Christmas Shenanigans and Peppermint Bark

I feel very behind on my holiday baking this year.  This is the first Christmas "cookie" I've made!  Normally I'm a baking machine, and have made 5 different double-batches of cookies by now.  I get this from my Mom.  

Wait for it....

We did get our tree up the day after Thanksgiving, woo-hoo!, so I'm not a complete procrastinator.  I want all the time I can get with my lovely, needle-dropping, evergreen-smelling tree.  The last few years, we have gotten a tree that was already cut.  But THIS YEAR, Mike wanted to cut it down himself!  (He's awfully ambitious.)  We picked the only day so far this season where it has actually snowed here, so it was, um COLD and blustery.  We finally found the perfect tree, so Mike started cutting.  My job was to "hold the tree".  I think I'm pretty good at holding an inanimate tree, it's really not that hard, but I wasn't so sure about Mike's cutting skills, while laying on the ground, tree sap dripping on him, in the blistering cold.  I figured this would take at least ten  grueling minutes.  But I was happily surprised by his speedy tree-cutting skills.  He's a keeper! 

And while I may be behind on my baking, I am way ahead of my normal schedule of Christmas crafting (normally I don't make any crafts).  I found this adorable idea on Pinterest to make a Christmas ornament out of our wedding invitation.  So voila!  Isn't it purrrrty?!  Hard to believe we've already been married for 6 months...

So, the moment you've all been waiting for:  the food...  Here is my first Christmas cookie of the season: "Almost Famous Peppermint Bark" that I found in my Christmas edition of the Food Network Magazine.  I changed it ever-so-slightly, because when I make big changes with baking, I usually mess things up royally!  I also tried to make a somewhat larger batch, so my bark was pretty thick!  But the more the merrier, right?

1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 pound good-quality white chocolate chips
3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.

Put all of the semisweet chocolate  chips in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan; keep the steaming water over low heat. Do not rush this step: It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.

Stir 1 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put all the white chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the melting process over the steaming water; dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer.

Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.