I made fresh croutons this week and I have enjoyed them since. Just thought I'd share how:) I had a 1/3 of a loaf of bread that was going stale so I thought I'd make some. There were about 5 or 6 slices of bread.
I preheat my oven to 400 degrees. I toasted the bread in my pop up toaster and then when they were back to room temp I cut them into pieces. I placed them in a mixing bowl and sprinkled parsley flakes and garlic all over them. Then I poured about 1/2 a cup of olive oil on them and stirred it up. I placed them on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven. I let them stay in about...7 to 8 minutes. Then set them out on the counter to cool. When cool I placed in a ziplock bag. You'll never buy croutons again!
For the past several years instead of buying gifts, I make an assortment of homemade goodies to give. Peppermint Bark is VERY good and, if store bought, very expensive. It's so good for gifting because it's very inexpensive to make and a little goes along way. So here we go...
Regular sized candy canes( I have tried all kinds and these break up the best)
Vanilla Almond Bark or candy coating
Okay, first you have to prep your counter or table with wax paper, freezer paper or baking paper.
Then you unwrap all of your candy canes and place them in a ziplock bag. Place a length of freezer paper(because it's thick) around the bag. Take a heavy spoon and beat the bag to break up all of the candy canes. Remember that you don't want powder... you want pieces. So every once in a while peak under the paper to see where you need to hit.
It should look about like this when your done. Then pour it into a bowl and gently shake the bowl so all of the bigger pieces will rise to the top and all of the powder will go to the bottom.
Now you place the almond bark in your pot. Nonstick is perfect for this. You can melt the bark in the microwave but you have to be careful not to scorch it. I prefer the stove. Melt it on a low temp. On my cook top I think I used 3. If you happen to scorch it a bit, don't panic. Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil to the bark.
When it's nice and smooth it's done. Now you add the crushed candy.
Stir it in. I have never precisely measured but I think I probably put almost all of one box of candy canes to one package of almond bark. Leave enough to sprinkle on the top of the peppermint bark when we have it spread out.
Now you pour it all out on your prepared surface.
Spread it out really thin. Not so thin that there are holes, but just thick enough to not see through. If you are unsure and get it a little thicker, it's okay. It's better to get it a little too thick rather than too thin.
As soon as you get it spread out sprinkle the rest of the peppermint on top. Let it harden for at least an hour. Maybe longer. It's according to how thick you spread it.
When it has hardened lift the whole thing up off of the counter. With my wax paper it kind of sticks to the counter. Then pull the wax paper from the bark. Break the bark into big pieces for storage. You can always break up into smaller pieces later.
I store peppermint bark in large ziplock bags.
So I hope you take the time to try this treat! It is so easy but goes so far! Just a bite satisfies and makes your mouth feel fresh but gives you that touch of sweet to meet a craving. Enjoy!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!