The Christmas tree is basically one strong draft away from mulch.
Shut the door too fiercely, sit down on the sofa with too much gusto, walk within a yard of it, god forbid, sneeze near it, a light pattering of needles shower down to the floor.
It looked so promising a week ago, green, fragrant and bushy. And now? Well, crispy and a bit khaki, frankly.
That said, in the dark, with the lights twinkling, it looks just about fine. So when people come over pre-Muppets for dinner and snacks, the apartment is in semi darkness, candles and fairy lights.Â Highly flattering to complexions and pine trees.
Avoiding all tree puns, onto chocolate bark.
Itâ€™s one of those easy treats to make that welcomes festive exuberance and creativity â€“ think of the recipe as a proportional guideline, and use what you like. Two notes though; firstly, your bark is only as good as your chocolate, secondly, melt the chocolate gently at a low temperature. Chocolate that is melted too quickly goes cloudy. If you have a microwave it really comes into its own here â€“ chop the chocolate, melt half, then stir in the other half â€“ the residual heat should melt it too â€“ give it a few more seconds if not.1 lb dark chocolate Â¾ cup dried cranberries Â¼ lb white chocolate Â
- Melt the dark chocolate gently, either in a microwave or in a bowl over simmering water
- Meanwhile, line a baking tray with parchment, leaving an overhang at both ends (makes it easier to lift out later)
- Pour the chocolate into the tray and scatter over the cranberries. Let this stand for 15 mins until pretty firm
- Melt the white chocolate, then use a fork or teaspoon to drizzle it over the bark
- Refrigerate until firm â€“ about an hour â€“ then break into shards
If You Can Make That You Can Make This
- Add a handful of pistachio nuts to the brittle along with the cranberries
- Instead of the cranberries use salted peanuts
- Or pretzels
- Or crushed graham cracker and mini marshmallows
- Or crushed peppermint candy canes
- Use white chocolate for the bark base and top with chopped dried apricots and pecans
- Or freeze dried strawberries