Amazing shortbread, chocolate bark, infused liquors, and more special DIY gifts
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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Melt chocolate, spread it out, and add your favorite toppings—that’s almost all there is to making bark. We added one important step, though: tempering the chocolate so the bark stays shiny and snappy.
Your lucky gift recipients will be sampling spoonfuls of this sauce long before it hits the ice cream. The combination of deeply caramelized sugar plus cream, salt, vanilla, and a little booze is that good. (And unlike versions that contain butter, this one, made only with cream, stays pourable right from the fridge.) If you prefer, the sauce is also great without the bourbon.
There is shortbread, and then there’s this shortbread, ultra-buttery with a light crunch. The secrets are rice flour for the sandy texture and a slow-and-low baking process to develop the flavor. It’s a recipe that lends itself to easy, festive riffing (sprinkles! snowflakes!)—and one you’ll be happy to have in your back pocket for years.
Carefully cut hot shortbread with 2 1/2- to 3-in. chunky letter-shaped cookie cutters (we used 3-in. Ann Clark alphabet cookie cutters) to spell holiday messages such as fa la la, joy, or the initials of recipients.
Italy's Amalfi Coast and adjoining Sorrento Peninsula are the regions most famous for this intensely lemony liqueur, traditionally served ice cold as an after-dinner drink. We've added a subtle note of rosemary.
Layer the ingredients in a jar, add a ribbon and a tag, and you have a simple but stylish gift.
Our mixes will fill 1-quart jars (12 servings), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant. On the back of the tag, write: "Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container."