If you read my blogs the past two months, you’ll notice a definite theme.
My little series began in October with “Satisfying that Old-Time Craving for Sweeties” – you can read it here – and focused on candy from the 1800s.
The sweeties moved on to mid-20th century and featured treats we remembered from our youth, and it was great to reminisce with you! You can read that blog here.
This month, we’re movin’ on up to modern day treats, and what better time of year to talk about candy than at Christmas?
The classic treats, of course, are candy canes, fudge of all varieties, chocolate-wrapped candy, and sugar cookies frosted and decorated. We could mention divinity, peanut brittle, ribbon candy, or peppermint nougats, too.
The list is infinite. But one thing I can say for certain is that no Christmas is complete without ALMOND BARK!
Yep. The basis for so many treats today is incredibly easy to work with. It’s a magical treat that the hard-working housewives of the 1800s had never heard of. Likely not the ones from the mid-century, either.
Though I have scoured the Internet, I could not find the origin of almond bark anywhere. But I know it’s been around for decades. The first time I’d ever heard of it was the seventies, I believe. I remember being at a grocery store and finding almond bark for the first time. I intended to make some amazing peanut clusters that I’d heard about, and one of my classmate’s mother noticed me studying the package for directions and asked me how to use it. We stood in the aisle discussing the marvels of almond bark, and it’s been a staple in my house ever since!
The name almond bark is a bit of an anomaly. It does not contain any nuts, though it is very often used to coat them. It’s more of a confectionary coating rather than real chocolate since it does not contain cocoa butter. Instead, it contains other fats like cottonseed or palm oil. Almond bark usually is sold in one pound slabs, supposedly to resemble bark. I don’t really get that part, but whatever, right? It could also be called candy melts, candy wafers, candy coating, or summer coating.
The best news about almond bark? Your microwave does all the work! No double-boilers or extra ingredients. It’s so incredibly versatile, I couldn’t possibly tell you all the ways you can use it.
But here are a few ideas:
I can’t resist adding this one! Elf Snack Mix from Shanna Hatfield’s COWBOY CHRISTMAS. So good!
Of course, you want the recipe, right?
ELF SNACK MIX
10 cups popped popcorn
1 cup cocktail peanuts
2 cups mini pretzels
1 bag red and green M&Ms
1 package white almond bark (or candy melts)
1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles, optional
Combine popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, and M&Ms. Set aside.
Melt almond bark/candy melts according to package directions. Pour over popcorn mixture.
Stir well to coat. Top with Christmas sprinkles, if desired.
Store in an airtight container.
So there you go! Classic Christmas treats made from almond bark that are super easy, extra delicious, and more importantly, microwavable!
What is the one Christmas treat that you make every year without fail?
Do you have a favorite almond bark recipe?
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