Norwegian Kransekake

kransekake 1

Have you every approached a food, a recipe, a memory, a story that has so much meaning to you that you fail to find words to adequately describe it’s significance? Those overwhelming feelings and thoughts all compete for one another in the middle of your brain each declaring their need to be heard above the rest. So often when I write about Nordic food here I feel this way.

How to adequately describe something in this small space that will resonate, explain and enlighten; will neatly, beautifully lay it all out there?  More often than not I fail miserably at this, but today I have to try. I have to do better. This post has been sitting on my computer for some time, for that very reason.

kransekake 2

This cake, most often described as a Norwegian Wedding Cake is a cake of celebration. One that’s not served only at weddings, but at Christmas, on Norway’s Constitution Day and sometimes for birthdays or for anniversaries. It’s towering rings of chewy macaron like flavor never fail to impress. Very few people make this cake from scratch, their intimidating size and the necessity of special pans scare people away. But in reality they’re not that hard to make. Just a little time consuming. And if you’re lucky enough to live near one, they can be easily purchased (although for a steep price) at most Scandinavian bakeries.

I first tried my hand at making a kransekake when my kids were little. It was the beginning of many years of cake making that to this day shows little in the way of slowing down. The boys eyes would light up and they’d dance around the kitchen each time they’d spy it sitting on the counter. Their sweet little voices, high pitched and sing song, trying to say it’s name but failing miserably and hilariously. Their little hands would itch to cover it in flags and they’d plead, plead to break off just a little piece.

This cake has become such an integral part of our family celebrations that without it, things hardly seem as special. It’s probably a bit sacrilege but we find almost any excuse to make one. Last year I made THIS one for the USA vs Portugal World Cup match. If I could find a way to swing one for Halloween I would. I think the kransekake gods might have something to say about that though so I refrain.

kransekake 3

Last week I was lucky enough to have the honor to bring a kransekake to a reception for the King of Norway. It was such a humbling and fantastic honor and was certainly something I’d never thought to experience in my lifetime. The Seattle Times, along with a contingent of the Norwegian Press were present and amazingly the cake and a small photo of me, made it into the paper. Wow. I’m still processing the whole experience. Again, words fail. If you’re interested you can check it out HERE.

I know I’m not alone in my crazy love for this cake. One year I made it for a Christmas party and an elderly Norwegian gentleman approached the table. As he bit into his piece of cake, his eyes said all the words his mouth didn’t. Tears gathered in the corners and memories and emotion went fleeting, chasing one another across his face. I got it. Words were completely unnecessary, would have been completely inadequate. It was the most profound and beautiful thank you I’d ever received.

A few tips to help you make the cake.

You can purchase your rings from Amazon or at any Scandinavian import shop.

This cookie press from Kuhn Rikon is my absolute favorite and the best way to get the dough into the pans.

Make the cake at least one day prior to serving it. It needs a little time in the freezer to become chewy.

