My family is big. And my family is crazy. This makes for interesting gift giving.Over the years as we have all gotten older and started having littles, our gift giving has evolved. We use to buy each other presents, but then that got a little to intense and expensive. Then we started coming up withweird gift games where we had to buy 10 things made out of wood or glass and did a kind of white elephant things, which was fun, but we all ended up with wooden spoons and shot glasses. Or the stockings. We did stockings for a few years where we all stuffed something into each of the stockings, but that got kinda lame when everyone started stuffing packs of gum into them....It was getting to be kinda ridiculous. So this year we decided to give secret Santa a try. The deal is that the 9 older siblings drew names and then the 9 cousins drew names, all with a spending limit of $25. It works out for the best because the littles get to have a little fun and participate, and the adults don't have to go and blow stupid money for kinda stupid shit. Everyone is responsible for one persons gift of happiness..... And they better make it good!
But one of the things that I love about Christmas is making all the little something. One year I made them each a veggie shaped pillow, and another they each got a hand made box. (I love to give handmade gifts.)So this year I still wanted to give each of the littles a little something too. And not anything to crazy, just something small. And now that we are not stuffing stockings with gum, I figured it wouldn't hurt to give them each a little candy. They all like chocolate so chocolate it was. And to zaz it up a little, I popped some quinoa to add some crunch and dear I say, a bit of healthy protein, to the candy. ( sneaky sneaky)
And bonus. this bark can be made in like 5 minutes (1/2 hour to cool) . Wrapped into little wax paper packages with a cute little string, its a super simple, easy, but sweet gift that almost anyone would enjoy (even if you make it and give it to yourself) And no, you don't have to make it specifically for the holidays, this is just a great little bit of chocolate snack that can be made whenever you damn well please to make it!
The stuff. Chocolate chips (milk, semi sweet, dark, or a mixture) and uncooked quinoa.
Popped quinoa. Fun stuff. Working in small batched, all you need to do is stick the a layer of uncooked quinoa into a heavy bottom pot, turn heat onto high, grab a spoon and mix the quinoa constantly until it starts to pop. (The seeds will pop up, but as long as you pot is big, they should stay inside) When it starts popping, turn heat down to medium low and continue to stir until the quinoa is golden brown and stops popping as frequently. Don't over pop it our else you will burn it!
Dump the popped quinoa into a holding vessel and pop some more.
Now melt the chocolate. I used the double boiler method (pot of simmering water and a glass bowl) but if you have a microwave, go ahead ans use it.(chocolate in a glass bowl, microwave for 30 second intervals until melted)
Either way you choose, just melt down the chocolate until nice and silky smooth.
Mix the popped quinoa into the melted chocolate...
Then scrap onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and spread out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Place in the fridge to set up
Once the chocolate has harden, break that shit apart! Big pieces, little pieces. All up to you.
And do what your going to do with it. (wrapped in wax paper with a sting looks so nice if you giving it as a gift)
So simple, so good, so the perfect heartfelt, maybe a little last minutes, gift. Or just a nice little sweet snack with a healthy little kick to it.
And I probably won't be posting until after the holiday so...
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, blah!!!!!
Popped Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bark
makes 3 cups of bark
- 2 cups chocolate chips (any kind you like)
- 1 cup dried quinoa
To pop quinoa, add enough quinoa to cover the bottom of a heavy bottom pot. Turn heat on high and slowly stir the quinoa until it starts to pop. Once it's popping, turn down to low and continue to stir until all the quinoa is nice and golden brown and the popping isn't as frequent. Dump the quinoa into a bowl ans continue on until you have popped all of it.
To melt chocolate, either use a double boiler (glass boil on top a low boiling pot of water. Add chocolate to bowl and mix until melted) Or use the microwave. (Heat in glass bowl at 30 second intervals until melted)
Combine the popped quinoa to the melted chocolate, mix until combined then pour out onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Spread the chocolate to about 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch thick with a spatula and place in he fridge to set.
Once chocolate is hard, remove from fridge and break into chunks.
And eat, share, and save a little for later.
Store whatever uneaten candy away from heat.