Tag Archives: Christmas

Polenta Breakfast Bake

I rarely post on days that aren’t Wednesday or Friday, but I really wanted to get this recipe on here in time for Christmas. Consider this extra post a little gift from me to you.Polenta Breakfast Bake

We may not have done any holiday baking when I was a kid, but we still had plenty of Christmas food traditions. When I was growing up, my mom used to make a breakfast casserole every Christmas morning. While I was (and, honestly, continue to be) wary of any dish with “casserole” in the name, I made an exception for that one. Paired with Mom’s traditional all-citrus fruit salad,* it was impossible for even the pickiest of us to resist. It was so good that we didn’t complain when we were told we had to eat breakfast before opening our gifts. It was magic, I tell you.

*This is not a recipe—it’s literally just bite-sized pieces of navel orange and ruby red grapefruit with their membranes removed. Mix ‘em together in a bowl and chill overnight. Polenta Breakfast Bake

Now, you may have noticed that I am speaking about my mom’s breakfast casserole in the past tense. That’s because she stopped making it about ten years ago, right about the time that my sisters and I started wanting more input in our holiday menu.

Another reason? Mom’s casserole was made with Bisquick. I have nothing personal against that mix—it’s responsible for every homemade pancake I ate as a child and I am forever grateful for its convenience—but I don’t use mixes these days.Polenta Breakfast Bake

Long story short: today’s Polenta Breakfast Bake is an homage to the Christmas Morning Casserole of my childhood, minus the Bisquick, plus a creamy polenta base and some extra greens. It’s not my mom’s recipe, but it’s damn good.Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast Bake

Also, it’s naturally gluten-free (thanks, coarse ground cornmeal!). And people think you’re fancy when you say you made polenta anything, so there’s that.Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast Bake

My favorite thing about this recipe is that, like my mom’s, it doesn’t require any specific timetable. Flexibility is important when it comes to any holiday meal planning, but I am particularly opposed to any recipe that might require me to get up and start puttering around the kitchen when it’s still dark outside. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sleep > baking (and, um, cooking too).Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast Bake

This Polenta Breakfast Bake can be prepared morning-of, if you are an early bird, but I love that I can assemble it a day or two ahead and then just bake it for 25 minutes before serving. I have a hard time doing anything in the morning without the aid of coffee, but I can absolutely turn on the oven and bake a breakfast casserole for 25 minutes.Polenta Breakfast Bake

Hot from the oven, this Polenta Breakfast Bake will be a little hard to slice cleanly, so feel free to scoop it instead. I was able to slice the casserole pictured after letting it cool for about half an hour, but I’d be happy to eat this stuff in any shape (or lack thereof). Leftovers keep very well in the refrigerator and will slice & reheat like a freaking dream.Polenta Breakfast Bake

One last thing before I get to the recipe. Like all recipes on this site, I’ve made this Polenta Breakfast Bake to suit my own flavor preferences. I used breakfast sausage and cheddar cheese because those were prominent flavors in my mom’s recipe, but you can swap them for any meat and/or cheese you like in weights equal to those in the recipe. My only word of advice here is that if you choose to use bacon, remove it from the pan while you sauté the onion, garlic, and greens so that it doesn’t burn. Oh, and speaking of greens, feel free to leave ‘em out if you have picky eaters (or if breakfast vegetables just aren’t your thing).

That’s all a very long way of saying that you should take my favorite and make it yours ❤ Polenta Breakfast Bake

Looking for more holiday breakfasts? Check out these overnight Cinnamon Rolls, this Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}, and this whole round-up of breakfast time favorites!

Polenta Breakfast Bake
makes 8-12 servings

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk (preferably whole)
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
1 1/2 cups polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
8 ounces freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups), divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces raw breakfast sausage, removed from casings
1 medium white onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 ounces fresh greens, roughly chopped (I used a mix of baby spinach and baby kale)
4 large eggs
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (based on preference)

Grease a 9×13-inch pan or other large casserole dish (a broiler-safe one, if possible).

