip.

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  29. Oh this is so pretty and cute! Thank you so much :-D

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  30. Thank you for the lovely pattern and great pressing tip!

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