I hope everyone’s January is going well! Luckily, the weather has held out so far and we haven’t had any brushes with a polar vortex or snowmageddon. Since it’s the middle of January, I figured now would be a good time to start getting some ideas ready for Valentine’s Day. Most of the time i like to put a personal touch on my gifts, I feel like it means more that way and since the holiday is about showing love for other people it just makes sense. Last year, I painted a canvas green and drew a celtic knot “H” for my boyfriend to hang on the blank wall of his bedroom above his bed. He loves anything Irish and green and I thought the H would be a nice representation of his family name.
A couple of years ago I used a silicone mold to melt down several different colors of crayons to make my niece some chunky heart shaped crayons that were easy to hold and fun to look at.
This year, I wanted to start off with a festive snack! I decided to bring back a dessert that my mom used to make when I was a teenager. Before you get the idea that this is going to be some fancy affair, you should know my mom hates to cook or bake. I moved out of her house last July and she hasn’t touched the oven since. I’m not sure where she found the recipe initially but it uses the stovetop AND the oven and was always something that I couldn’t help but scarf down. They’re dangerously addicting, I swear!
What you’ll need:
12oz package of chocolate chips, I used semi-sweet
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of M&Ms
Festive sprinkles of your choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A special person who could use a gift
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (I really wish I could get away with calling this tin foil… I tend to use terms that predate my own birth), spray with some non-stick oil spray, I’d advise against the kind that includes flour. Then lay out your saltines. It doesn’t matter if some are broken, in fact, to fill as much of the sheet as possible you will have to break a bunch in half to fit over to the sides and bottom. The saltines might crumble, so you’ll get a nice snack for your efforts.
Now to do some stove work. Take your two sticks of butter and get them all nice and melty. Stir in your sugar and let it boil for a couple of minutes. Then add your vanilla extract.
Take your mixture of deliciousness and pour it over your saltines. Do this slowly so you don’t get gobs in some places and none in others. You need to have a pretty consistent layer for it to have some structural integrity. After you’ve gotten that all sorted, stick it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Really pay attention at this point, you don’t want to burn it. It does not taste good burnt.
Take your sheet out of the oven and evenly pour out your bag of chocolate chips. They will start to melt almost immediately. Take your spatula and smear around the chocolate chips to a smooth even layer.
Let this cool for a couple of minutes before adding the decorations so the M&Ms wouldn’t melt. Then go to town. I randomly sprinkled my M&Ms, small heart sprinkles, and micro heart sprinkles until I had a look I was happy with. Then into the fridge it goes to cool down and turn into delicious bark.
Once it has cooled, break it up and it’s ready to eat!
This bark makes a great gift because, well, it’s delicious! …but also because it’s homemade. Homemade gifts make anyone feel special because you put your heart into them. I hope you have fun whipping up a batch of these, just try not to eat it all before you can give some out. ❤