Thursday, December 15, 2016

Salted Nut & Cranberry Bark for the Twelve Sweets of Christmas!

I love to make folks smile at parties, at holiday gatherings, at picnics... whatever the occasion. And if I can make them smile with something EASY.... Well, better yet!

This one is easy peasy, and there's really no reason why you shouldn't have "bark" on your cookie or candy trays this Christmas season because it's popular, wonderful, delicious and simple.

That's a recipe worth keeping!

Here's what I used but you can use other melting wafers ( I like these best because the flavor is superior to all the others in my humble chocolate-loving opinion.)

I used mixed nuts, but salted peanuts or almonds or pecans would be fine!

I used dried sweetened cranberries but dried cherries or blueberries would work fine, too! Or don't use fruit if you want a straight "nutty-crunch" bark.

So here's what you do:

3 cups melting wafers
1 1/2 cups salted nuts
3/4 cup dried fruit (if desired. Cranberries, blueberries, cherries....)

Melt chocolate wafers (white or regular chocolate) in a bowl over a warm pot of water...

The Ghirardelli wafers have a microwave choice too, but I like the old-school  bowl-over-hot-water method. And they promise the wafers don't need to be "tempered" (slowly keeping temps moving up by adding cold chocolate to melty chocolate....) and so far, so good! Nothing has turned grayish!!!

Cover a cookie sheet with one or two layers of aluminum foil. If it's the thinner stuff, I'd use two layers....

Add nuts and fruit (or nuts alone) to chocolate. Stir. Spread in pan. Let cool until hard.

Break into pieces.





All you're doing is MELTING CHOCOLATE and then stirring stuff into it.

Everyone can do this! That's why it's a favorite!!!

And to celebrate our joy in the season... and our joy as authors.... we're doing daily prizes right now, and today I'm giving away two e-copies of "Silent Night, Star-lit Night", part of the Second Chance at the Star Inn series from St. Martin's Press...

Set in the hills of northern Oregon, in a little town called Heywood... two travelers get caught at a beautiful, old-fashioned inn. Nearly nine months pregnant, with all the drama that entails, a young widow faces choices she never dreamed she'd have to make... and she was pretty sure she didn't need the help of her old friend, cowboy Jed Taylor... but when the two of them get caught in a slow-moving blizzard, sweet lessons of life, love, faith and time are given the chance to evolve in their own way... with the help of an inn manager conveniently named "Angel"... and is it a coincidence that the inn boasts a bright, shining star on the roof? A star that guides travelers on their way.

Leave a comment below and we'll happily tuck your name into the drawings! And to all of you, a very Merry Christmas from me... and the entire Herne/Blodgett family in upstate New York and the whole crew of the cafe!

And here's a glimpse of what's been happening at Ruthy's Place this week:

We live in an OLD farmhouse. We love it. Every time we fix one thing, we break two others... sigh...

But this floor renovation went well and today we get to move furniture back... and put up a Christmas tree! Oh, happy day!  This is what the floor looked like under the carpet (you've all seen old carpet, I figured you didn't need that pic!) Notice the cut-out for the heat grate?

Oh, this was well-weathered and looks mighty thirsty!

We had a professional refinisher come in to do the floor because he's great... and reasonable... and he's so careful with how he handles things! This is the sanded floor, letting dust settle.

Here we are with the first coat of finish... Isn't it beautiful?

And I've got a fun group of kids who come here after school for homework help... and this is what it looks like when there's only one table available because the other rooms are pulled apart...  I'm betting that not a whole lot of quality studying got done on Tuesday!

And the reason for the season, outside, during Advent, our season of waiting:

Baby Jesus and the herald angel... Coming soon!

From all of us, to all of you: Merry Christmas!


  1. That floor looks amazing! So warm and glossy! I love old houses, drafts and creaks and all.

    1. Me, too. You can't invent character! And this old place has all those creaks, leaks, drafts.... and charm! I love charm!

      Second coat is done.... I'm so excited!

      I'm also excited that we could light the wood stove last night because the low was 10° and we had to have the stove out while they worked with chemicals... and we heat the house with that stove! We dodged a bullet in timing, thank you, God! Cold Ruthys are somewhat grumpy!!!!

  2. Ruthy, I'm blown way by how great your floor looks!! Wow!! Gorgeous! And the chocolate sounds good, too. :)

    1. The bark is a popular thing around here, but we leave out the fruit for the family... they like straight nuts and chocolate!

      I'm loving the floor. It's just so fun to see it come back to life!

      Now that means we have to be nice to it.

      I'm married to a man.

      Have I mentioned that before?

      Men who work outside in the mud are notoriously tough on floors! At least in my neck of the woods they are!

  3. The bark looks delicious...just nuts, please. The floors look amazing. I can relate to mud and dirt being everywhere. Our whole house seems to have a fragrance of horse and dirtbike.

