You know what's nice? this recipe is easy! As easy as candy making gets! All you need is some Vanilla Almond Bark from the baking aisle of your local grocery store (it comes in a 24oz brick of large cubes) it also comes in Chocolate (as in looks and tastes like milk chocolate) and the Vanilla looks and tastes like white chocolate. Bark doesn't use cocoa butter as chocolate does, Barks use vegetable fats. Barks are right up there with 'Candy Melts' in the workability of the product once melted.
I prefer microwaving the Bark. Follow the directions on the package but, basically you melt for 1 minute at high, stir and then heat in 12 second intervals, stirring in-between until completely melted. Melting is usually 2 minutes total cooking time.
You can also add colorings and flavorings. You cannot (must not) use water based liquids or the Bark chocolate will seize. Oil based food colorings are best for this application. Wilton "Candy Colors Food Colorings" work great for candy making! When making a batch of Vanilla, white chocolate almond bark for this recipe today, I added in some peppermint white chocolate chips I had on hand - and then added some on top along with green sprinkles for the Christmas Holiday. Again, you don't want to flavor or color with any non-oil based product or the candy will seize. Enjoy! Diane
Almond Bark Candy
1/2 pound whole almonds
6 bricks/cubes of Vanilla Bark (12 oz. white almond bark)
Sprinkles of your choice
Toast your almonds in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Toasting deepens the flavor of the nuts and a step that shouldn't be skipped. Let the almonds cool while you prepare/melt the bark. Once the bark is melted, stir in three-fourths of your toasted almonds and any oil based food colorings you prefer. (optional) Pour the mixture out onto an 8x8 or 9x12 baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle top of bark with remaining almonds and any decorations you prefer. Press the almonds down slightly so they set into the bark and won't pop off easily. Let the entire mixture cool on your counter for 20 minutes and then place in refrigerator for a half hour. Once fully cooled and solidified, break the bark into chunks as you prefer, I break into larger pieces first and then break those in half.
(Almond Bark typically comes in 12 segmented bricks
per 24 ounce bag)
My Holiday White & Peppermint Almond Bark pictured below:
I haven't met a soup I didn't like - when the weather turns colder we tend to eat more hot, hearty soups. Summer seems a distant memory when the smells of a hearty soup is simmering in the house. Pull up a chair, grab a spoon and dig in! Enjoy! Diane
Creamy Potato Chowder *with Bacon
Makes approx. 3 quarts
4 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups diced/cubes red potatoes, skin optional
6 slices cooked Bacon, thick cut
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
ground black pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients, in batches if necessary, in a spice grinder or small bowl. Grind or crush with the back of a spoon until mixture becomes a coarse powder.
Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
This dish is easy to make and stands great as part of a dinner (think soup and sandwiches) or a party appetizer. I like to make my own Hawaiian dinner rolls and use those but, store bought is just as great! I prefer to make the "mustard topping" in the morning, pour over the assembled complete dish - then bake off in time for dinner.
Link to the Homemade Hawaiian Rolls below.
Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders
12 Hawaiian style rolls (cut in half crosswise, do not separate the rolls)
3/4 pound deli ham (thinly sliced)
1/4 pound Swiss cheese (sliced)
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese (sliced)
6 tablespoons butter (melted)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 ½ teaspoons onion (dried, minced)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
This recipe makes 12 sliders and most people eat 2.
You can cut this recipe in half and use an 8x8 baking dish and 6 buns.
Hawaiian Dinner Rolls Recipe - CLICK HERE
When is a jam not a jam? when its Balsamic Sweet Onion Jam. This doesn't contain pectin (you could add some if you want it super firm/jelled.) This thickens up as you cook it down into a wonderful balsamic, sweet, onion, condiment! Use it on different meats; beef, pork and stirred into savory dishes like pot roast as its cooking, sausage and noodles as part of the sauce - I'm thinking pairing with cheese on a cheeseboard would be great too! ...the uses are endless. I had watched Heather over at "The Kneady Homesteader" (view her video here) make and can some of this up and I thought I'd give it a try - the taste is amazing! I'm sure I'll be making lots of this in the future too!! Enjoy! Diane
Balsamic Sweet Onion Jam
8-10 large onions; a mix of Vidalia and Spanish
3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tablespoon butter
Yield: 7 half pints
Chop your all your onions. Cook the onions down in a large pot over medium-high heat in the butter for 45 minutes, until they start to caramelize. Make sure to keep stirring so onions don't scorch. Add in the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and continue cooking down. Add in the sea salt. Cook down the mixture another 15-20 minutes *until it reaches the thickness you prefer. Prepare your waterbath or steam canner, and jars. Fill jars to 1/4" headspace and process 15 minutes *or according to your altitude.
Recipe from: The Kneady Homesteader
Kitchen Note: Ball does make their own version of this jam using bay leaf, pepper, maple syrup and apple juice in their "The All New Ball Book of Canning" simply called "Balsamic-Onion Jam." I'll be giving their recipe a try next time I have some onions to process.