This post contains affiliate links

  • Norwegian Kransekake
Servings
12

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the ground almonds, and the confectioners sugar and mix on low until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the egg whites and the extract and mix until thoroughly wet and combined. Set the work bowl in the sink, over a saucepan that has been filled with very hot tap water. Use a spoon or bench scraper to stir the dough and gently warm it. Replace the water at least once to keep it hot. ( This step is purely voluntary as the recipe will produce a nice cake without it. However I've noticed when I slightly warm the dough in this way, it helps produce a smoother more uniform surface on the dough.)
  3. Dump the mixture on to a board that has been lightly dusted with confectioners sugar. Lightly dust your hands and begin to work in the additional confectioners sugar. You may not use all of it, however, you'll need enough of it to ensure the dough is soft, but no longer wet.
  4. Cover the mixture with some plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Spray your Kransekake pans with baking spray that has some flour in it. Cover the pans thoroughly with the spray and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Time to get the dough into the ring pans. There are a few ways you can do this. The best and easiest way I've found is to use my cookie press. I use a Kuhn Rikon press (link in the post above) that has a 1/2" diameter icing nozzle attachment that is the perfect size for creating the rings, and super easy on the arms. You can also fit a cloth pastry bag with a 1/2" icing tip (one method I've used for years) and press the dough out that way. It gives your arms a good workout though, so be prepared. The third and most basic method is to roll each ring by hand. Your rings will be less than uniform, but you can still do this an produce a satisfactory result. IMPORTANT TIP: make sure the dough fits in each ring, with out any excess dough spilling over the ridges into the next ring. You will have a hard time separating the rings after cooking if you do.
  7. If you're going to use a cookie press, break off a small portion of the dough and fit it in the press. Lay the tip of the press in one of the rings and begin pressing, turning the pan gently as you go. Don't worry if the dough breaks, it's very forgiving. Just abut the two pieces together and continue pressing. Make sure the ends touch each other, but there is no need to press them together.
  8. Fill two pans and set them on a rimmed baking pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the dough is a light golden color. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Continue pressing and baking the remaining dough. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the freezer and gently prize the dough from the pans with the back of a table knife. Freezing the rings helps them pop free from the pans with ease.
  10. Once all the rings have been removed from the pans, stack them in large plastic container with a lid and freeze for a minimum of 24 hours. The beauty of this cake is it's ability to freeze for some time and still turn out delicious. In fact, some say it tastes best after it's been frozen for 1 week or more.
  11. Freezing helps impart some moisture and makes the cake chewier. And in this case the chewier the better.
Icing the cake:
  1. Ice the cake the day you plan on serving it. Remove from the freezer, separate the rings and allow the cake to thaw at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the icing in a small bowl. Add enough sugar to create an icing that will flow, but will also hold it's shape. It will look fairly thick in the bowl. Place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a round #1 tip. Or alternatively you can use the plastic bag method. It won't be as uniform, but still works in a pinch.
  3. When icing the cake you'll work from the bottom up. Turn the largest ring, upside down and place 4 dots of icing on the bottom. Set this on your cake plate or platter, bottom side down so it adheres to the surface. This is important as it will keep the cake from sliding around. (The rougher, lighter color side of each ring will actually be the part that faces down, when constructing each ring.)
  4. Top the bottom ring with a looping or zig zag pattern of icing. Place the second largest ring on top of the bottom ring and repeat. The icing obviously acts as the "glue" to hold the cake together.
  5. Once complete allow the icing to dry for a few hours. Place flags, ribbons or candles on the cake if you like. Serve and enjoy! On a side note: Norwegians do not eat this cake from the top down. Rather they begin by separating the rings from the bottom up. When ready to serve break the rings into bite sized pieces.

Share this Recipe

Open Faced Finn Crisp Sandwiches

Finn Crisp 1

When you grow up in a Scandinavian home one of the things you learn to love early in life is an open faced sandwich. From simple to elaborate preparations, eaten at the table with a knife and fork or on the fly, nothing speaks to the enduring practicality of the Scandinavian kitchen quite like a well made open faced sandwich.

My grandparents called crisp bread, hard tack. And while hard tack is really a dated word, (not to mention a less than appetizing word) it really is the same thing. In fact I often find myself lapsing into the old fashioned vernacular more often than I realize.  I suppose it’s my way of keeping the memory of them alive in some small manner.

My grandparents Magnolia house was the center of a lot of social and family gatherings when I was a child. Often times in my grandmothers kitchen, when a crowd would assemble, there would be plates of hard tack set out along with cheeses and herring, sardines, salmon, fish roe and hardboiled eggs, waiting to be made into individual masterpieces that would eventually all get washed down with icy cold glasses of beer.

Finn Crisp 3

There are many recipes and variations of crisp bread, but to think of it as simply a cracker would be a grave error. Crackers are something else entirely. Crisp bread is more often than not consumed as a meal or along side it. Some prefer their open faced sandwiches made solely with soft rye bread, and while I’m definitely a fan of that, I find that crisp bread sandwiches are just as delicious, quick and healthy. And frankly a lot less filling.

 Born out of seafaring necessity, crisp bread has always held a special place in Nordic hearts. It keeps remarkably well and is the perfect foil for a wide variety of toppings. We routinely eat crisp bread for meals. My kids love to make and create all kinds of combinations. It’s fun and a great way to clean out your fridge.

Finn Crisp 2

Finn Crisp Rye Crisp bread is one of our favorites. All natural and full of delicious rye flavors and made by people who know how to do it right.

I thought it’d be fun just to share with you some of our favorite combinations. There really is no wrong way to do it. Just make sure you bring the beer..

Finn Crisp 3

This post is unsponsored. Thanks to Finn Crisp for providing me with boxes of my favorite crisp bread.

  • Open Faced Finn Crisp Sandwiches
  • There really is no "recipe" to make these. Just amass your favorite toppings, and have at it. Here are a few of ours.