    1. Karen!!! I'm so glad you stopped over here! Guys, Karen was the FIRST PERSON to trust me with her baby! And now her baby is sixteen!!!! And gorgeous! And smart and beautiful and rides horses like a dream!

      So Karen has seen my house in ALL STAGES, LOL!!!!

  4. Thanx for the recipe!!! It is just what I need to add to the Christmas Tea menu! The floors look amazing! Enjoy the fruits of your labors this holiday season. Stay warm!!!!

    1. Jennifer, so glad you stopped over! This is one of those fun, easy things that impresses people... which is so funny because some of the tough recipes... they shrug them off! Glad you stopped in and we're staying bundled up!

  5. Oh, Ruthy! That floor looks amazing! Warm nights by the fire, the glow of that revitalized wood, snuggling with sweet kids and loved ones... That room is beautiful. *sigh*

    I ventured out last night. We have a snow storm coming and I've been laid up with a cold and haven't been out. We needed milk and more chicken soup, so we went to Sams - and they still had some bags of the dark Ghiradelli melting wafers in stock!

    Yes, yes, I know we made peppermint bark on Saturday, but there's so much you can do with melting wafers!

    Keep warm! So glad the timing worked out so you can use your stove again!

    1. Jan, those melting wafers are so much better than the big bars they were selling before. These melt perfectly and everyone loves the taste.... and the white ones were perfect for maple fudge! Party bonus!!!!!

      I'm so sorry about your cold. :( I hate being sick. But I'm glad Sam's had the melting wafers! Tell me what you think when you try them. I hope you love 'em!

  6. I'm kinda gobsmacked that you decided to redo the floors two weeks before Christmas. :-0 But then you are Ruthy, so why wouldn't you?!

    My daughter is allergic to nuts but I'm thinking this would be mighty fine with just the mix of dried fruits. Must give this a whirl.

    Don't enter me in the draw because I'm still not able to read ebooks. :-(

    1. Kav, it was all about the busy fall pumpkin season and timing... and then I had to work around people in and out and we had to have a couple of days to demo the old floors.... so it wasn't because I wanted it then, we just couldn't balance the two days of prep and then three or 4 days of renovation.... but you would love it, Kav, it's so gorgeous!

      And yes, you could use all fruit with this, like Brookside does with their dark chocolate and fruit. DELICIOUS!!!!!!

  7. I love the bark, love the kiddos coming for homework and really, really, REALLY love those floors. What a way to refresh a room and you simply recycled what you had.

    Oh, and I also love that you get to put your tree up. You'll have to share those pics next week, the finished/furnished room with the tree. :D

    1. The kiddos and homework has been interesting! I've got a couple who don't do well with others around, so I usually have three big rooms to divide and conquer... but not this week, so it's been a challenge for my cuties that get distracted easily.

      I tiptoed into the living today and decorated the windows and hung the lace curtains (I'm so stinkin' Irish) and we picked with rugs we're keeping.... but we're only putting up one tree this year, in the family room. Couldn't swing enough time to do two, but the white twinkle lights in the living room are sweet.

      I'll imagine the tree in the corner this year!!!!

  8. your floor looks amazing and the recipe looks wonderful, too! thank you for the chance!

    1. Debbie, I'm so glad you stopped over! I love how the floor came out (especially with how it looked before!) and I love chocolate.... :) Always a good day with a clean floor and chocolate!

  9. Wow! Beautiful restored floor and so inviting to come into the room. I grew up in an old farm house on a farm and love the memories. Fun times around the kitchen table doing homework maybe but talking and planning for days ahead. LOL

    The bark with dried cranberries and nuts will be yummy and gone in no time. I've been making peppermint crunch using the vanilla meltiing wafers.

    God bless. Have a blessed and joyous Christmas filled with all the gifts Jesus' birth brought to us--love, peace, joy and hope.

    1. Marilyn, thank you! And Merry Christmas to you and your family! Those gifts are the best, aren't they? Love, peace, joy and hope... I wish the whole world felt the love we feel, every day.... and the gift of grace, flowing free.

      And I have yet to make peppermint crunch, so maybe this coming week I'll dive into that!

  10. I'm not a fan of dried fruit with chocolate, but I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate. Peppermint bark is a favorite in our home and the only way anyone, but me will eat dark chocolate. It's nice for me, because my chocolate stash stays relatively untouched by grabby hands looking for a sweet fix. :-)

    I'm a tad jealous of your gorgeous floors. We purchased an older home from the original owner/builders and hoped that underneath the carpeted living spaces were wood floors, but instead were mid-century VCT floor tiles. It makes sense since our house was built in the 50's, but I'm not sure that I want to commit to mid-century modern decor.