Make polenta. Bring water and milk to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, as milk can boil over dramatically without much notice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking very frequently for 25-30 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in 6 ounces (~1 1/2 cups) cheese, cayenne and dijon, followed by butter. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let sit 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add breakfast sausage and cook, breaking it up with the edge of a spatula, until browned (about 8-10 minutes). Add diced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add about half the greens and let wilt. Add remaining greens and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Stir mixture into polenta.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Stir eggs into polenta mixture. Transfer everything to prepared pan. It may be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 425F. Scatter remaining 2 ounces (~1/2 cup) of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until golden at the edges, and slightly puffed and a little jiggly in the center. For an extra golden top, broil for 1-2 minutes. If your dish is not broiler-safe, you can heat the oven to 475F with the casserole on the top rack. Watching it closely, let it cook 5-10 minutes, turning as needed, until cheese has browned in places.

Let casserole cool for a few minutes. Scoop or slice and serve. Casserole will slice like a dream once cooled.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cold slices reheat well in the microwave.

Leftovers may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast Bake

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Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesIf you want to know what kind of person I am outside of this blog, you should know that I once spent six months of my life obsessively making jam (and preserves) in a kitchen that is smaller that my current closet. Strawberry, cherry, grapefruit marmalade, gingered nectarine—you name it. I had all the preserving equipment you can imagine and an entire kitchen shelf filled with jars of colorful fruit-based spreads.

Years later, I’m pretty sure all that equipment (except for my beloved jar funnels—great stocking stuffer, btw!) and that jam is still sitting in that apartment because I left it all there when I moved out…because I don’t particularly care for jam. I just like to make it.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesSo, to wrap that up: I am prone to intense kitchen projects (hello, three year-old food blog with 338 unique recipes) and I have never once wanted a linzer cookie.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesI mean, I am all about crunchy, nutty roll-out cookies, but why must they always be sandwiched with jam? Jam is not a dessert food, at least as far as I am concerned. A breakfast food? Sure. Lunch? You bet. Dessert? No way.*

*Except in these.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesYou know what absolutely *is* a dessert food? Nutella.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate hazelnut spread = dessert food.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate hazelnut cookies = dessert food.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesA layer of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread sandwiched between two crunchy chocolate hazelnut cookies = the dessertiest dessert food.

(“Dessertiest” is a word today.)Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesSo, in conclusion, when it comes to Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies, no jam, no problem.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
Looking for more chocolate hazelnut? Check out this cake, this granola, these grain-free cookies, these brownies, and this pie. Oh, and this other pie. And this buttercream. I ❤ chocolate hazelnut.

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
makes 22-24 sandwich cookies

1/2 cup raw whole hazelnuts
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar, for dusting
1/4-1/2 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread (based on preference)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
1-inch cookie cutter
sifter or mesh sieve

Preheat oven to 350F. Place hazelnuts on a dry, rimmed sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean, dry, textured hand towel. Fold towel around the hazelnuts and then rub the towel with the palm of your hand. This will allow the hazelnut skins to loosen. This step does not have to be done perfectly.

Once hazelnuts are cool, transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a fine meal forms. Set aside.

Make the cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer. When butter is fluffy and lighter in color, beat in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Mix in hazelnut meal. Add dry ingredients to in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place half the cut cookies on prepared pans. Use a smaller cutter to cut a small hole in the center of the remaining cookies before placing them on the prepared pans. If dough becomes too warm, freeze pans of cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake 12-13 minutes, until slightly puffed. They will be a touch soft, but will crisp up as they cool. Let cookies cool at least 10 minutes on their pans before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking until all dough has been used.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with 1/2-1 teaspoon of Nutella (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.
Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies

Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}How freaking cute are these Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies?!Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}They’re a favorite from my nanny days. That’s right—this is one cookie decorating method that is surprisingly kid-friendly. No soon-to-be-hard-as-rock royal icing, just delicious, colorful sugar cookies with a little icing flourish.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}It all goes back to a sweet request from a seven year-old (who is now eleven, which is enough to make me want to cry). He and I had gotten into the rather enjoyable habit of baking together on Friday afternoons. I usually chose what we made, but then he asked if we could decorate cookies one day and…well, it sounded a little fun and a little insane and I like to think I’m a little of both of those things.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}I knew I was not going to give this kid a bag of royal icing—he had difficulty with basic motor skills, so giving him a bag of sugar-based concrete simply was not an option. Also, he had a two year-old little sister (who is now six…*sobs*) who was prone to very enthusiastic Taylor Swift dance parties and getting stuff everywhere (because she was, in fact, two). But I wanted to fulfill his request, so I spent that night baking a batch of plain sugar cookies and took five minutes the following day to whisk together a few different colors of sweetened condensed milk paint. I lined the breakfast table with wax paper, tied aprons around both kids and, with some real hesitation, gave them paintbrushes.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}While I was aware that this little culinary arts & crafts project could have gone very messy, it actually ended up being one of the happiest afternoons of my nannying career. Since both kids had handled a paintbrush before, they had the motor skills to paint the cookies the way they wanted. Once they were done with their masterpieces, I baked them a few minutes to set. Once the painted cookies were cool and no longer sticky, I piped on some icing with their direction.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}By far, the best part was that the kids were super excited and proud to show their work to their parents, and their parents and I were happy that they had spent an entire afternoon without asking for a screen, or worse, saying they were bored. #childcarewin Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}After that, we had a cookie-painting party for every holiday, birthday, and sleepover. There was always a little mess, of course, but there’s also mess when I, a real-live adult, paint cookies too. In this case, it can be wiped away easily, instead of chiseled off counters and floors while saying every curse word I know (and I know a lot of them).Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Now, it has been a few years since I last nannied, and I don’t have kids or nieces and nephews, but I still love to decorate cookies this way. Painting with sweetened condensed milk paint is a very meditative process, and I can very happily while away a few hours with a few colors of paint and a pack of brushes. I’ve even considered having friends over for an afternoon of cookie painting instead of a more traditional swap. Doesn’t that sound fun?!Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}I highly recommend using a fresh (or at least, food-dedicated) set of paintbrushes for painting cookies. Don’t use the cheapest you find—those tend to lose bristles in the painting process. The second-cheapest are totally okay though. The set I used here goes for $5 at Michaels.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}You could absolutely detail your Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies with royal icing, but I think a very thick batch of simple icing works just as well and is twice as easy to make. Whatever you choose to use, know that it will take several hours to fully dry.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}But like, you can definitely eat cookies with slightly damp icing. It’s the holidays. Live your best life.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
makes 3-4 dozen medium cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one quarter of chilled dough at a time, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies at least 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 7-8 minutes, until no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cookie Paint
makes up to 14 colors

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
food coloring (gel or liquid)
water

Special Equipment:
small bowls
wax paper or parchment paper
paintbrushes

To make one tablespoon of one color of paint:

Combine 1 tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, 1/8 teaspoon (or more) of food coloring, and 1/8 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk until combined. Adjust color as necessary. Paint will be thick. Repeat until you have all your desired colors.

To paint a cookie:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Line a surface with wax paper or parchment paper. Using a clean paintbrush, apply 1 thin layer of cookie paint to the top of a baked & cooled sugar cookie. For a richer color, let set 5 minutes at room temperature before applying a second coat of paint. Rinse brushes well with water and blot with a towel before switching colors.

Bake cookies 5 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a rack. Decorate with Simple Detail Icing (recipe below), if desired.

Simple Detail Icing
makes enough for one batch of sugar cookies

2 cups confectioners sugar
6-8 teaspoons milk

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and 6 teaspoons milk. Add milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds. Place 1/2 cup of icing into a piping bag with a tip. Alternatively, load icing into a plastic sandwich bag and snip a very tiny corner. Decorate cookies as desired.