Ingredients

Servings:

Share this Recipe

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cookies

photo1 (1)

After a few months of kale and Brussels sprouts, I thought it only fitting that I share with you this recipe for these delectable Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cookies. Healthy is all well and good, but really this is the kind of recipe that makes my heart and stomach most happy. With spring and summer on the horizon, I will no doubt feature plenty of fruit and vegetable recipes here, so it’s only appropriate that we deviate into the world of sweets a bit before the seasonal tide shifts to healthier fare.

 

Typically I have to take a cookie hiatus of several months after the holidays. It’s not really until April that I’m ready to dive back into the baking fray. While my family has been clamoring for homemade cookies for some time, I just simply haven’t been ready to break the cookie fast. I am however ready now, and I can think of no better way than with a recipe just such as this.

 

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cookies 6

Soft, sweet, chewy, salty, chunky, all describe what makes this cookie such a winner at our house. Usually these are snarfed up in the space of a day, but if you can resist temptation, they freeze exceptionally well. We’ve also been known to spread softened peanut butter and chocolate ice cream between two cookies for some out of this world ice cream sandwiches.

 

There is a delicious sort of alchemy that happens when these cookies bake. The filling of the Butterfinger candy bars, melts and transforms into a sort of peanut butter toffee, that when cool, gives the cookies a delicious, buttery crunch. This is definitely a “go big or go home” cookie. It’s perfect for hungry teenagers, husbands and breaking cookie fasts that have suddenly gone on entirely too long.

You can find the recipe for these chewy, crunchy wonders over at the Issaquah Press Recipe Box page.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Cake

This cake and I go way back. Too far back for me to even remember when we first met, but it was likely at my grandmother’s table in her little kitchen in her little brick house in Ballard. When she passed, my mother was kind enough to give me her recipe box of handwritten and typewriter typed recipes. The recipe for this cake however was missing.

My grandmother among other wonderful things was a secretary at the University of Washington Hospital before she retired and being the neat and orderly person she was, she typed many of her recipes. Handwritten notes were often inserted as reminders to do this, shorten that or add more of something else, but the recipes that were typed are a treasure to me just as much as the ones written in her own hand.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Cake 2

Some of the recipes have simple names, straightforward and to the point. “Apple Pecan Pie”, ” Baked Beans” or “Spiced Fruit Punch”. Others definitely more wistful.  “Peter Pan Dessert”, “Mrs. Truman’s Ozark Pudding”, “Doris Turner’s Best Ever Peanut Brittle”.  All treasures, all equally meaningful, all happily resting in the little copper recipe box. All except this one.

I feel a bit sad that the original recipe is lost. I’ve looked around everywhere for a recipe that comes even close and while I think I’ve gotten close with this Martha Stewart adaptation, I’m still not sure. It’s plenty good in it’s own right, deliciously so and definitely worth making. But it’s missing something. It’s most likely I’m missing the feeling that washed over me when I sat at her table, feet dangling off the yellow vinyl kitchen chair in saltwater sandals and wisps of steam meandering from the spout of her little brown teapot.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Cake 4

I suspect that the thoughts and memories of her and that time are enough; that this recipe is enough. It’s served its purpose to nourish me both in body and in memory. And really what more can you ask of food than that?

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Cake
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
8 30 mintues 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" tart tin with a removable bottom and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer for 3 minutes. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and cardamom. Mix on low for 4 minutes.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and gradually add to the wet mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth.
  4. Pile the fruit on top then sprinkle with the 2 T. sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely then serve.

Share this Recipe

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Spectacular Scandinavian Easter Recipes

Icelandic Almond Tarts 1 Icelandic Almond Tarts 2 Icelandic Almond Tarts 3

Icelandic Almond Tarts 4

Easter is fast approaching and if you haven’t yet finalized your menu don’t worry! I’ve got some quick and delicious Scandinavian recipes that I’m sharing over at Relish Magazine today that will definitely add a unique and gorgeous dimension to your meal. Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll find.

Icelandic Almond Tarts are emblematic of many desserts that you’ll find on a Scandinavian coffee table and work perfectly for Easter. Light and flaky, with a soft almond frangipane type filling, they are a great way to end a meal and definitely anything but heavy. This is especially important if you plan on consuming copious amounts of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans at some point throughout the day.

Vasterbotten and Asparagus Cheese Pie 1 Vasterbotten and Asparagus Cheese Pie 2

Västerbotten Cheese Pie is a delicious quiche like pie that is typically served during the summer months at crayfish parties throughout Sweden. It transitions easily here for Easter because well, eggs + quiche = Easter right?  Västerbotten cheese can usually be found at gourmet/specialty markets or even Ikea.  If you can’t find it, a sharp cheddar cheese makes a good substitute.

