Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil, without stirring, to hard crack stage, 300 F. Remove from heat.

Working quickly, stir in almonds, and pour mixture into foil-lined jelly roll pan; tip pan from side to side to spread candy evenly in pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over candy brittle. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until shiny and soft. Spread chocolate evenly over candy. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for one hour. Break into bite-size pieces.

Note: Best when made on a dry day. If it’s raining this will not get as brittle as it should.

Peppermint Bark

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

4 red-and-white peppermint sticks or candy canes, 6 inches long

2 drops peppermint oil or extract

Equipment:

A cookie sheet with sides, about 13 by 17 inches, lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Place the peppermint sticks in a heavy, locked plastic bag and crush them finely by whacking and then rolling them with a rolling pin. They should have about the same consistency as crushed ice.

When the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint oil. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the crushed peppermint pieces and spread the mixture out on the cookie sheet, about 1/4-inch thick. It will not fill the pan completely. Sprinkle the reserved peppermint stick over the top. Let set at room temperature until hardened, about

two hours. (Or, refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden more quickly.) Use your hands to break into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Easy Candy Cane Fudge

2 10-ounce packages white chocolate chunk-sized chips*

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (like Eagle Brand)

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 dash red or green food coloring

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; grease the foil. Combine the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

*A 12-ounce package of small white chocolate chips may be substituted.

Christmas Crunch

2 cups white sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups crispy rice cereal

1 cup cashews

Grease one 10 x 15 inch baking pan.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.

Continue to cook, without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 300 F.

Remove from heat; stir in butter, vanilla and baking soda. Add cereal and cashews; pour into prepared pan and allow to cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container. Recipe doubles well.

Christmas Walnut Toffee

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar