Every Christmas, I like to make a big batch of Christmas Candy to give away to friends and neighbors. The easiest to make are my Chocolate Walnut Fudge and my White Chocolate Peppermint Bark recipes… mainly because these two candy recipes are made entirely in the microwave. It could not be any easier!
For the fudge, you can get really fancy by using high quality bittersweet chocolate (chopped finely)… or go really simple with a bag of Hershey’s chocolate chips. I like to go somewhere in the middle, and normally will use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. If you don’t care for walnuts, leave them out – or use a different nut or mix-in. Try a Smore’s version with chopped graham cracker & mini marshmallows. Or make Rocky Road fudge by adding peanuts & mini marshmallows. Be creative – just use my recipe as a loose guideline!
For the Peppermint Bark, I use Wilton White Chocolate Candy Melts. Yesterday, I found 12 oz. bags of candy melts on sale at Michael’s for $1.99/bag – guess I got lucky! Regular priced, they are usually around $3 or $4 per bag. Any white chocolate made for melting/coating will work – you want to use something that will firm up as it cools. The candy canes were on sale at the supermarket for $0.99/box of 12. (This is also a great way to use up any broken candy canes you may have laying around!) You don’t have to make peppermint flavor – you could substitute the chopped candy canes with chopped pistachios or other nuts, dried cherries or cranberries, etc. Have fun with it!
Chocolate Walnut Fudge:
- 16 oz. finely chopped chocolate (~3 cups chocolate chips)
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. walnuts
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark:
- 12 oz. package white chocolate (vanilla) candy melts
- 6 regular sized candy canes
- 1/4 tsp. mint extract (optional)
To make the Chocolate Walnut Fudge:
1. In a microwaveable bowl, add the chocolate (you can use finely chopped bars – just make sure all your chocolate pieces are of even size and small like chocolate chips – or just do what I do and cheat by using chocolate chips to begin with), salt, and sweetened condensed milk. Microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes.
2. Remove the bowl from the microwave, and stir. (I use a silicone spatula to stir.) Return the bowl to the microwave, and microwave at 50% power for 1 more minute.
3. The chocolate should be melted at this point. If not, then continue to microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. (Remember the chocolate will melt more as you stir it, so don’t over cook it!) Stir in the walnuts.
4. Pour the mixture into a 8″ or 9″ square pan (or a rectangle pan of similar area like a 7″ X 11″), and spread out in the pan, smoothing down the top. (The texture will be somewhat clay like at this point.) I like to line the pan before hand with non-stick foil for easy removal if I’m not using my nonstick silicone pan. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed on the counter for 2-3 hours until firm.
5. Remove the fudge to a cutting board (pull up the foil and use as a sling), and cut into squares. Store in an airtight plastic container.
To make the White Chocolate Peppermint Bark:
1. Put the 6 candy canes into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. (This is a great use for all the broken candy canes you may have.) Use a rolling pin to gently crush the candy canes into shards. (Don’t crush too hard – you don’t want candy cane powder – you just want small-ish bits of candy cane.)
2. Put the candy melts into a microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes.
3. Remove, and stir. At this point, you will want to continue microwaving at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. (In my microwave, it took a total of 4 minutes, 30 seconds.)
4. Add the bits of candy cane, and the mint extract (if desired), and stir with a silicone spatula.
5. Spread the mixture over a silicone (or waxed paper) lined cookie sheet. Allow to sit for a few hours until cool and hardened.
6. Once hardened, break up into bite sized chunks.