Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Bark for Becky

Today's blog doesn't focus on a cookie - more on a holiday confection. The person who loves this is quite a confection herself. This would be my niece Becky Ford. Becky Ford is a teacher for special needs children who recently received a promotion in the Denver Public School system to a manager of special needs teacher. This promotion is well deserved for someone who loves to teach and loves her students. In this job she'll have the ability to bring a better learning environment to many students and teachers and she is just the person who can make it happen. Becky is passionate about people and children. She cares deeply about the quality of their lives and that they have an opportunity to live to their potential. When she first started teaching she saw the hard lives her students had. They came to school hungry and tired and not ready to learn. Becky worked to make things better for them so they could learn. I believe she worked hard to make innovations so school was a more supportive environment for the students as people and that school could be a home away from home for them.

Becky loves her family and for her brother's wedding made a collection of family recipes from members of the family combined with candid pictures of family and our times together. What a great gift. It was meaningful to everyone in the family and very exciting. For Christmas, Becky changed some of the pictures and had copies printed for those who hadn't received the earlier version. I was one of the proud recipients of that gift and it is something I will always treasure. I will cherish it especially as it really demonstrates the true nature of Becky as well and the thoughts of her are as dear as the collection of recipes and pictures itself.

Becky is one of the three March girls in our family who share many traits and being the babies of each of their families. All are passionate, loving people with wicked senses of humor and devotion to those they love. Like all the members of our family their have personality traits that render them vulnerable to teasing. She is incredibly fun but her passion for life makes her a little less vulnerable. She is lovely in so many ways in person and personality both. Becky Ford our family is blessed to have you.

Becky's choice is Peppermint Bark made with white chocolate. It's a casual fun food with many variations. You can use any kind of chocolate for the base. You can multiple layers of chocolate as the base and while peppermint means that you top it with peppermint you can also use almonds or other toppings.

Peppermint Bark

When I make peppermint bark I have about two pounds of chocolate. I line two half sheet pans with parchment. I melt the chocolate slowly over simmering water. I stir it to help it melt and become smooth and creamy. When it's reached this state I add a half teaspoon of peppermint extract. I then divide the melted chocolate between the two pans. Spreading it out to the edges yet maintaining about 1/3 to a 1/2 inch of thickness of the chocolate.

I crush 3 C of candy canes or peppermint candies and strew half over the top of each pan. Press the candies lightly so they will adhere to the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool and set until firm. Break the bark into irregular pieces and store in a tin between pieces of waxed paper. It's a true winter treat.

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