So here it is today, Valentine’s Day, the day that celebrates love and, well, just look at these gorgeous Peppermint Bark Meltaways from cookbook author and photographer Hannah Kaminsky’s newest book Real Food, Really Fast. As I wrote in last week’s blog post, I often prefer relatively quick and easy homemade desserts for Valentine’s Day, and today it’s my pleasure to share with you, dear readers, Hannah’s recipe for these special heart shaped (or any shaped) treats, the Peppermint Bark Meltaways from Hannah’s new book, Real Food, Really Fast.
Hannah’s practical and photo-rich book, (with lovely photos by Hannah of course) is quite new and yet it is already just about sold out! To make sure you get your copy, call your bookstore ASAP and order one, or more, or preorder the reprint from Amazon now.
Speaking of love, yesterday in Philadelphia the Love sculpture, designed by Robert Indiana, returned to Love Park after a repainting, with a parade no less. You have seen this iconic sculpture, if not in Philadelphia, at least on a postage stamp. Pictured here in front of the sculpture is my dear friend, a former student, Alice Leung, the owner of one of the best restaurants in Philly, the Soy Cafe on 2nd Street in Northern Liberties. Check it out. I’ll be there tonight for her special 5-course Valentine’s Dinner.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, earlier this week I did two chocolate–centric events. On Sunday I had a really fun Vegan Chocolate book signing at the most well-stocked kitchenware shop I’ve ever seen – the 100+-year-old Fantes in the 9th Street Italian Market, with special thanks to my hosts, owners Mariella and Lianna. I brought some gold dusted Gluten Free Brownie Bites for sampling, and after the demo, I got myself some Valentine’s gifts: a new Microplane zester, an unusual but very comfortable paring knife made in Italy, a decorative culinary wooden slotted spoon, and a gorgeous new bundt pan.
Monday found me at Williams Sonoma at the Bellevue, Philadelphia, demonstrating how to make Chocolate Ganache for the Chocolate Crostini. I sprinkled pomegranate seeds on some of the crostini – you know, red for Valentines Day. Guests also sampled Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles. I found it interesting, but not surprising really, that some of the customers who’d come in to shop not knowing about the demo wanted information about vegan desserts! I left happy, and with a packet of red Valentine doilies and very pretty mini cupcake liners for spring—should it ever come.
After all of that chocolate making, I’ll be taking it easy for Valentine’s Day today, and and making a delicious meal from Hannah’s book Real Food, Really Fast. All of the recipes in this gorgeous and useful book are ready in 10 minutes or less! Here, fast food doesn’t mean that quality is compromised. Hannah takes inexpensive staples and reimagines them with innovative flavor pairings, clever cooking techniques, and fun presentations. The resulting dishes are absolutely delicious.
I’m trying to decide which recipe to cook today, and that’s a tough choice since Hannah’s recipes are all appealing. I think it’s between Smoky Chipotle Creamed Kale, Artichoke Barbacoa, or Sweet Potato Cacio e Pepe. One thing’s for sure, these Peppermint Bark Meltaways will be served!
Peppermint Bark Meltaways
- 6 ounces (about 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces crushed candy canes or peppermint hard candies (about ½ cup)
- Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe container and heat for 30-90 seconds, stirring at every 30-second interval, until completely melted and smooth. Mix in the peppermint extract and salt.
- Pour the liquid chocolate into silicon ice cube or candy molds of any shape your heart desires (literally, as pictured!) or alternatively, use an 8x4-inch loaf pan lined with aluminum foil and lightly greased. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes or peppermint candies liberally over the top. Pop the candy into the coldest part of your freezer and let sit, undisturbed, for 8-9 minutes until set. Unmold or slice into small squares and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the fridge if your kitchen is warmer than 65°F.
Reprinted with permission from Real Food, Really Fast by Hannah Kaminsky