Juniper and Rosemary Lamp Chops with Root Vegetable Puree and Gjetost Sauce 1 Juniper and Rosemary Lamp Chops with Root Vegetable Puree and Gjetost Sauce 2

Lamb rather than ham is the meat of choice this time of year in Scandinavia, so I’m sharing a recipe for Juniper and Rosemary Crusted Lamb Chops with a Root Vegetable Puree and a creamy Gjetost Cheese sauce. Gjetost is that uniquely caramel colored cheese that is native to Norway. Made from goats milk whey, it cooked until thick and brown. The result is sweet yet savory. It’s typically served at meal times with crisp bread, but it’s also really amazing in this sauce..

This sauce is so off the charts good, I licked the plate after shooting the photos. I’m not at all embarrased to admit it.  And lamb chops are quite possibly the easiest thing to make on the planet. Do not be intimidated by them at all.

You can get the recipes and the complete run down over at Relish by clicking on the link here: SPECTACULAR SCANDINAVIAN EASTER RECIPES

I also wanted to share that I’ve been asked by the new food editor of the Norwegian American Weekly, the lovely Daytona Strong of Outside Oslo, to contribute recipes periodically to their publication. I am so, so thrilled by this! In the future, I’ll be sure to let you know when my work is featured there. You should also head on over to Daytona’s blog and check out the gorgeous recipes and beautiful family stories she shares there. She is very much my heritage food soul sister.

We are set to have out of town guests, a visit to our community Easter egg hunt and a day full of eating and family bonding time this weekend, so I’m in full tilt getting ready for all the wonderful fun that will ensue.  However or wherever this weekend finds you, Happy Easter Friends! God påske!

Sweet Potato, Apple and Maple Caramelized Onion Sandwich

Sweet potato sandwich 1b

We are a house that loves a good sandwich.  Sandwiches have gotten us through many a panicked mealtime situation, through the picky childhood years, through the “What do we have for dinner that’s fast?” occasions and the “I hate school lunches mom, just make me a sandwich” period.

I think it’s safe to say I can blame my husband for our sandwich obsession given the fact that he was a bachelor for more than a few years and lived completely on tuna fish and turkey for most of that time. When we married, old habits died hard and before long we’d find ourselves defaulting to sandwich making for dinner more than a few nights a week.

Our kids have taken up the sandwich mantle and now despite the fact that they could have just about anything for lunch at school they routinely, without thought, always choose a homemade sandwich. The sandwiches they prefer aren’t anything fancy. Usually cold cuts with cheese and sometimes a little lettuce or tomato thrown in, but one thing that always has to be the same is the bread. It has to be Dave’s Killer Bread, Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds. Every single time.

Sweet potato sandwich 2b

Sweet potato sandwich 3b

So when the lovely people over at Dave’s Killer Bread contacted me and asked me if I’d try their new, Organic White Bread Done Right I was completely thrilled to say, absolutely yes!  Made with 5 super grains, (quinoa, spelt, rye, millet and barley) and made without bleached flour or high fructose corn syrup, it’s a lovely alternative to the other heartier textured bread we normally eat. It also has the most whole grains of any other white bread.  Awesome..

It also deserved to be made into a sandwich like no other. Recently a dear friend was explaining to me a sandwich very similar to this one.  I simply could not get the idea of it out of my head and thought it would be amazing on this bread. And it was. Simple ingredients, baked sweet potatoes, thinly sliced apples, arugula and caramelized onions all piled on to toasted bread slathered with garlic vegan mayo and a generous pour of maple syrup. Oh man. We were fighting over the sandwich the minute it came out of the pan.

Sweet potato sandwich 4b

I made these sandwiches again for the guys to take to school today, sans the toasting part and the maple syrup and I have every intention of making one for myself for lunch today. Right after I go out and buy some more bread.

Thanks to the great people over at Dave’s for the awesome bread. Dave’s is a northwest company that has a huge loyal local as well as national following. Dave’s White Bread Done right is currently only available in the Northwest. You can find out more about Dave’s awesome bread and very compelling story by checking it out HERE  . This post is unsponsored.

  • Sweet Potato, Apple and Maple Caramelized Onion Sandwich
Servings
1

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Lay the slices of bread on top of the melted butter and toast until the bread is toasty brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Slather the bottom slice with the mayo, then place the sweet potato, apple, caramelized onions and arugula. Spread more mayo on the top slice of bread if desired.
  3. Pour the maple syrup over the top of the lettuce and place the top slice of bread over all. Slice in half and serve.