Icing will start to set within an hour, but will not completely harden for 12-24 hours.
Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Holiday Icing Thumbprints

Holiday Icing ThumbprintsI’m continuing through my list of classic Christmas cookies/treats of which I have previously been deprived My latest observation in this multi-year endeavor is that a lot of popular holiday desserts are just variations on sugar cookie dough. If you need proof, see here, here, and here (and then make all of those recipes and invite me over). Holiday Icing ThumbprintsYou’d think this would somehow make Christmas cookie trays boring, but how could anyone *possibly* be bored when there are Holiday Icing Thumbprints to be had?!Holiday Icing ThumbprintsYou are probably familiar with the more traditional jam thumbprints—usually a sugar or shortbread cookie with a little well of jam (the titular “thumbprint”) baked into the middle. Those are great and all, but these are their more fun cousins. I mean, these are basically just a socially acceptable vehicle for eating icing. And they have sprinkles. Yesssssss.Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing Thumbprints are super easy to make. Mix the dough and then chill, scoop, and roll it into balls. Press the back of a small spoon into each dough ball before baking for 12-13 minutes. You could, of course, make the “thumbprints” with your thumb, but I vastly prefer the consistent shape that comes from using a 1/2 teaspoon.Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing ThumbprintsSince these thumbprints are baked without a filling, their centers will puff dramatically while they’re in the oven. The pre-baking press is less for the sake of the wells and more because it means the cookies won’t be as prone to unsightly cracking when you press wells into them again after baking. It’s the most tedious part of this recipe, but it makes for really aesthetically pleasing results. (Also, it’s really satisfying.)Holiday Icing ThumbprintsAfter that, there’s nothing left to do but squeeze red and green icing into the wells and scatter holiday sprinkles over the tops!Holiday Icing ThumbprintsOh, and to admire them for their undeniable cuteness and holiday cheer. And to eat like four of them while nobody’s looking.Holiday Icing Thumbprints

Holiday Icing Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
red food coloring (gel or liquid)
green food coloring (gel or liquid)
holiday sprinkles, optional

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each int a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers. If dough gets too warm and sticky, freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Make the icing. Place 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar in each of two small bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add some red food coloring to one bowl and green to the other. Whisk each with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icings are very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icings to piping bags (or ziptop sandwich bags) twist them tight and snip off very small corners. Fill wells in cookies as desired and decorate with holiday sprinkles, if using.

Icing will set after a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage. Holiday Icing Thumbprints Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing Thumbprints

Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge

Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeOver the course of the next twenty days, there will come a moment where you’re glad to have this Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge recipe in your back pocket.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBecause it really is easy. Like six ingredients easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeNo boiling sugar, no candy thermometer easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeMake it in 20 minutes in a double boiler or—even easier—the microwave…easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBut nobody will know that you made these little morsels of holiday magic without having to think too hard, or that the batch makes enough for multiple holiday gifts (just add cute bags or tins), so you didn’t have to overextend yourself.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeAnd nobody is going to bite into this rich, dense, silky fudge and think “I bet he/she/they made this with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips instead of the ‘traditional’ way.” Nope.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeIn fact, I guarantee you that all anybody will be thinking is how to get another piece of this double-layer minty coffee confection into their faces as soon as possible.Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
Looking for more peppermint mocha? Check out these cookies!

Looking for more easy holiday candy? See here and here.

Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
makes one 9×13-inch pan

Mocha Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
5 teaspoons espresso granules (I use Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Peppermint Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) white chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Garnish:
4 candy canes or 10 starlight mints, crushed (I prefer starlight mints)

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides, and grease again. Set aside.

To make on the stove:

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in the heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the heatproof bowl and dry well. Return pot to a simmer.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips almost all are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thinner than the mocha mixture. Remove from heat. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

To make in the microwave:

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are melted and fudge is thick and even in color. Stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the microwave safe bowl and dry well.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in the bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring/whisking in between, until almost all chips are melted and fudge is even in color. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth. Mixture will be thinner than the mocha layer.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

Both methods:

Refrigerate fudge for at least 1 hour. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edges of the pan. Use parchment overhang to lift fudge onto a cutting board.

Use a greased knife to slice fudge into 1-inch pieces. Wipe the knife clean between cuts.

Fudge is best kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but may be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. Candy cane/starlight mint garnish will melt over time.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha Fudge