Jonathan and I have decided to fore go extraneous Christmas gifts this year. We're trying really hard to refocus on what the holiday is truly about. It's been very difficult to not buy him a present (and i did cheat and buy a few minor stocking stuffers- I'm a recovering consumer-holic. Oh well, it's good for the economy). In lieu of Christmas gifts, we are donating money to a cause near and dear to our hearts. Living Water is an organization that builds water wells in third world countries. Think the draught in Texas is bad? It's nothing compared to Ethiopia. You stop complaining about your dry skin and dead lawns when you realize that in East Africa, they are dying of dehydration. So aside from essential Christmas gifts (aka for my sweet little nephews), we committed to giving every dollar that would normally go to a Christmas gift to Living Water. Because I think that's what Jesus would do. And that's the whole point.
But still, it has been a hard adjustment and it was pretty "Grinch" of me to decline participating in Secret Santa at work this year. But I made up for it by gifting a scrumptious Christmas treat that I creatively call "Christmas Bark". Super creative, huh? It's a pretty simple to make, extremely delicious, and perfectly fattening. What you need is:
Cookie Sheet lined with wax paper
About 14 Christmas Oreos (and by the way, they make them in peppermint too. I'm just saying.)
About 1 1/2 cups of pretzel sticks
Any other red and green goodies. I used holiday m&ms and sprinkles, but you could really improvise here and use whatever you want.
1 1/2 pound of almond bark (or white chocolate. I did a batch with both and preferred the almond batch, but to each his own)
First step: crush pretzel sticks and oreos and spread evenly over wax papered cookie sheet; add candy of choice
Second step: Melt almond bark for about 1.5 minutes and then in 10 second intervals until it is completely smooth.
Third step: Pour melted goodness over cookie sheet. Immediately add some candies/sprinkles/decorative edibles to mixture while it's still melted.
Last step: Let it cool. Refrigeration speeds this process up substantially. Once it sets, you can break into pieces and set in airtight storage container.
As a side note: Notice how I use a lot of estimations in my directions? That's because baking is a science, but cooking (i.e. pouring melted chocolate over pretzels and cookies) is an art. My mom was seriously measuring out the pretzel sticks. She's a scientist. Judging by the creative genius that came up with the name "Christmas Bark", I am obviously an Artist. Take your own liberties. It's supposed to be messy and asymmetrical. Just trust me on this one: You cannot mess this up.
This treat is seriously easy and undeniably festive. Your coworkers with thank you. And then blame you for their diabetes.