Share this Recipe

Kale and Bacon Breakfast Casserole

Kale and Bacon Breakfast Casserole 5

If you’re at all like me, when you want a big plate of breakfasty type food, its usually on a Saturday morning when in a bleary eyed stupor, you stumble into the kitchen having just left the warm, comforting cocoon of your covers with what could only be described as an extreme bed head situation. You’re hungry, cranky and the last thing you want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen whipping up eggs and dealing with bacon splatter on your impossible to clean stove top.

It’s all just so overwhelming. So much so, you close the refrigerator door, mumble curse words under your breath, dream of hitting the local diner for breakfast then decide against it and go back to bed. You wish you’d have had the foresight to throw something together the night before. One of those dishes that sits overnight in the pan and ruminates in all it glorious eggy, bready, bacony goodness.  One of those dishes that wants only to be popped in the oven in the morning to happily bake away while you lounge in bed with a big cup of coffee and the latest issue of  The Wall Street Journal People magazine.

Kale and Bacon Breakfast Casserole 3

This recipe is just such a one. Super easy and pretty minimal on the prep. It does take some planning to execute, some forethought the night before but the payoff is pretty darn worth it. I’ve become addicted to that feeling of relief one gets when you prepare food in advance. There’s just something so reassuring about knowing that the next meal is in effect taken care of. You know what it is. The feeling you get when you walk in the door and smell the Kalua pork roasting away in the slow cooker after a long day, that feeling, for even just a moment, no matter how the day has gone, that you’ve accomplished something, you’re not the complete hot mess that you usually are.  For that brief shining moment your teenagers absolutely think you walk on water. Soak it all in sister.

Kale and Bacon Breakfast Casserole 4

It’s a good feeling. So good in fact that if you’re having a bad day, week, month you should consider making this. You look like a genius despite feeling otherwise and your morning is saved.  It’s guaranteed to fix you right up. Pinky swear promise. Then, all you have to do is stir up a spicy, dirty Bloody Mary, crawl back into bed and wait for the buzzer to sound.

This recipe is my latest installment over at the Issaquah Press. You can get it HERE .

Elderflower and Thyme Cocktail

Elderflower and Thyme Cocktail

The hardest, most difficult part of March is for me it’s seemingly manic weather moods. I know I’m not going to get much sympathy from those of you currently buried up to your eyeballs in snow, but here in the Pacific Northwest we’re dealing with some seriously unusual weather. For us.

Each year without fail, we get one or two really nice days in March, but the rest are the usual windy, wet, freezing temps that make you long for nothing more than warm socks and a hot fire.  So far this year we’re all warm and sunny during the day (60 degrees!) and frigid, frigid cold at night. All the poor plants in my garden are seriously confused. Heck, I’m confused. And our mountain snow pack is almost nonexistent.. Can you say impending drought? Sob.

I know the rest of you would give your eye teeth to be confused like me,  and suffer through our 60 degree days, so as a gesture of my sympathy, I’m bringing you this very, very springlike cocktail.

Elderflower and Thyme Cocktail 2

Elderflower cordial is one of those things I think that not too many people in the U.S. are familiar with. Hugely popular abroad (and very much so in Scandinavia) it’s basically the delicious syrup created by steeping Elderflower blossoms in a warm simple syrup overnight. It’s lightly fragrant taste goes especially well with lemons and I think therefore by extension, thyme.

To up the Scandinavian ante, I sometimes make this drink with a splash of  light aquavit. I mostly drink it however mixed with sparkling water, a slice of lemon and a lightly bruised sprig of thyme. This is the perfect drink to serve to friends who prefer not to imbibe in alcohol as it can be suited to everyones taste.

Elderflower and Thyme Cocktail 3

One bottle of cordial will last you quite awhile. Only the tiniest amount is used in preparing a drink. I prefer about 1 teaspoon to 8 oz.  It’s readily available at a variety of markets in our area, Kroger stores particularly, but if you can’t find it where you live, you can also order it rather inexpensively from Amazon

I’m on a hunt this year to find an Elderflower bush as I’d like nothing better than to make my own. Until then, I’ll happily drink what I have and raise a glass to spring and you, my snow bound friends!

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.  -D H Lawrence

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Elderflower and Thyme Cocktail
Servings
2

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of each glass, gently press the thyme sprig with the handle of a wooden spoon or muddler to release it's oils. Pour the cordial in each glass, then add the aquavit or gin if using. Pour the sparkling wine on top, gently stir, then garnish with the lemon.
  2. For an nonalcoholic beverage, just omit the sparkling wine and aquavit and use sparkling water. It will taste just as delicious, I promise!

