Hello again from Caroline of Coeur De La! The holiday season has me craving long days spent baking with family and friends while drinking hot apple cider with a splash of caramel. Each year I go all out and make several holiday goodies to share with family ... peppermint patty cookies (that have now become a staple), meringues, dark chocolate truffles, peanut butter balls, and dark chocolate peppermint bark. I package the assortment of treats in boxes, tie ribbons around each one, and then happily give them as gifts. They are a hit! However, this year, I wanted to make a holiday bark that was a bit different. Something that was less sweet, but still would have friends and family asking for seconds. About a month ago I was immersed in Whole Living Magazine when I saw a recipe for a holiday bark that was made with dark chocolate, pistachios, and sea salt. Immediately I dog-eared the recipe and decided I had to make it. I love that the bark has only three ingredients, and being that I am a fan of savory desserts, I could not resist making it. The bark itself takes about six minutes to make and cooling takes thirty minutes. Afterwards, you will have the darkest and richest holiday bark that happens to pair incredibly well with a glass of red wine ... pinot noir to be exact.
I decided to package my holiday bark with simple twine as it will be placed in a box with other goodies. I made little tags, tied up the bark, and 1…2…3… I had a holiday bark that is sure to wow any foodie. Happy Holidays!!!! Bisous.
with sea salt and pistachios
(recipe found in Whole Living)
-1 package of dark chocolate 70% cacao (I used Scharffen Berger that was 68%)
- 1 cup raw pistachios
- 3-4 pinches of sea salt
- parchment paper
- 8 inch rectangular baking dish
1. Melt your chocolate over low to medium heat for about five minutes, making sure to stir frequently, keeping the chocolate from burning. I found that the Scharffen Berger chocolate melted very well.
2. Pour your melted chocolate into your baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper allows for you to easily pull away the bark after cooling.
3. Drizzle the melted chocolate with the pistachios. You can go with the amount of your liking. Next sprinkle the bark with sea salt.
4. Place in the refrigerator for cooling for 30 to 40 minutes. Afterwards, do note, warm hands will cause the bark to melt so, eat as soon as possible. For serving, the bark is fine on a cake stand and at room temp, but it is better to keep in a cooler place. For storing: keep in the fridge.
5. Pair with red wine, enjoy the bark on its own, or skip the pistachios all together and go with a dark chocolate drizzled with sea salt.
Have you noticed a bit of a fruit theme this week? I wanted a lighter dessert to bring to a few holiday parties and this Apple Crisp has delivered twice already. It's called Mom's Apple Crisp (not my mom mind you, but whoever she is I'm sure she's a very nice lady) and it's easy as pie. On second thought, maybe easier. I know 'healthy' can be a dirty word around the holidays, but believe me- it's so wonderfully delicious, you won't even miss the crust.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons light stick butter, diced
1 teaspoon water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
3 lbs golden delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
topping variation: 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or currants
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F Spray a shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. To make the topping, combine the 1/2 cup flour, the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, (dried fruit if desired), and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissor-fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and firmly press mixture to form clumps.
3. To make the filling, mix the granulated sugar, the 2 tablespoons flour, the nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl. Add the apples and vanilla; mix well. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the filling. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden, 55 - 60 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
The recipe for homemade cider is below, along with a link to FREE printable labels, designed by yours truly and available in either round or standard labels.
quartered 3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
Place apples in a large stockpot and add enough water cover by at least 2 inches. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Strain apple mixture though a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. Drain cider again though a cheesecloth lined sieve. Refrigerate until cold if desired.
Please join me in welcoming our new floral contributor - Kim Foren of Geranium Lake. You can read all about her stylish floral design on her site or right here.
I'm so excited to have her as part of the CAKE. team... her simple tutorials like the one below are sure to help even black thumbs
like me create beautiful arrangements for parties and home decor!
Hello from Kim of Geranium Lake flowers! This holiday project is one of our favorites for so many reasons… it reminds us of the Sugar Plum Fairies from the Nutcracker ballet, and it is soooo easy.
-Fruit (we used apples, pears, plums, grapes, pomegranates, etc)
-Egg whites (2-3, depending on how much fruit you are sugaring)
Assembly is simple and this could be a fun project with kids too!
Step 1: Paint egg white directly onto the skin of the fruit.
Step 2: Roll in sugar
Step 3: Place on a drying rack until dried.
You can use your “sparkling” fruit in arrangements:
Or, pile them into a large bowl, embellish with a few loose stems (we love roses and gold painted magnolia leaves!) and you’ve got an instant centerpiece!
Love everything about this Small World party from Linsey of Lux Events. This first birthday was designed around the classic Disney ride and highlights so many charming little details in pink, purple + gold. Three cheers for the hand-painted backdrop, gold doilies and international cupcake characters! Read on for all the details below...
From Linsey: I just loved working with this theme! The mom chose It's A Small World because they love Disneyland, It was the birthday girl's first ever ride at Disneyland and because they love to travel! I took all of my inspiration for this party from the Small World Castle. I Created geometric shaped cupcake picks that played of the shapes in the castle and were placed into Hero's Baking Co.'s delicious strawberry cupcakes. I used gold dollies for dessert labels to play of the spinning parts of the castle. I hand painted the Small World Castle to use as the backdrop for the dessert bar. To incorporate all the children of the world, I utilized the graphics from the nested graphic shop on ETSY. I printed the children out and made miniature cupcake picks. Hero's sugar cookies on the dessert bar were piped with geometric shapes. There were also circle and triangle cookies that were topped with gold sugar sprinkles. The kids party bags had treasures from around the world. I custom made birthday hats for each of the young party guests. I used a gold stamp pad to stamp the frilly circles on the hats and then trimmed them with tissue festooning.
Event Design: Linsey of Lux Events and Design
Baked Goods: Hero's Baking Company
Small World Printables: Nested
Playing with the Red Velvet Theme I packaged the cupcakes in a red pastry box. When my sister saw her present she could not help but smile from ear to ear. And I could not help but smile as well, as I knew I would be enjoying a cupcake and a glass of wine with her. So, when it comes to celebrating birthdays and giving gifts, I feel that gifts from the heart are always the most appreciated.
A rainy day in Rome didn't stop the colors from shining through on Camilla's 8th birthday. This vibrant redhead was resolute on a rainbow party, so she and her mother pulled it off at the park, in spite of the inclement weather. The decorations and sweets were kept homemade and simple... Camilla even painted the crayon
rainbow that decorates party invitations herself. Outdoor party games like a traditional sack race kept guests laughing and entertained... clearly the rain couldn't put a damper on this charming little birthday.
fibre di luce
Event Designer: Fairy Tale Wedding Planner
Invitations: Fibre di Luce
Cake: La Mucca Sbronza