John Kemp’s Kitchen: Christmas Bark
Greetings, everyone! I’ve been looking forward to writing this particular issue of John Kemp’s Kitchen since my column was started a few weeks ago. Seeing as this is the last Pro Tem issue before the winter break, I felt it would only be appropriate to leave you with a touch of holiday spirit. One of my favourite parts about Christmas, which is my family’s favourite holiday to celebrate, is the food. What could possibly be better than a roast turkey with fresh herbs and homemade cranberry sauce, accompanied by fluffy mashed potatoes and perhaps a Yorkshire pudding? Not much, if you ask me. It’s a time of feasting, celebration, and generosity among family and friends.
One of my favourite recipes that I thought I’d share before we finish the semester and begin celebrating is my recipe for Christmas Bark. It’s a fantastic treat to whip up during the holidays and, just to warn you, it’s addicting. We start off with a base of soda crackers, covered in toffee. We then coat the crackers with milk and white chocolate, and finish it all off with a generous sprinkling of crushed candy cane. The salt from the crackers brings out a great sweet-salty flavour in the toffee, which is given a minty kick from the candy cane. Trust me, this one’s a real home-dinger.
I truly hope that you and your family enjoy this true ambrosia as much as my family and I do, and that you have a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanza, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We’ll see you in 2017!
Food cost: about $0.87 per serving
About 40 soda crackers with salted tops
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Merken’s milk chocolate flavoured melting wafers (available at Bulk Barn)
1 cup Merken’s white chocolate flavoured melting wafers
1 cup crushed peppermint candy cane
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, on a cookie sheet with sides at least one inch high (a jelly roll pan), place the crackers, salted side up. Then, in a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Melt on medium heat, stirring constantly until a homogeneous mixture has come together.
Pour and spread the toffee over the crackers evenly, being sure to spread it right to the edges of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the caramel bubbles. You may want to use a candy thermometer to ensure the toffee has reached the “hard crack” stage.
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pour both the milk chocolate and white melting wafers over top. Allow the heat from the toffee to melt the chocolate (about 1 minute), and then spread the chocolate evenly with a spatula, once again being sure to spread right to the edges of the pan.
- Finally, generously and evenly sprinkle the melted chocolate with the crushed candy cane. Freeze for about 1 hour or until solid, and then remove from pan onto a clean work surface. Break the bark into bite-sized pieces either using your hands or a kitchen tool of sorts, such as an ice pick. Enjoy, and be sure to leave some for everyone else!