Let’s get real here: I love food.
I’m also really good at being obvious.
But besides porkchops, I really don’t like novelty foods.
You know… bacon flavored mints, bacon flavored chocolate, pickle flavored jelly beans, hot wing flavored sunflower seeds… um, NO.
I like my bacon in bacon form: sizzling, fresh, salty and a teensy bit sweet. Oh, and laden with ribbons of fat that melts on your tongue. I do not like my bacon in a chocolate bar, sprinkled in donuts, in a tin I could easily confuse with my beloved-tin of Altoids, or in anything that would be considered “novelty.”
Novelty and food rarely go hand-in-hand.
Did you know Jones Soda makes a turkey and gravy flavored soda?
Case in point.
Here is my gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching, disturbing tale of waking up on the risky side of the bed and trying a novelty food: Jelly Belly’s pickle-flavored jelly bean.
Imagine me, being an idiot, standing in the middle of the most colorful store in the world, surrounded by beans of yummy and goodness, like my favorites: bubblegum, juicy pear, and red hot cinnamon, to name a few. I’m browsing around, begging my mom to buy some belly flops when some freakshow employee points out the case of weird flavors.
I beg your whaaaaaaa.
Vomit flavored jelly bean? Ew.
Ear wax flavored jelly bean? Noooooot in a million years.
Pickle flavored jelly bean? No, Hayley, don’t even consider it, no no no no!! I’ll try it.
I channel my non-existent, pickle-loving pregnant woman and nosh on jars of pickles on the daily. I love them. Sweet gherkins, zesty dills, regular ol’ spears… you name it, I love me some pickles.
SO WHY did I try a pickle flavored jelly bean? It was probably due to the sudden disappearance of all logic in truly understanding what this would imply.
Freakshow dude handed me the single bean with a mini-bean-picking tong and I remember staring at it, marveling at how close it looks to juicy pear! and thinking maybe, just maybe, it may taste good, similar to my juicy pear bean of choice.
I popped it in my mouth and with ONE single tooth chomp, the flavor hit me like a two-thousand-ton truck of disgusting.
This shit tasted like a motherf*n pickle.
In that moment of awkwardly chewing, fully comprehending the full magnitude of AWFUL in my mouth-hole, I silently cursed myself for being a wild child and reminded myself to blame my parents for not creating a pickier-eating child like my brother, whose childhood diet was chicken stars and hot dogs.
I ate a pickle… but it wasn’t a pickle. It was a jelly bean, and I was literally milliseconds from vomming all over that freaking bean store.
The worst worst part? After successfully avoiding my attempt to vomit over every square inch of jelly bean in sight and spitting it out as well as wishing someone would run by and chop my tongue off in a brutal attempt to save me, I still tasted it… like, the next day.
This was unfortunate since I brushed my teeth more times in that single day than ever before, and I also supplemented my copious mouth-washing with eating foods that would hopefully counter-act the taste of despair in my mouth at that moment. Oh god, it was brutal.
No onion could squelch the taste of pickle radiating from my poor orifice.
And after my last pickle-tasting burp, I vowed to NEVER eat anything pickle-flavored (or novelty-flavored) AGAIN. Unless it was pickles, which I honestly couldn’t look in the eye for months afterward.
I was grossly reminded of this incident last night when my psycho boyfriend Jessie and I went to Fry’s (aka, our second home–we’re seriously there 4x a week, don’t ask why) and I spotted pickle flavored seeds there.
VOM ON THE COMPUTERS.
It was a close call.
So I begged him to distract me with ANY other thought of ANYTHING else to avoid being the dude who has the sobbing, convulsing, barfing girlfriend. I pleaded. I threatened. Then he told me I was pretty and I felt better.
Don’t worry–this Peppermint Bark is not secretly pickle flavored, nor is it disgusting. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Like, instead of making you want to vom, you want to scream on the tops of the roofs and gallebant in a field of amazing.
Mmmhmmm! True story.
Peppermint bark dominates the holidays because people love it and it doesn’t make anyone cry or be scared or want to die. So you should make people happy and make it now.
Also it’s three ingredients. I know, I’m so convenient for you.
(And I promise to never say the V word ever again as long as I never have another encounter with the cursed bean again)
1 pkg (about a pound) white chocolate almond bark, like Candiquik
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
About 1 & 1/2 cups crushed candy canes or Andes peppermint baking chips
1. First, line a 13×9″ pan with foil, extending the foil tabs over the sides of the pan. Lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Melt white chocolate bark according to package directions, stirring to prevent burning. Stir in peppermint extract to blend completely, then stir in about 1/4 cup of the crushed candy canes or peppermint chips to blend.
3. Pour melted chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with remaining candy canes or baking chips evenly. Place bark in fridge to harden, about 30 minutes.
4. Once frozen and solid, remove bark from freezer and from the pan, using the foil handles. Allow to come close to room temperature (but still be chilly–don’t let it melt!) before breaking into pieces. Store airtight.
Personally, I find the chocolate layer on my peppermint bark to be useless since all I want is that white chocolate & peppermint goodliness, but if you like that chocolate layer, melt a pound of milk chocolate bark and pour it in the pan first, then freeze it. Once it’s frozen, begin the white chocolate process, above, and freeze again. You should have a nice, even layer of both milk chocolate and white chocolate once it’s done.
In a way, those baking chips kind of look like bacon… but I promise I wouldn’t hurt you.
I wrapped these up in cute cellophane bags and gifted them to coworkers of mine who have hopefully never lived a life of sorrow from eating a pickle flavored jelly bean. I hope no one ever has to personally know what I went through, so the peppermint bark acts as a guardian, blessing their lives with yummy rather than disgust.
I’m like a guardian peppermint-bark-making angel. Or something like that.
Enjoy! And stay tuned for more recipes for the Week of Cookies!