Share this Recipe

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Parmesan

There really is just something wonderfully delicious about a simple, unfussy salad. Not only are simple salads appealing because well they’re simple, they also do an amazing job of making a few ingredients really shine.

I’m working very hard these days to incorporate more cruciferous greens just like this in my diet, and while I love kale as much as the next gal, I’m starting to get a little kale fatigued. This recipe may not look super glam, believe me when I say it tastes it.

Big chunky, salty bits of Pecorino cheese, fat, fresh toasted walnuts and a smattering of lightly sweet, pomegranate arils are all you really need to make these sprouts sing.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and  Parmesan Issaquah Press

The guys turned up their noses at this at first.  When I first introduced them to Brussels sprouts, I was able to get them to eat them by roasting them with big meaty pieces of bacon, and heavy sprinkles of Parmesan, so going fresh like this was a bit more difficult. I did eventually win them over.

The key to making this dish so good in my opinion is to shave the sprouts very thinly, then let them sit in some good olive oil for 15 minutes or so before you eat them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s you can buy pre-shaved sprouts in bags for even easier prep.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and  Parmesan 3

I recently had some of the leftover salad for breakfast and it was good. Surprisingly so. Not many dressed salads can hold up to a night in the fridge. It got me thinking that a big, fat soft boiled egg or two on top wouldn’t be so out of line. Excuse me while I go take care of that.

You can find this recipe over on the Issaquah Press Recipe Box page.

Recipe slightly adapted from Jody Williams

Valentine Crispy Chocolate Bark

Pop Rock and Crispy Chocolate Valentine Bark

I’m back this week with this super simple, really festive, Pop Rocks Valentine’s Bark that will I hope, become your next new favorite thing.  After my Super Bowl extravaganza of posts and recipes I decided to take last week off and spend some time licking my wounds and unfortunately dealing with a nasty illness. I’m better now thankfully, but it was a rough week. It was a rough week for us all here in the Seattle area. I’m only now just feeling up to talking about it.

I used to laugh and kind of shake my head in shame at fans who became so overwrought about their team’s losses. Never again. After years of never quite making it or being good enough I had kind of accepted the fact that failure was just the reality that Seattle sports fans had to become comfortable with. And I had done that. Numbed myself to those disappointing feelings. I can’t do that anymore. This kind of loss for us hurts in no way I can easily quantify or describe.

Pop Rock and Crispy Chocolate Valentine Bark 2

But thankfully life goes on and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner I simply could not not be happy when I’m in the kitchen making this fun little treat. I mean come on. Pop Rocks people! I was inspired to make this recipe by one of our local and beloved chocolate companies here in Seattle, called Seattle Chocolates. Each Valentine’s Day they release this ridiculously delicious, off the hook chocolate bar called, Pink Bubbly Truffle Bar .

It’s freeze dried raspberries, coated in white chocolate, with popping candy, all covered by some seriously lovely dark chocolate. How could you not love that? When I was in Trader Joes last week I noticed they are selling a chocolate bar with cayenne pepper and popping candy too. It’s becoming a thing. Seattle Chocolates also make some other really fantastic flavors like Birthday Cake Batter Truffle Bar and one of my new favorites, a 12 Seattle Sea Salt Truffle Bar. You absolutely must try them.

Pop Rock and Crispy Chocolate Valentine Bark 4

Inspired by that awesome bar I decided to make my Christmas Peppermint Bark recipe without the peppermint of course, and use some festive candies and sprinkles instead. To add a little extra crunch and pop I added some crispy rice cereal to the mix. I think it does a nice job of lightening up all the sweet and as my friend Melissa says, it essentially makes this breakfast food.

That my friends is definitely a win, win!

  • Valentine's Crispy Chocolate Bark
Servings Prep Time Passive Time
1 30 minutes 3 hours

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Line a rimmed, quarter sized sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt and stir until smooth.
  2. Pour the cereal and the Pop Rocks evenly over the surface of the pan. Pour half the chocolate over the cereal and candy, and smooth using an off set spatula making sure the cereal and candy are completely covered.
  3. Pour the remaining chocolate over the top and smooth. Gently press the candies into the chocolate then garnish with the sprinkles. Allow to cool at room temperature, approx. 3 hours. Do not refrigerate. Once firm, break into pieces.

Share this Recipe

This post is not a sponsored post. All opinions here are my own.